Grassy Cove Segment
Brady Mountain Section
Distance: 7.8-mile one way. Trail is described south to north.
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous
Elevation Change: 800 feet
Cautions: Some rocky steep sections; cumulative elevation change of 2000 feet.
Topographic Map: Grassy Cover Quadrangle
Trailheads: Jewett Road (El. 2,118′ N35 47.542 W84 58.583)
Brady Mountain at Route 68. (El. 1,816′ N35 52.188 W84 55.753)
Connection to Black Mountain Segment: at Brady Mountain Trailhead
Time Zone: Be aware this section is in Central Time
The Brady Mountain Section includes a beautiful ridge-line hike with a panoramic lookout over Grassy Cove at Brady Bluff Overlook. Much of the trail follows old overgrown double-track roadbeds. It also crosses several such roadbeds that are not to be followed. Pay special attention to the white blazes after crossing the dirt logging road at 0.6 miles from the start at the Jewett Road Trailhead. At 1.4 miles the trail follows Brady Ridge on a roadbed and the trail becomes much more obvious to follow.
Brady Mountain Trailhead; take TN 68 for 4.6 miles from the Highway 68/127 junction just east of Crossville, Tennessee. The trailhead is a large paved pull-off on the right at the top of the rise above Grassy Cove. Brady Mountain Trailhead serves as the southern terminus for the Black Mountain Section and the northern terminus for the Brady Mountain Section.
Jewett Road Trailhead; continue on TN 68 through Grassy Cove for 8.4 miles to a right turn on Jewett Road. Follow Jewett Road for 6.6 miles to the trailhead. Trailhead is easy to overlook, so drive slow and watch carefully for the wooden posts where the trailhead sign used to be on the right several yards off the road. There is no constructed trailhead parking area, only a wide spot in the road. There is parking directly across the road from the trailhead that is large enough for 1 average size car or maybe two small cars. There is another wide spot in the road about 200 feet past the trailhead that is large enough for 2 or 3 cars.
The Jewett Road Trailhead can also be reached from US 127 north of Pikeville. Turn right on Rhea Road (unmarked, 0.1 miles north of Vandever Rd. on left). Go 1.5 miles then turn left on Old TN 28. Go 1.3 miles then turn right on Hinch Road (aka Happytop Road which turns into Jewett Road). Go 4.1 miles on Hinch/Happytop/Jewett road and reach the trailhead described above.
Mile 0.0 (7.8) Jewett Road Trailhead (N35 47.541 W84 58.591, elevation 2118 feet). Leave the trailhead and go up at a steady grade northeast for 0.1 then veer right and level off briefly. After two quick switchbacks resume an uphill northeast climb. A gully with wet weather drainage is to the right.
Mile 0.5 (7.3) Cross a dirt logging road at Key Reed Gap. This is a saddle with Dorton Knob (2979 feet) to the left. The trail continues straight across the logging road. A white blaze is visible across the road. Take the faint single-track trail to the left of the blaze. Do not follow the overgrown roadbed to the right of the blaze. The trail veers west and continues to climb.
At 0.6 miles the trail intersects a dirt roadbed. Turn right here. Note that this junction is easy to miss coming down when doing this section north to south.
Mile 0.8 (7.0) Reach a junction with a double white blaze. Keep left and uphill. Continue another 0.1 miles and reach another trail junction with double white blazes. Stay left and level for about 0.15 miles and reach a third double blaze. This time go right and start ascending again. Go another 0.15 miles, cross a roadbed and proceed straight and uphill.
Mile 1.3 (6.5) Crest a local unnamed peak as the trail curves toward the north. Descend for 0.3 mile and start climbing again north and slightly east. This begins the main northeast traverse of Brady Ridge.
Mile 1.8 (6.0) Pass a large boulder on the right at 1.8 miles. This is called Donnelly’s Window (N35 48.574 W84 58.887, elevation 2796 feet). Continue climbing gradually then level off at 2.3 miles. Continue relatively level for 0.8 miles and reach a double-blazed junction. Stay right (left) here and start the ascent to the summit of Brady Mountain.
Mile 1.9 (5.9) Spur trail on right (left) (N35 48.625 W84 58.861) to Donnelly’s Overlook (N35 48.601 W84 58.805).
Mile 3.2 (4.6) Reach the peak of Brady Mountain (N35 49.604 W84 58.256, elevation 2923 feet). Begin descending and intersect a faint unmarked spur trail to the right after 0.6 miles.
Mile 3.8 (4.0) Spur trail on right (left) (N35 50.019 W84 58.041) to Lost Overlook (N35 50.003 W84 58.007). The short spur leads to an obstructed view of Grassy Cove. Continue descending on the main trail for another 0.2 miles then crest a local peak at 4.8 miles. Continue straight and down for 0.3 miles.
Mile 5.1 (2.7) Come to Brady Mountain Arch (N35 50.569 W84 57.069) at 5.1 miles. Elevation 2671 feet. This is short, square, window shaped arch with large surrounding boulders. Leave the arch and the trail begins a slight ascent.
Mile 5.5 (2.3) Arrive at a sign labelled “Overlook” with a right-pointing arrow. This
may be the most underrated trail sign in the history of signage. Take the spur trail right (left) and down for 0.1 miles. Brady Bluff Overlook (N35 50.716 W84 56.668′, elevation 2624 feet) provides a 180 degree panoramic view of Grassy Cove about 1000 feet below. The overlook is atop a rock pillar approximately 250 tall and provides a semicircular “balcony” from which to view the cove and surrounding peaks. This surely ranks as one of the best, if not the best, overlooks on the Cumberland Trail. The panorama below doesn’t scratch the surface of the beauty of the view. Return 0.1 miles back up to the Overlook sign. Leave the Overlook sign and continue on the single path trail.
Mile 6.7 (1.1) Low Gap (N35 51.629 W84 56.419, elevation 2135 feet). Go 0.3 miles and reach a large boulder then begin a steep descent. Go 0.7 miles and bear right at a junction and arrive shortly at Low Gap. Bear right on an overgrown roadbed.
Mile 7.8 (0.0) Brady Mountain Trailhead (N35 52.188 W84 55.753). Leave Low Gap and ascend slightly for 0.2 miles then start descending. After 0.4 miles bear right at an obvious junction. Continue descending and reach the Brady Mountain Trailhead Kiosk on TN 68 at 7.8 miles.
Description courtesy of Gary Stephens