Franklin State Forest - TRAIL

Franklin State Forest - Trail, Monteagle, Tennessee

The main trail that I know of runs along the bluff line and offers outstanding views of the valley below. From the trail that leaves from the forest office you will come to an intersection and you can ride either left or right. Either direction is an out and back singletrack. The trail to the left has the better singletrack but deadends after about 2 miles. The trail to the right is approximately 6 miles but contains some very technical sections. This section also crosses onto some doubletrack sections that can be included in your ride as well. If you stay above the bluff line your never that far from the hwy so explore a little.

User Reviews (14)

Showing 1-10 of 14  
Borobiker   Weekend Warrior [Jul 12, 2013]

We took the trail behind the ranger station, road for what seemed like forever, afraid we were lost ( no maps available) and finally made our way back. With all that said, what we did ride was a killer! Had to walk the trail numerous times for felled trees or just to steep or too treacherous. But we will go back, with a map, and try the side across the road from the station.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
chris   Weekend Warrior [Apr 28, 2012]

Parked and started behind the old ranger station. This way will take you counterclockwise, and follow the white blaze markings. This side of the road was a better run than the other side, this side is almost 12 miles and other side is almost 8mi. (could have been a better because I want tired yet). The trails were in good shape and several bridges had been replaced very recently. In 18+ miles only had to walk bike over about 5-6 freshly downed trees. This place is a challenge and technical but a very good run.

Similar Products Used: Racoon mtn.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
B1173   Cross Country Rider [Jul 16, 2009]

I rode up here on July 12,2009. There are quite a few trees down I suppose. It is a tough trail, I don't consider myself an expert or novice but I had a tough time on a lot of the sections. If you don't mind walking your bike occasionally, its worth the drive. Very pretty area. Could not find a trail map. Looked online, didn't find it. I think there is a ranger there sometimes who hands them out, but he wasn't there when I went. I really wish I had a trail map though. If I can ever find one, I'll go back.

Customer Service

I parked at the only official looking parking area I saw and crossed the road. I think I rode trails "A" Through "C".

Similar Products Used: Similar to slickrock at the Ocoee as far as technicality goes.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
mitchman1982   Cross Country Rider [Mar 23, 2009]

I rode this trail in March of 2009 for the first time, and I plan on taking at least 1 trip a month up there. More like adventure riding than typical mountain biking. It was a slow pace because of the terrain, but super fun. Seems pretty expsed out there and the natural features are very challenging. It was as challenging of a trail as you can get without being so technical that you need to be a trials rider.... but not so technical that you didn't enjoy it. It had the perfect amount of challenge vs fun. I rearely had to walk a section, but it was a commitment and skill... and some luck to make it through several sections. It kinda kicked my butt. Well worth the drive from Chattanooga or Nashville.

Customer Service

Park at Log cabin (ranger house) ride across the street and follow posted letters from A-K. at letter K you end up back on the highway. that was 8 miles, but all I had time for, I will go back an dexplore the other trail(s) soon.

Similar Products Used: Raccoon Mtn, Booker T,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Maintainer   Cross Country Rider [Apr 16, 2007]

The trail directions are not correct, they should be "I-24 to Monteagle, hwy 41-A west to hwy 156". I also want to let every one know that we have built a new trail that runs from the south end trail head parking lot, around the west side of the forest and ties back into the Tom Pack Falls Trail to make a 19.5 mile loop when combined with the West Rim Trail. The first 4 miles of the new trail were built in 2004-2005, the last 6 miles were built 2006-2007 and some of this section needs weathering in. The 6 miles built this year is blazed with 2"x 6" plastic blazes. I have a new trail map that I hand out ot visitors when I am at the forest.

Customer Service

Start at the Ranger's Station, (cabin), ride across the hwy, onto the Fern Trail, follow the faint white blazes, to Fern Creek, onto the double track, onto the single track at .6 miles, begine the West Rim trail, south to the trail head parking lot at 8 miles. Cross over hwy 156 and onto the Weast Side trail, follow the blazes.

Similar Products Used: Perimeter Trail at Sewanee, AEDC Trail near Tullahoma, Saint-Andrews-Sewanee race course at SAS School.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
Jim Wolfe   Cross Country Rider [Jan 08, 2007]

This trail just kicks ass,period.What a gorgeous place to ride with most of it being just a few feet from the ridgeline(west rim).I just rode it once but I definitely want to go back.I love the fact that not many people know about it.Watch out for the horses.

Similar Products Used: Signal Mountain
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
thiggy   Weekend Warrior [Mar 09, 2004]

These were the coolest trails I've been on. The West Rim Trail is so freakin pretty. A lot of this trail follows within a few feet from a ridge line, and has a couple of nice vantage points to stop at. When you eventually get to a fireroad, go to your left(I left my bike), about 50ft there is a cool chill spot under the rock face looking out over a waterfall. There were a couple of tough climbs for me, but most were doable. There is some fun technical stuff too, which made me glad I just bought a new helmet. This trail is a must, and I'm glad I made a detour to swing by.

Customer Service

After entering at the trailhead keep hanging left, you'll come to a tight little section following a stream. To your left will be a bridge. I decided to skip this turn and keep going straight, eventually you'll come to some signs. Follow The west rim trail. That is what i did and it was the coolest trail I've rode on, there are plenty of other trails there, but I didn't have a map so I just went. I suggest you do the same.

Similar Products Used: Don't know. Stopped at the chickasaw trace on my way back through on I-65. It's not as cool as Franklin.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
The Lone Clydesdale   Racer [Nov 23, 2003]

Up on the Cumberland Plateau west of Chattanooga, fingers of creeks draining to the Tennessee River created hundreds of hollows, and the Plateau responds in kind, with rimming escarpments that total many hundreds of miles. There, Franklin-Marion State Forest straddles its namesake's county line and has a Boy Scout hiking trail open to bikes. Webmaster Chris and I were part of a small group that checked out the 9-mile one way West Rim Trail that is out and back, providing two very cool perspectives. This is Tennessee plateau rake and ride in its glory, being passable in its sustainability by shallow side slopes and low usage. I did notice a few bench-cut sections, which I'd guess were from the Eagle Scout workdays. The trail head is easy to find, but the single-track breaks off inconspicuously, and in a manner that keeps ATV's off, at least the front end (some other jeep roads tie in along the way). Alternately smooth and flowing with some twists that are typical of hiking trails (i.e. pose no flow interruption for someone walking), the route resembles it sister trail up at Fall Creek Falls S.P., but offers stunning open views of the Sweeten Creek watershed. It includes awesome exposure when the trail comes within a few feet of dropoffs, most exceeding 150' freefall. When the trail comes to a tributary hollow, it typically turns up the contour but eventually makes a fall line drop to the stream. Here is where the trail throws the technical book at you. Surprisingly intact (illegal horses and dirt bikes and have tweaked some spots), these drops are not mudslides but killer rock gardens. A few are un-doable on a bike, and the rest make me applaud guys on hard tails, but if short technical descents, sketchy creek crossings, and steep climbs are your taste, this trail will flavor your mountain bike experience. We had a blast and were worn out after 18+ miles!

Customer Service

From Chattanooga, off I-24 exit at South Pittsburg (U.S. 72) and go right, into town. Look for TN 156, a right turn just past the Bi-Lo. This goes straight up the mountain, and after about 10 miles you'll cross the forest boundary. Look for the West Rim trailhead shortly on the right. Starts on old rutted road, keep a close eye out for the white blazes.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
Steve H.   [Apr 29, 2001]

This trail is awsome and probably not for the beginner biker. The trail is marked by white paint blotches on the trees, making a convenient guide. The scenery is second to none in this area with breath taking overlooks and breath holding trails along the bluffs' edges. Lots of neat single track with some fast downhills and leg-eating uphills and some very technical approaches to very technical bottom washouts with very technical climbouts. Awsome! We logged 16 miles on this side of the road on 4-28-01 with the help of a map aquirred from the good folks at MOAB(murfreesboro outdoor and bikes). Without a map you will not know how to bypass the Hike-A-Bike section of this trail. There are lots of fire roads that can help you get out, though. HINT: to find your way out before high noon, go away from the sun, west, to find Hwy.156 and, ofcourse, toward the sun after high noon.
Follow the gravel drive from the parking area, leading between the headquarters and the residence, to Swenson's Cove Trail. This one really kicked our butts after riding every mile on the other side of the road.
There is a sign at the trail head with names and distances. Follow the trail to the falls to find a very cool and refreshing water fall but beware, this trail also has some sneaky, very technical downhill over rock formations. If you follow the trail from the falls, you'll get your butt kicked, too. This is unrideable for what seemed like at least a mile. This is a hiking trail and you must carry your ride over hellatious terrain, and then climb a thigh/glute burning hill back to the top of the falls, but, if you don't do it, you can't truthfully say you did. We only logged a little over two miles on this trail since cyclometers only work when the wheels are rolling.
We also did a leg/glute burning, 5 mile ride from the fire tower back to the headquarters using the fire roads until, they spilled us out onto 156 for the remainder with a headwind. This was before the Falls ride.
If you like testing yourself, or your bike, you won't be disappointed with these trails, regardless of how far you have come. SUGGESTION: arrive early, bring plenty of H2O and nurishment, bring a camera(or some type of compact video equip), and plenty of desire.
If you are lucky, you will find someone at the headquarters and they will have a map for you. Also, several friendly dogs at the residence. They accompanied us on the Falls ride.
Did I mention that these trails are awsome? We will be back!
ps: I gave this trail a five star rating because I was so impressed with the scenery, and, I and my bike were constantly being challenged. I'm not a pro rider and I'm not a physical specimen. If you are pro and/or a limit pushing, athletic specimen, you may give this trail only four stars.

Customer Service

This is the recommended route after following the directions submitted by Scott:
I-24 East to exit 134, Hwy.41A, at Monteagle. Take 41A south apprx. 3 miles to Hwy. 156 south. Turn left onto Hwy. 156, directly across from Saint Andrews School entrance. From this point it is exactly 7 miles to Franklin State Forest Ranger Headquarters on right. The trail head is directly across the street, marked by a sign.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Austin G   [Jun 12, 2001]

One caution-I rode this trail after three weeks of above average rainfall, and there were probably 15+ stream crossings. Three days of dry weather had not really dried things out a whole lot on the mountain. Several of these were rather deep, so be careful with your bottom bracket. There is a really nice guy who "works" in the main cabin, and he'll give you a map and some advice on the trails. If he is not there (usually the case in my experience), or if no maps are to be found, email me and I'll send you a jpeg of the forestry service map. This map is helpful for detailing the fire roads which enable you to bypass some of the really rocky parts of the trail.

Customer Service

I prefer the Northern Rim for the singletrack. If you take the Western Rim (right at the split when heading out) route, you will reach an unrideable area at about mile 5-however, if you are willing to keep going, there are some amazing views. This is a very fun area-it is a great option for Middle Tennessee. It was designed as a hiking area, I believe, and as such I think Columbia has a better trail design, but this place is more technical and has truly amazing views. The other I thing I really like about Monteagle is that you can come here on a 90 degree (in Nashville) June day and find the trail 15-20 degrees cooler than the city.

Similar Products Used: If you don't mind ticks, Columbia (chickasaw trace) is a great workout.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 14  

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