Obed Wild & Scenic River Trails
Wartburg, TN 37887
Trails at the Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park range from short and easy to moderate longer stretches. One of the most popular short and easy trails, ventures over to the Lilly Bluff Overlook where you'll often find rock climbers bouldering the large house size boulders. Another popular hike is the self-guided Emory River Nature Trail. Be sure and pick up an interpretive brochure at the trailhead. The longer Point Trail winds through the thick forest before traversing along the ridge where overlooks present themselves on both sides of the trail. Day hikers and backpackers will want to explore the linear 14.2 mile trail section of the Cumberland Trail. Starting at the Rock Creek Campground the trail winds over to the Devil's Breakfast Table, on its way passing through rugged terrain with numerous overlooks of the river canyon. Note that large portions of this section of trail are within the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area and therefore are subject to periodic closures — check the hunt schedule before your hike or call the numbers listed below.
obed WSR Trails
LILLY BLUFF OVERLOOK TRAIL: A 0.3 mile one-way hike ends at the dual overlook platforms which present commanding views of Clear Creek Canyon's sheer sandstone walls towering over the flowing river below.
EMORY RIVER NATURE TRAIL: This self-guided interpretive trail features a 0.7 mile loop beginning at the Rock Creek Campground that provides an introduction to the cultural and natural resources of the Obed Wild and Scenic River. An interpretive brochure is available at the trailhead.
THE POINT TRAIL: This longer, more moderate trail has a round trip length of 3.8 miles winding through a hemlock forest with profuse green walls of laurel and rhododendron. The trail culminates on the narrow, exposed ridge that separates the Obed River and Clear Creek River before their confluence. Sections along the ridge allow for fantastic views on both sides. Along this exposed ridge, if you look closely, you might catch a glimpse of rock climbers on the distant sheer cliffs. There are many rock ledges where you can enjoy a picnic lunch or just take a moment to take in the views. The most popular viewpoint is through the arch rock on the right side of the trail approaching the trail's terminus.
CUMBERLAND TRAIL SEGMENT
NEMO BRIDGE TRAIL: This 14.2 mile one-way section of trail follows rugged terrain beginning at the Nemo trailhead, utilizing a 2.6 mile section of the Obed's Trails. The first 2.5 miles of trail are rated moderate with the next 2.5 as strenuous. The trail then extends an additional 10.5 miles to the Devil's Breakfast Trailhead. Future plans are underway to add another 4.0 miles. The trail glimpses rising bluffs and sections of the Emory and Obed Rivers. Along the hike to the top of the gorge there are the tailings of an old strip mine. Catch a stunning view of the Obed Gorge from the overlook atop the Break Bluff.
DEVIL'S BREAKFAST TABLE TRAIL: This 8.0 mile one-way section currently terminates deep inside Catoosa WMA at the end of the abandoned dinky rail line. From the trailhead, the trail travels on the right side of the road for 0.2 mile miles, crosses the road and dips down below the bluff into the Daddy's Creek Gorge with its lush rhododendron. The next mile will take you under sheer bluffs crossing many rock steps, hence the significance of the trail's nickname, "a trail of a thousand steps." Rising out of the canyon at 1.2 miles, you'll hike through an Appalachian cove forest that overlooks a ninety-foot sheer bluff cut by the cascading stream you'll be crossing. A side trail, Blueberry Bluff, presents views of Daddy's gorge — along, of course, with some blueberries during season. The main trail continues north 0.75 miles. Here you can take a side trail to Morgan's Overlook for views of Daddy's to the north. Back on the main trail, it will be another 0.4 miles to the Rain House, so named for the shelter that it gave to the builders of this trail on many a rainy day. Then the trail works down into the gorge of Daddy's Creek as it winds its way steadily north to join the Obed River and connect with the Nemo Bridge Trail.
Hunting: Sections on the Cumberland Trail Section close in the Catoosa WMA during big game hunts and during February and March. The 2.6 mile portion of the Nemo Bridge Trail is open year-round. For more information and to check on current closures, call Catoosa WMA 800-262-6704 or Obed WSR 423-346-6294.
Park Size: 500+ acres
Natural Trails: 27 miles
River Miles: 45 miles
Entrance: Visitors Center
208 Maiden St, Wartburg
Directions: Take I-40 to Pellissippi Parkway exit #376 towards Oak Ridge. After 6.4 miles continue on TN-62/Oak Ridge Hwy. Go another 11.8 miles and turn right to remain on TN-62. Travel 15.6 miles and turn right on US-27 N into Wartburg. After 0.6 mile, make a left onto Kingston Street, then follow the brown Obed road signs to the Visitor Center on N Maiden Street.