Black Mountain Loop
The Black Mountain Loop is a worthy extension to the hike. It encircles the parking area and the upper portion of the Cumberland Trail. There are numerous spur trails through rock formations and to several overlooks.
A spur trail to the south between Gateway Rock and the trail head kiosk takes hikers to a spectacular overlook of Grassy Cove. On a good day visitors can see Mount Le Conte in the Smoky Mountains – about 72 miles distant.
There is also a stone “spring house” near the trailhead kiosk that was used in the early days to keep food from spoiling and as a source of water.
(Note: The main CT extends off the east end of the loop for 1.8 miles. It is blazed for about one mile. 1.9 miles was added during BreakAway 2018. Much of the added trail is in the middle of the corridor leading to Ozone Falls and is not accessible. Expected completion is 2020. Ed.)
Description and photos courtesy of Gary Stephens.