This trail is the only public access to the Carter State Natural Area. Beginning beside State Hwy 56, it climbs to the top of Spur Ridge, turns north, then follows the top of the ridge for 3/4 mile, then descends into Lost Cove. The descent starts at 1420’ and ends at 800’ for a total of 620’. The terrain is rocky but could be very slippery and muddy after rains. The trail divides at the top of a 150’ limestone bluff with the right fork descending steeply to the Buggytop entrance and the left fork leading to other entrances over more moderate terrain.
Driving directions, from the South Cumberland State Park Visitor Center: Take US 41 west through Monteagle and Sewanee, then left on TN Hwy 56 at the large brown park sign. Follow Hwy 56 about 6.5 miles. Unfortunately, the trailhead is not well marked; as you descend the mountain on Hwy 56, watch for a small brown “Bird Watching Area” sign on your right; the roadside parking area and trailhead are just ahead on your left.
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