A great ride offering views, climbs, singletrack descents and solitude.
Starting at an elevation of 1340', the trail heads to the south and begins a gradual climb. At mile 1.4 the trail gets very steep through a series of switch backs. At mile 2.1 reach where Longest Mile connects into the trail. Stay to the left as you will return via the Longest Mile. From this junction continue climbing to 2280' at mile 2.6. Continue past Rankin Spring at mile 3.4. Then at mile 3.8 take the spur to Coyote Point. Here you'll get tremendous views into the Tennessee Valley. Stop and break if you wish as there are picnic tables. Return to the main trail and begin a long descent. At mile 5.8 the trail crosses Hall Branch Creek several times before intersecting a gravel road at mile 6.8. Continue down the road to where the trail heads up the rugged Carl Branch Spur (1020'). Cross over the gravel road again at mile 8.8. Now the reward! Begin fast Longest Mile downhill section (2.7 miles) to the junction you bypassed earlier. Take a left and begin your final descent to the parking lot. To extend the ride, instead of going up Carl Branch Spur, you can climb the gravel road, or go up the Saw Mill trail (an extra 2.1 miles). The Saw Mill trail is adds a slick downhill if you start at the junction of the Longest Mile and the gravel road. One recommendation is to climb the gravel road, do the Saw Mill downhill, then climb up the road again and continue onto the Longest Mile.
How to get there:
From Knoxville, head West on I-40. At US 27 exit and head North. Turn west at the Lone Mountain State Forest signs (Clayton Howard Rd.) and go about 0.3 miles to the Forestry headquarters. Park across the road from the headquarters.
USGS Camp Austin Quadrangle. There is also a map available from the Forestry Office at the trail head.