Piney River Trail

EASY 21 reviews

Piney River Trail is a 6.4 mile out and back trail located near Spring City, Tennessee that features a waterfall. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking.

6.4 miles
1571 feet
Out & Back





wild flowers


1 day ago

Awesome hike. We stayed at the Rockhouse Branch campsite. The whole hike was beautiful. We stopped for about 2 hours and swam at the big bridge on the river. We were the only ones there. In fact we went almost 24 hours without seeing anyone else. Between the first bridge and our campsite there were several very large trees over the trail and a beehive nest somewhere in it and my daughter was stung several times. It's not in an easy place to get around. We had plenty of water sources for filtering. Came back to the lookout near the parking lot to watch the eclipse. I look forward to doing this again when the leaves change in the fall.

13 days ago

16 days ago

Beautiful hike. I was hoping to hike along side the river, but you are fairly high up, and don't actually get to go to the water until you are about 3 miles in. It was well worth it though!

18 days ago


Totally loved this trail! We only made it half way in to the first bridge. We stopped there and had a picnic on the flat rocks and swam a little, and it was really refreshing. Just absolutely beautiful, and we only saw one other couple the whole time, which we thought was unbelievable for how amazing this place is! We'll definitely be going back to start at the top so we hike the other half.

24 days ago

2 months ago

3 months ago

Hike was longer than stated. Trails were very well laid out with markers appropriately spaced for trail recognition.
Some areas were very skinny and really had to watch steps carefully.
Overall it was a great place to spend a beautiful May Day!

3 months ago

Well defined trail that I would classify as a bit more than easy & slightly less than moderate. Beautiful area. I suggest nearby Piney Falls for waterfalls and Stinging Fork is at this location.

3 months ago

4 months ago

5 months ago

Rated easy but I would rate it moderate because of all the loose rocks. For years I skipped this trail due to the easy rating. I'm glad I finally decided to hike it. Gorgeous trail!

6 months ago

Great day hike!!!

7 months ago

10 months ago

Friday, May 15, 2015

Correction to my last post the Mary Wether Pass is actually called McDonalds Branch, not sure where I got Mary Wethers Pass from, oh well

Friday, May 15, 2015

So I'd like to add a lot of information about this trail that may be pieced together from other reviews and The Cumberland Trail Website. My husband and I did this trail 2 days ago. With that said: we loved it, however, keep in mind we were extremely out of shape at the time, so this review may not be as accurate for those that maintain better fitness year round. The trail was moderate, with packs I say hard. We had meant to make the whole journey, however limited time and a surprise empty fuel canister for our jet boil and our not completely up to snuff physical conditions had other plans. With that said we only made it 3 miles into the trail :(. Within that 3 miles the trail is mostly narrow, lots of Poisin oak, DO NOT ATTEMPT this trail if you're allergic! It is unavoidable. I am highly allergic to the stuff; so if you're like me just load up on the rhus toxin before you hike, that's what I do and it makes me virtually immune to the stuff. We did see a trail runner along the way but that's it. If I were trail running this trail I would break my ankle and fall to my death but anyway this guy was an Olympic trail runner I think bc the trail was so narrow at points if you stepped the wrong way you would fall down a treacherous ravine. Not saying the trail isn't worth it, the payoff is amazing, just not sure how anyone trail runs it. The trek to Piney River is a constant elevation change, it is subtle, but this is not a flat trail from the Piney River Natural Area to the suspension bridge that crosses the river. It is doable with packs when dry, I could see when it's wet being much more difficult. The rocky places are often encountered after the Mary Wether Pass or something to that effect, anyway it's the part you come to where there are a few boulders. The rocky places are not very long but they do move and it can be a little tricky to navigate with packs. THIS TRAIL DOES NOT LOOP. So, We originally drove the 2nd vehicle to the Duskin Creek Trail Head, which is where the Piney River Trail ends in my opinion. Your car will get a little jacked up on the way to drop your other vehicle off there but my suspension was already crap from these adventures so I wasn't as concerned. You can drop your 2nd vehicle off at the Newbe Section, however I wouldn't recommend it bc the trail continues a ways up the dirt road across Duskin Creek and the trail looked obscure and hard to find. After you park at Piney River trail head, the Shut In Gap Road is tar and chip/gravel for 5 miles that feels like longer, then you'll turn to the left for the sign to Duskin Creek or you can go strait to Newby . This dirt road is rough for anything except maybe a monster truck. You can take a car like I did just go slow, the Duskin Creek trail head has no sign, you'll cross over 2 concrete bridgeways that look like they flood most of time during rain, after the last bridge Duskin Creek is on your left, it's a small area for parking. If we would have finished the trail and not had to turn back from Piney River trail head to Dusking Creek would have been ~8.5 miles. Instead bc we had to turn back after our overnighter at the Piney River suspension bridge, we only ended up doing 6 miles all together. We did not feel like boiling our water over the fire the 2nd day without our jet boil. Camping at the suspension bridge was the best site I've ever camped at. There is so much room and you hear the water all night, it is so peaceful and the air is so fresh from the water cascading over the rocks. The firepit is huge. The area is amazing. I want to go back and finish the trail next time. I am hoping that the section to Piney River was the roughest as far as elevation change goes bc it would have only been 2 more miles to the logging campsite, which is your half way point, we just ran out of time the first day. I hear the logging campsite is even better than the one at the suspension bridge. If anyone knows more about the trail from the suspension bridge to Duskin Creek trail head, please do tale, I hear it's the more interesting part of the trail. I have heard you can fish at the suspension bridge, we saw one sizable fish under the bridge, the rest were tiny. There were 2 places to swim: one was out from the bridge a bit, it got real deep, the other was down from the campsite we were at, you have to traverse over the rocks to get to it but it looked very clean, there must have been an old mill there bc we saw huge old metal rods coming up from the stone. Our water filter filters, I think up to .01 microbes, however the water from the surface coming off the rocks tasted somewhat chemically even with the filtration. I had never run into this issue before, however the CT website did warn against surface water contamination, not sure what it entailed but the next day we found a spot down from a rock that was its own small underground stream and it tasted perfect, so if you can get your water from an underground sp

Thursday, December 25, 2014

I live about a mile from this wonderful little trail and I have overnighted on this beautiful path at least fifty times in the last ten years, I am actually going again tomorrow (12/26/14 if anyone wants to go!) with friends from Missouri. This trail, and few others in the area, is one of the reasons I moved here. This trail has it all, rivers, small rock walls, cascades, swimming holes, bridges and beautiful campsites. It is still relatively unknown so it is still primitive and not trashy. I like to camp at Logging camp in the winter with all the rock furniture and camp at the suspension bridge in the summer so you can jump off into the water. Since the state bought this from Bowater Paper Company I have had a hard time finding maps for these pocket wildernesses as they used to be called. I hope to see you out on this trail sometime!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Just hiked this trail from Log Rd. if you do not have a truck, do not attempt this road. Better off starting at the Piney River Picnic Area on Shut-in Gap Rd. The trail following Duskin Creek is not marked very well. It is very easy to get diverted onto Spider Den Bluff trail, which is hardly marked at all. The same can be said for Hemlock Falls spur trail. Now for the positives, this is an easy trail with some moderate hills and rocky terrain. White Pine Cascades is probably the most beautiful part of the trail. Trail markings get considerably better once the trail follows the Piney River.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

very beautiful trail. the trail is not marked very well on the newby branch side.

Monday, March 03, 2014

I am shocked there are not more reviews of this trail. It is a beautiful trail with several waterfalls, cascades, huge hemlocks, and suspension bridges to cross. It follows the Piney River the majority of the way. I would rate this trail as easy to moderate. There are a few up hill sections that are short and some rock hopping in areas. It is best to do a point to point. Beware that GPS may take you down the wrong road when going to the Newby Branch Trail head and parking. Do not go down Log Rd. It dead ends. That end of the trail is not marked as well as the beginning so be cautious and watch your blazes. I only gave it 4 stars due to the difficulty arriving at the Newby Branch side and the lack of signs on that end.