North Old Mac Mountain Trail is a 7.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Wartburg, TN that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
To get to Frozen Head State Park. From Harriman take Hwy. 27 North to Wartburg. Turn right (East) on Hwy. 62. Travel 2 miles and turn left on Flat Fork Road. Travel 4 miles to the park entrance. The trail head for North Old Mac is at the first picnic pavilion on the right past the visitor center of the park.
North Old Mac is definitely the easiest option to get to the observation tower from thr Old Mac parking area/visitor's center. Its a little bit longer than South Old Mac and not as scenic, but the grades up arent as severe as South Mac or Spicewood and more spread out over the length of the trail. The trail was also in better shape with fewer downed trees/obstacles than the other two as of May 2016. Definitely recommend taking it up to the tower, then going back down South Mac for a low-intensity day hike good for transitioning from beginner to intermediate hikes.
My first back country camping trip. Had a blast
Recently went to Frozen head for the first time. Really enjoyed the park, especially the view top of the fire tower. Definitely recommend this trail if it is your first time at frozen head. The trail says moderate but that only because it is mostly uphill on the way to the fire tower.
Most forgiving of the trails I backpacked throughout Frozen Head. Had taken Chimney Tops to camp at Panther Gap Rockhouse - but not conducive for hammock camping. So I hauled tail along N Old Mac to the campsite. Beautiful spot for a sunset - spur near the Panther Branch junction. Continue past the fire ring, for an even more spectacular overlook. A lot of spots were muddy - despite not having rain for more than a week...
I recommend hiking this trail in Spring. The wildflowers are amazing!! I hiked up South Old Mac and to the observation tower and descended North Old Mac. The grade was not as steep as some of the other trails at Frozen Head. It was much easier on my knees.
Good fun. Nothing exceptional about the hike, but if you're searching for some time in the secluded wilderness then this is a good little day hike. The view from the observation tower is good---wish it rose further above the treetops.
Hiked up the South Old Mac trail and passed several trail Runners from the Barkley 50k event. Camped at the base of the tower. The views from the tower are worth the trip. Hiked out North old Mac but detoured on Panther Gap and followed it to its trail head. Had my 10 year old with me for the trip and we had a great time.
Hiked N. old mac up to the tower and back down S. old mac and did the loop.. Its a steady incline all the way up and steady drop on the way out.. Not much to see on the trail its self but the tower and view was worth the effort. Trail is in decent shape but could use some work in places. Seems not to be getting much foot traffic. Only passed 3 other hikers in 4 hours.
North Old mac was a very nice trail. Very moderate incline unless you decide to take the 0.5 mile trail to the top where the observation tower is located. There was a great campsite about halfway up located left of a fork in the trail. It was great for hammocking and even had a nice rock face to stand on and check out the view. Not too many chances of scenery on the way up but a good trail nonetheless.
Last weekend My wife and I went up the Tub Spring Campsite at the top of Frozen Head. We started on the Judge Branch Trail then turned right on to the South Mac Trail that took us all the way up to the fire tower. The Judge Branch had a nice campsite off the trail very large with 2 fire circles right next to the creek. The trail itself was a very easy walk next to the creek. You do have a creek crossing that I bet in the early spring could be difficult. The South Mac Trail was nice, you are acceding almost the entire time (1700ft-2900ft) but the view from the fire tower at the top was worth the Hike. We made camp at the Tub Spring camp site. It had 2 very nice tables made by eagle scouts in Oak Ridge and the Tub spring is only 200ft away from the campsite for water. If you are staying overnight in the back-country stop by the visitor's station for a permit, you need one in order to have a campfire and they like to know where you are in the park. I recommend for a good overnight trip.
Four of us hiked the N. Old Mac Trail yesterday. We were unimpressed. The trail is narrow, in need of maintenance, (large rocks and ruts) and a steady incline for 3.6 miles. There is little variety in the scenery. However, there are some tulip poplars, that has just bloomed and a few mountain laurel. If you have hiked much in the GSMNP, this hike will be more for exercise than surroundings.
Hiked N. Old Mac to lookout tower atop Frozen Head Mtn and back down the Panther Branch trail to make a loop. Very steep. Rough on the knees, but beautiful!!!!
Good hike. Had three kids all under 12. And the dog. We all had fun
It's been a while since I've hiked this trail. However, it is a wonderful hike indeed. You can couple this hike with the South Old Mac trail to make a nice loop out of the day. Be sure to make the extra couple tenths of a mile trek to the lookout tower. There's plenty to look at along this trail as well and a campsite or two if you want to do an over-nighter. This trail itself is 3.6 one way. It is an out and back trail unless you make it a loop with South Old Mac. Total mileage with South Old Mac and the trip to the lookout tower is approximately 6.9 miles.