Explore the most popular trails near Rankin Cove with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Rankin Cove, Tennessee Map

I really enjoyed this trail. Not only was it beautiful, but if you’re looking for an easier trail then this is for you. There’s a couple of rocks to step onto but other than that it’s a dirt trail that is kept up and extremely nice. I would definitely recommend it.

great spring hike with numerous wild flowers and habits.

The trail was semi wet from all the rain recently but still very navigable. I was passing through on a road trip and loved that this trail was right off the highway to stop for lunch. I would call this trail easy. The elevation gain was gradual. Very well marked!!! Great views, especially for being right next to the highway, I was more than pleased. Better hike than I could have anticipated and great views to sit and eat lunch!

Beautiful this time of the year. Love all the moss covered rocks. Interesting how the scenery changes. Will go back.

We started hiking again and picked this as our first trail. It is a beautiful trail with lots of scenery and a great view of the Tennessee river.

Beautiful hike near a lake. Trail was well marked. Not too difficult, however there was probably close to a dozen trees fallen and covering the path that you had to climb over or under. Downside.. it was close to the interstate and you could hear that the majority of the time.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

I practically live on this trail( only a little over a mile from my home) There is a pond atop the trail that I have NEVER seen gone dry in all my years of hiking here. The upper bluff offers great viewing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Beautiful 3.3 mile loop:) was pleasantly surprised

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Beautiful 3.3 mile loop:) was pleasantly surprised

Great trail! I would say this is on the easier side of moderate. Would be good for families! Very beautiful!

Saturday, April 08, 2017

great trail steep in parts but overall a moderate hike.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Great trail for a quick day hike. Wife is 7 months pregnant and did it with ease. We lost our dogs at some point and its conveniently fenced and surrounded by water so I ran the trail a second time and found them.
Great views of the river and the surrounding area.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Loved the trail! It's absolutely gorgeous and very easy to do.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Little Cedar Mountain Trail is a TVA trail located within TVA’s Little Cedar Mountain Small Wild Area. It is a total of 4 miles, including a loop trail and a short 1 mile trail to a tranquil wetland pond located on the ridge summit. Along the way you can view a plant unique only to this area of the world, scramble across limestone outcroppings, and have several opportunities for scenic overlooks of the Nickajack Dam embayment and Tennessee River Gorge.

Begin the hike by crossing a wooden footbridge from the trailhead parking lot as it leads into the hardwood-pine forest. A little over a quarter of a mile into the trail, the loop trail splits. Veer to the left to go uphill and through an impressive assemblage of John Beck’s Leafcup (Polymnia johnbeckii ). This species of Leafcup was recently described as new to science in the past few years and is found in only two places in the world; one of these locations is along the Little Cedar Mountain Trail. With a soft, fernlike appearance, the Leafcup can be found flourishing along the trail and across karst topography. The trail continues approximately a quarter of a mile across the ridge and to the shoreline. Continue along the contour as the trail leads upslope for a little less than a mile to the pond trail or continue on another quarter of a mile to a scenic overlook. The pond trail is an interesting diversion as it leads to a small forested wetland pond at the top of Little Cedar Mountain. Vernal pools are seasonal, shallow depressions of water and provide important habitat for plants and animals, especially amphibians. This one is unique in that it is found along the top of the ridge and water remains throughout the year. It is a great opportunity for photos and exploration. Continue ahead to take the pond trail back to the remaining portion of the loop trail or retrace back to the loop trail towards a scenic overlook. From the spectacular panoramic view atop Gray’s bluff you can see across the lake towards Sand Mountain.

The landscape within the remaining portion of the loop trail provides a different perspective, as it leads from the steep, eastern embayment side of the parcel to a more moist environment on the western side. There are many impressive geologic features on this portion of the trail. Stacks of boulders that border the trail, large rock footbridges, and mossy outcroppings of limestone and occasional chert. Look for owls and other birds in the large shagbark hickories.

What Makes It Great

The variety of habitats encountered along this trail means that there is a little something for everyone (steep climbs, geologic features, scenic vistas, wildlife viewing, vegetated canopy, wetlands, and bluffs). Plus this trail is literally right off of the interstate. It is the perfect side trip to tag on if you are on the way to or going out of Chattanooga.

Who is Going to Love It

Naturalists and historians will love this trail as it winds through historic lands that were important to Native Americans and Chief Dragging Canoe. The location overlooks the former Nickajack Town, one of the five lower towns previously occupied by Native Americans.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Take I-24 West from Chattanooga and turn left off of exit 158 to continue on TN 27W/TVA Road. The trailhead parking lot is approximately 0.3 miles on the left.

Tennessee Valley Authority manages the Little Cedar Mountain Trail and this Natural Area for resource and scenic protection and hiking. Trailhead and parking lot signs are visible on the main road and there is a large parking lot. Foot traffic only.

1 month ago

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wednesday, May 18, 2016