Cliff Trail

By Joe Feeman 

Cliff Trail begins at the junction with Eagle Trail, 0.5 miles below Observation Point Trail intersection. It is a red trail, foot traffic only, and measures 0.6 miles long, falling 170 feet. The trail climbs a small hill before reaching the highest point on the trail (1050 feet) and a good view point over the river and weir dam. As the trail continues along the contour there is dwarf crested iris and mock orange. This trail can be scary at times because of its narrow, rocky tread. It is especially treacherous after rain or in ice or snow. The trail has narrowed significantly over the years, but the trail crew in 2010 made some nice improvements to widen it out. The CCCs carved this trail out of a steep, rocky slope and must have spent many hours completing the task. You will notice several spots where rock walls were built to widen the trail and they are still in relatively good shape after 75 years. After a walk along the contour, the rest of the trail is all downhill.  Most of this slope is occupied by northern hardwoods including sugar maple, white ash, northern red oak, and beech. You won't have much time to look up and around because the trail is tricky; one false move and you could end up standing on Hwy 441. There is a story that someone was riding their mule down the trail and it went over the side and indeed did end up on the highway. Whether this is true or not, it does make you pay more attention on the trail. On down the trail you will find a slide area that was built back up by 2010 trail crew and some stone steps built by them as well. Toward the bottom there is an old TVA forest experimental planting of sugar maple. As you approach the end, the forest is younger, originating on an old field and is primarily yellow poplar, sugar maple, black locust, and persimmon. The trail ends at the intersection with Grist Mill Trail, just behind the Lenoir Museum.

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