This ride heads through Rocky Fork, Tennessee's newest state park. The bike trails have been designated and the Flint Mountain Trail has been cleared greatly improving it. Many trail intersections are now signed making it easier to navigate. Most of the trails are made up of old logging roads. Some of the logging roads have overgrown to become singletrack.
There are several stream crossings and an initial strenuous climb. Views exist but are limited when the leaves are on.
If you ride the loop in the CW direction, there are two short climbing sections that are probably hike-a-bike for most riders. One of the climbs near the trailhead of the Flint Mountain Trail just off the paved road is a rocky climb that becomes a stream full of rocky rubble and then there's another shorter section at about 4.5 miles that is steep and rocky.
Now that the trails have been cleared, the climbs are more manageable if you ride the loop in the CCW direction starting on the Rocky Fork Trail
to Blockstand Creek Trail
and then finish on the Flint Mountain Trail.
Several stream crossings are fun but could be challenging during wet weather. The trails are, in places, very overgrown but passable, especially on the first half of the route. I would suggest wearing gloves and a long sleeve shirt because there are a lot of thorns.
Grassy sections sometimes hide rocks and branches. You're likely to see bear scat and paw prints, if not an actual bear. The route crosses out of the state park into the Cherokee National Forest before re-entering the state park.
The map indicates a CW direction, however, traveling the loop CCW makes the climbs more manageable and you would start on the Rocky Fork Trail
out of the parking lot to White Oak Flats Trail
, Headwaters Trail
, Blockstand Creek Trail
and finish on the Flint Mountain Trail.
To travel the loop CW locate the Flint Mountain Trailhead a short distance from the park entry gate, head a short distance down the paved Rocky Fork Rd. to a stream crossing on the right side of the road with a bar gate on the far side, the beginning of the Flint Mountain Trail. An overgrown logging road takes you to the first short but steep climb that degenerates to a flowing stream through a rocky rubble field. This is probably a hike-a-bike section for most riders.
At the top of the climb, the trail turns left away from the stream and follows an old logging road that is very overgrown in sections and continues to climb in a more gradual way to the high point of the trail at 3,675' at the 2.5-mile mark. Flint Mountain Trail continues downhill for approximately 1.5 miles which would be faster if you didn't have to watch out for hidden stones and fallen branches in the grass.
At the four-mile mark, the trail pitches sharply up through a short, grassy, rocky section. At approximately 4.5 miles, Flint Mountain Trail intersects with a foot path, Flint Creek Route, and the Blockstand Creek Trail
on the left going up. Continue on Blockstand Creek Trail
, (you may not see the footpath anyway). There is a short and steep climb here.
The last six miles are mostly downhill and the best part of the route. This section is not as overgrown and it has some rock outcroppings and a couple of nice views. After eight miles, bear right on Headwaters Trail
for one mile.
Bear right at nine miles onto White Oak Flats Trail
and continue down the sometimes steep trail for 1.3 miles to Rocky Fork Trail
, which takes you back to the parking lot following Rock Fork Creek with huge boulders and many cascades.
Tennessee's newest state park that also contains a Civil War battle site. Development and improvements have just started.