Monday, May 17, 2010

No, not Devil's Haircut by Beck... It was the Devil's Racetrack.

It almost sounds reminiscent of Rob Zombie's "Devil's Rejects" and... well... it might have seemed like it. This weekend we hiked the Devil's Racetrack and let me tell you what, if you think you've found a good trail description of a hike, you'd better try to dig a little more. The write up we found for this one was a far cry from accurate. Here is the link, Devil's Racetrack writeup, I suggest you read that first, then come back here and finish reading for a comparison to the blithe write-up.

So the Devil's Racetrack is 3.3 miles from the trail head. If you read the aforementioned trail description then you now know that this is part of the Cumberland Trail on the Cumberland Segment which leads to Cumberland Gap on the Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky border. Behind Cove Lake State Park is the parking area for the trail head. This is located on Bruce Gap road, again if you read the aforementioned trail write-up you would know this as well. For a little extra information you can check out the Cumberland segment of the Cumberland Trail on the Cumberland Trail Conference website.

Sorry for the digression, back to the trail description. From the trail head to the Devil's Racetrack overlook is a total of 3.3 tough miles. The average elevation gain, as best as I could ascertain, is almost 1900'. The terrain is pretty rough due to boulder fields, scree piles, overgrown thickets, etc. There are several switchbacks once you reach the man made waterfalls. This helps to make the ascent to the overlook a bit easier, but still for us experienced hikers, it was definitely challenging.

I have to admit, if you take away the lack of proper trail description, the detraction of I-75 traffic (yes the trail pretty much follows alongside I-75), the heat, and poison ivy galore, then the hike isn't all that bad. There is plenty flora and fauna to set your sites on, as well as geological features galore. The view from atop the 'Racetrack' ain't half bad either.

If you decide to go on this hike, I suggest plenty of water, a few snacks, and something to keep you from getting poison ivy, I pulled my socks up as far as they go. Gaiters would be a good suggestion or pants too. If it's as hot as it was for us then gaiters would be the way to go.

So here are some of the snapshots along the way. You can also view the following site for more pictures of the trail that I wish we had found prior to going.

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin Bird

The Pictures --