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60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Nashville - 4th Edition
by Johnny Molloy (Menasha Ridge Press)
© 2016 Johnny Molloy/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
My wife and I found this trail to be difficult as advertised. We only encountered a few other hikers. About 2 miles into the hike there is a knob with a wonderful, open view of the lake. The campsite was nice and the spring was interesting to see. Turkey knob had wonderful views and we enjoyed a nice lunch there. It was a beautiful fall day. The way back was harder on me because my feet ached and the going was uncomfortable. It took us 7 hours to hike including lunch and time for photographs.
This trail was very nice for the changing landscape and terrain. At several points there are very nice views, even in the full leaf of summer. A point to note is that the trail is no longer blazed white or yellow. It is now blazed blue. There is a biking trail (Bear Wheel) that begins alongside the hiking trailhead, and it is blazed white. Confusion is possible. It is well worth a drive for a daytrip.
Beautiful hike! Whether you start at the "top" (the Cordell Hull Damn overlook) or the "bottom" (at Defeated Lake campground), you're in for over 6 miles of ups and downs. You never gain more than 400 feet per climb, but you do this several times over—no matter where you start. About halfway through the trail, there is a picnic table/shelter/firepit/outhouse. It's very, very informal (read: no TP!), but it's there if you need it.
You'll hike right by the lake and over several large rock paths that are basically waterfalls waiting for rain.
My only complaint is that, at least when we went, the trail starting at Defeated isn't very well marked. Blue dots have been spray painted on cedar and other loose bark trees. We ended up wandering for a good half hour before we found our way back at one point.
Still, the trail is very beautiful. Aside from the length, I'd say it's moderate in difficulty.
Great trail. Lots of wildlife...we even saw a wild boar.
Great trail enjoyed every bit of it. Hiked entire 12 miles in about 6 hrs with a few stops.Physically challenging probably a little more than I expected.I did not see another person the entire hike.
Will do it again in the fall/winter
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