Big Ridge Loop

MODERATE 47 reviews
#1 of 1 trails in

Big Ridge Loop is a 5.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Maynardville, Tennessee that features a lake 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.

5.3 miles
764 feet

dogs on leash



nature trips





wild flowers


Nice wooded walk around Big Ridge Lake and over the Pinnacle Ridge This five mile loop starts with the Lake Trail. After approximately 0.,5 miles, the trail crosses the Big Ridge Lake Dam. Once across the dam, bear left onto the Dark Hollow West trail. Once on the Dark Hollow West Trail, several downed trees will be encountered. There is also a small creek crossing. After about 1.7 miles, take the Big Valley trail for approximately 0.7 miles. At the next trail intersection, take the Lake Trail which will once again cross the dam. Keep an eye out for wildlife and you won't be disappointed!

1 month ago

Easy to moderate trail. Beautiful views of the lake! Park is very clean and well maintained.

4 months ago

Nice well kept trail. A lot of history with 3 old cemeteries you will come across. I hiked all the way out to the old trading post monument and back. Not alot of great views but great for a history lesson.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Great views and some difficult side trails. Miscalculated pace and sunset so hiked last hour in the dark. Saw deer and then a coyote by the little cemetery just after dusk. Great mix of ridge, bottomland, and lake hiking. Only disappointment was that east end of the trail terminates into a paved road that you have to walk for about a mile and a half back to the parking area. Overall highly recommended.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Very nice hike with several changes in scenery.

Monday, October 24, 2016

I loved this trail.It was easy enough for my kids and had a lot to look at like the bridge going over the lake,cemeteries,and mill replica.We also walked the Ghost House Loop during the day and then at night and loved it with the rich "ghostly" history.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

This is one of my favorite hikes near Knoxville because of its close proximity, lack of traffic, and dog friendliness. The hike is fairly flat for most of the trip. You get to cross Big Ridge Dam, see a couple of old cemeteries, see an old grist mill replica, and hike through a valley along a creek and along Big Ridge Lake for much of the trip. There are many more trails at Big Ridge that allow you to vary the distance and sights in your hike as well.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This is a great trail and I have hiked this many times. it has a few steep climbs but isn't too difficult. Spring is a great time for finding wildflower viewing along the trail and there are several good spots to sit, relax and take in the beauty of Norris lake. If you love backpacking, then there is even a good campsite along the trail to make a quick and easy overnight adventure.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

One of my favorite places to hike! The mushrooms and frogs are amazing during late fall!

Monday, February 08, 2016

First part of trail very wet due to last weeks rain fall

Sunday, September 20, 2015

My favorite hiking trail! So quiet and peaceful!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Giving this a 4 star at the moment. They have a new superintendent after ages with the old one . Improvements have already begun. Work on trails , very little trash , no trees down at the moment . Hopefully it will regain its former glory. One of my all time favorite family parks.

nature trips
Saturday, December 13, 2014

I love this park. If you want to be alone with nature look no further. Awesome lake views in the Winter months and private swimming holes in the Summer.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

I did the hike today with my husband who is an experienced hiker (I am not). The 5 mile loop was very challenging for me. The trail was over grown once you got into it a bit (about a mile or so up), but it was not wet so I wasn't too worried. After a nice rain I would not be on this trail because some of the path is very narrow and steep. There was very little litter at all, Mostly it was found at a little overlook of lake & by the dam on West Dark Hollow. If I was to do this hike again and I plan on it. I will also wear a swim suit and pack some water shoes because the lake is easily accessible and looks so inviting! I love this park, it's not as well maintained as some in the Smoky's but there isn't nearly the traffic either.

Monday, March 18, 2013

OK Trail. I didn't feel very safe on this trail. There's a lot of spin off trails that are short. I'll go back but I'll be packing my gun when I do!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Took a youth group out in the summer of 2012. I walked the trail 5 times that day with 5 separate groups. It was a great hike! Will do again, but alone. Big Ridge hasn't the money to keep up the trail all the time, and I think if we are to enjoy a trail, we should volunteer to help keep it up. Best time as with every hike is in the cool of the morning with the sun peeking through the leaves. So nice to have this close to home!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fun park with nice trails. We found a little bridge and jumped off of it into the water.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A disappointing hike. Trails are littered with trash. residents use trails for recreational drugs/drinking. I hiked this trail in 1994 & then again in 2010 hoping for improvement. The park has deterrated further. Hike can be a challenge and good opp to learn orientation for beginners. Bad trail for nature lovers. All litter & destruction located was reported.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

On July 4, 2011, my father and I went hiking at Big Ridge State Park in Maynardville, TN (about 25 miles from my parents homes). The area of land and the creation of the park have an interesting history. Toward the end of the 18th century (1791), Henry Sharp, Nicholas Gibbs (the name sake of the high school I attended in Tennessee), Levi Hinds, and the Graves family settled in the region known as East Tennessee. The land of Big Ridge State Park was on land ceded to the United States by the Cherokee Nation in the Holston Treaty. At the foot of Big Ridge these families built Sharp's Station. Just off of the five mile Big Ridge loop trail is "Indian Rock." This is where Peter Graves was attacked and killed by Indians on 13 November 1794. Peter Graves was the first person buried in the Sharp's Station cemetery.

In the mid-1930s, the Tennessee Valley Authority purchased sections of land in East Tennessee. Included in the property purchase was what would become Big Ridge State Park, which was one of the five demonstration parts constructed by the TVA.

We hiked the five mile loop trail at Big Ridge. The loop trail is not a particular trail but pieces of other trails. In total, there are eleven trails at Big Ridge. We started on the Lake Trail (1.5 miles). This trail begins easy but has a moderate climb. Before crossing over the Big Ridge Dam, we hiked up to Loyston Lookout. This involved a climb of several hundred feet to a view of Loyston Sea (the widest part of Norris Lake), which flooded the city of Loyston, first settled in the early 1800s by John Loy, after the completion of Norris Dam in the mid-1930s. We then proceeded onto West Dark Hallow Trail (1.7 miles).This trail was once a country road along which settlers made their homes.

We came to the junction of West Dark Hallow, Big Valley, East Dark Hallow and Indian Rock Loop trails near the Langely Cemetery and headed back to the park entrance. All in all it is a good trail to hike.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This hike is one of my favorites because it's so close to home, but it really has something for everyone. Part of the trail follows and crosses the lake, another part follows a stream, at the top of the ridge are beautiful views, and no part is too steep for even a beginner to accomplish. Definitely get a map to make sure you follow the right turns to finish the loop. We've been having a lot of rain in East Tennessee lately so when I went the trails were pretty soggy (by that I mean, in some places I thought I lost the trail and started following the creek!), but it's still doable!

15 days ago

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