BRAYTON ROAD TO ROARING CREEK OVERLOOK
Distance: 9 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 1.9 miles to end of state property was added in 2016. In 2017 another 1.6 miles was added bring it very close to TN 30. The final piece will be built when arrangements are made for trailhead parking on RT 30. The trail provides access to the top of Graysville Mountain and travels through this resource management area (RMA). Highlights of the trail include an old mining area, a seasonal waterfall, and a spectacular view overlooking Roaring Creek, the small town of Graysville and the Cranmore Valley..
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 at a sharp left curve lok to the right for the gravel parking area and trailhead kiosk. The Foot, a local bar, (now closed) is a white cinder-block building on the left.
Mile 0.0 (9.0) 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 (8.8) 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 (8.5) The roadbed forks, bear right; the left fork leads several feet to an open area beside the creek.
Mile 0.75 (8.25) 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 (8.2) 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 (8.1) 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 (8.05) Step over a small drainage where blocks of stone have been placed so it’s an easy hop.
Mile 1.0 (8.0) 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 (7.8) 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 (7.4) 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 (7.2) Step down to a rock outcropping that is an excellent lunch spot and affords a breathtaking view of Graysville and the valley below.
Trail Construction Note: 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 and over a mile more in 2017 to the end of state property for a total to EOT of 9 miles.
Mile 2.0 (7.0) Leave the overlook and enter a pine forest. The trail is covered in pine straw and is very soft on the feet. Arrive at Wildcat Hollow Falls at mile 2.0. The waterfall is beautiful, but it is difficult to get an unobstructed view.
Mile 2.6 (6.4) Leave the waterfall and pass through a pine forest. Arrive at the first of three wooden double-arrow Cumberland Trail signs at mile 2.6. The trail widens here and resembles a road bed. The second sign is at mile 2.7, and the third is at mile 2.95. The trails veers right and becomes a single track at the third sign, while the road bed continues straight.
Mile 3.0 (6.0) Shortly after veering right at the third sign, arrive at Cranmore Cove Overlook at mile 3.0. The trail goes very close to the overlook and no spur trail is required. This overlook provides a panoramic view looking east over Cranmore Cove.
Mile 4.0 (5.0) The trail veers north away from the northeasterly bluff line, dips down, and crosses a small wet weather branch at 4.0 miles using a few stepping stones. After crossing, the trail rises slightly and veers right.
Mile 4.9 (4.1) The trail continues north and crosses Gilbreath Creek at mile 4.9. The trail turns right and east after crossing the creek. At 5.2 miles pass an old hunting stand on the left.
Mile 5.5 (3.5) At mile 5.5 a faint use trail crosses the trail. The use trail goes uphill to the left and downhill to the right. Stay straight on the main trail. Reach a double-blaze at 5.6 miles, cross a small wet weather branch, and veer right.
Mile 5.8 (3.2) At mile 5.8 the white blazes on the trail end, and the trail is now marked by orange ribbons on trees. (as of March 2017
Mile 6.8 (2.2) The trail reaches a junction with a spur trail on the right at mile 6.8. The spur trail is marked with white ribbons. Take the spur trail 0.1 miles and reach an overlook of the picturesque northern end of Cranmore Cove.
Mile 7.2 (1.8) The trail reaches a another junction with a very short spur trail on the right at mile 7.2. Take the spur trail a few feet to another overlook of northern Cranmore Cove.
Mile 7.6 (1.4) Leave the overlook and the trail follows an old roadbed. At mile 7.6 the single-track trail leaves the roadbed to the left. The junction is marked with an orange ribbon, and there are two stone steps leading up off the roadbed. Immediately after the junction, cross a wet weather branch, then reach a small glade at mile 7.8.
Mile 7.9 (1.1) Reach a second small glade at 7.9 miles. Here the trail leaves the glade left and slightly downhill. Reach a junction with a use trail that goes uphill toward Fort Bluff at mile 8.0.
Mile 8.3 (0.7) After leaving the junction at the glade, the trail meanders through leafy woods, then passes just below steep rock bluffs on the left known as Johnson’s Bluff. Reach a Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) boundary at mile 8.3. The boundary is marked by an orange TDEC blaze sign, and temporarily by orange flagging tape. Land beyond this point is an easement granted to the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail. The stone trail work, done by college students under the direction of CTC staff, is impressive below the rock bluff.
Mile 8.8 (0.2) Cross Sale Creek at 8.8 miles. The creek is very small here and is crossed by stepping stones.
Mile 9.0 (0.0) The trail turns hard right after crossing Sale Creek and shortly reaches the temporary trail end at mile 9.0. The section that ends here was completed during BreakAway in March 2017.
Editors Note: The trail is very close to TN 30 at this point. Please observe the End of Trail sign. Between the sign and RT 30 is private property pending further arrangements.
—Original description by Carolyn Woerner, CTC Board Member. 2017 updates by Gary Stephens, CTC Volunteer and avid hiker.