BRAYTON ROAD TO ROARING CREEK OVERLOOK
Distance: 5.5 miles one-way access to temporary end of trail
Difficulty: Moderate due to climb, rocky terrain
Elevation Change: 900 feet gain
Caution: Steep bluffs at overlook
Camping: No designated campsites
Topographic Map: Graysville Quadrangle
Trailhead coordinates: N 35 27.564 W085 06.310
The Graysville Mountain RMA Section when completed will link the Rock Creek Section to the southwest with the Laurel-Snow Section to the northeast. This 5.5-mile one-way access trail was constructed during Break Away™ between 2012 and 2015. Another 1.7 miles to end of state property was added in 2016. It provides access to the top of Graysville Mountain and connection with the CT where it travels through this resource management area (RMA). Highlights of the access trail include a walk through an old mining area, a seasonal waterfall, and a spectacular view overlooking Roaring Creek and the small town of Graysville.
From Soddy Daisy, continue north on 27, turning left onto TN 303 for 0.4 mile, then right onto Dayton Avenue (still TN 303).Take the first left onto Pikeville Avenue for 1.6 miles as the road becomes Pikeville Blvd./Brayton Mountain Road. Just after a sharp curve left, the dirt and gravel parking area for the trailhead is on the right. The Foot, a local bar, is a cinder-block building on the left.
Mile 0.0 (1.8) The hike begins from the parking lot along Roaring Creek. White metal blazes tacked to trees lead the way.
This first stretch (0.8 mile) follows an old roadbed shown as Brayton Road on old maps. Roaring Creek is to the hiker’s left. Just a trickle in spring and summer months, the creek can live up to its name after a good rainfall. On the right are rock walls, remnants of an old coal mining operation.
Mile 0.2 (1.6) Dinner Branch feeds into Roaring Creek on the far side. A concrete pillar remaining from the coal mining days stands beside the road on the left. The old roadbed the trail follows is lined with trout lilies in the spring, as well as wild geranium and star chickweed.
Mile 0.5 (1.3) The roadbed forks, bear right; the left fork leads several feet to an open area beside the creek.
Mile 0.75 (1.05) A shallow unnamed tributary of Roaring Creek flows across the old roadbed from the escarpment above. On the left you’ll see a chute formed by a solid block of stone and a stone wall that served as abutments for the road bridge that once spanned the gap over the rocky stream bed.
Mile 0.8 (1.0) The trail leaves the roadbed in a right turn, away from the creek, and begins climbing. Trillium and fire pink are abundant here in the spring.
Mile 0.9 (0.9) The trail makes a sharp switchback to the right and then becomes rocky. As you climb, notice the bluffs to the left, with rock overhangs that offer shelter in sudden rains or shade in summer.
Mile 0.95 (0.85) Step over a small drainage where blocks of stone have been placed so it’s an easy hop.
Mile 1.0 (0.8) The unnamed tributary of Roaring Creek crosses the trail, creating a beautiful cascade to the left during the winter and spring months, or after a heavy rain. At the top of the bluff, the stream drips off the edge in a small waterfall. In summer, this is a dry creek-bed and so cannot be counted on as a water source. The trail dips through this drainage on stepping stones that make crossing safe on the rare occasion when water may be flowing fast. The trail then climbs gradually, still below the rock-walled rim of the plateau.
Mile 1.2 (0.6) The trail climbs higher on switch backs up the mountain. Pinxter azaleas and buckeye bloom among the boulders in April and May.
Mile 1.6 (0.2) Reaching the top of the plateau, the trail levels out. Hikers may be fortunate enough to beat the wildlife to the blueberries up here in summer for a sweet treat.
Mile 1.8 (0.0) Step down to a rock outcropping that is an excellent lunch spot and affords a breathtaking view of Graysville and the valley below.
Trail Continues 3.7 Miles: New construction between 2012 and 2015 extended the CT from this overlook for 3.7 miles to the northeast. Where the trail crosses Gilbreath Creek, a bridge has yet to be constructed; take care in crossing if you venture this way. Another 1.7 miles was added during BreakAway 2016 to the end of state property. A description of this new trail will be added at a later date.
The Graysville Mountain Section will eventually run from the end of the Rock Creek Section on Leggett Road northeast to connect with this piece of the CT and then on to TN 30—route yet to be determined.
—Carolyn Woerner, CTC Board member