I genuinely don’t recall how I found out about the trails on Racoon Mountain at the TVA/Switchyard. The maps sucked. The trail markers sucked even more. There were signs, but there would be various forks that made absolutely no sense at all.
The best part of the first trail was that I saw about 5 deer grazing about 20 feet from me. They stared at me. I stared at them. I didn’t want to run them off, so I didn’t try to get closer. We stood there for several minutes. It was cool. That was the best part of the hike. I kept hoping I’d see more. I saw the back-end of a white tail… If you stare carefully in pics below, you’ll see the deer. I promise.
The rest of the trail didn’t have a lot of spectacular views, but it could be the route I took. I was expecting something fairly challenging. Not really. My lunch viewNumerous dogs, off leash. Had a doberman barreling toward me down a hill. (This was before the Pit Bull attack). Dog’s owners were military types, jogging a ways behind dog. They hollered that she was a big chicken. She was running fast, straight toward me, barking. When she was about 20 feet away, I raised my arms up and yelled “BOO!” Sure enough, she ran away. (PEOPLE, LEASH YOUR DAMN DOGS.)
River Gorge Trail was 5.85 miles, done in about 2hrs (took a lunch break)
I also did “The Switchyard”. It was tedious. Not pretty. And I was run over by mountain bikers three times. Not they came close. THEY came right up behind me and brushed me – I almost fell down a gulley. No “On your left!” They were quiet. Next time, I’m going to use my bear spray. This place is for mountain bikers. Siwtchyard was 5.12 miles, in about 3hrs. I eventually went off trail because it was getting close to dark and I was FED up with the bikers. If you look at the path on Google maps, you’ll see I walked around the perimeter of the Switchyard itself. (I am sure security was watching me)
The drive around the TVA was neat. The Switchyard itself was cool.