Horse Creek/Upper Paint Creek

Distance: 40+ miles
Rating:moderate to strenuous
Elevation: 1760' to 4844' (tower)
Surface: dirt/gravel
Maps: USGS Quadrangles: Greystone, Davy Crockett and various maps are available from the Cherokee National Forest Also see Cherokee National Forest and GORP info on Cherokee National Forest .
See our trail map.
Access: Horse Creek is east of Greeneville off of TN 107. Turn right off of 107 about 2.5 miles past the TN 351 junction and follow the signs. Access to Bullen Hollow and Camp Creek trails is via TN 351/350, or via Viking Mtn Road/Greene Mountain Road off of TN 70 south of Greeneville.

The Cherokee National Forest lies along the western slopes of the Appalachians in East Tennessee. The Forest Service roads are gravel and dirt and are open to bicycles -- even the gated gravel roads. Most roads are graded, but there are some designated "off-road vehicle/4WD" roads that are rougher and steeper. Horse trails are also open to mountain bikers. There are a few single-track trails open to bicycles, but bicycles are not permitted on hiking trails. Check with the Forest Service office (423-476-9700) for current access restrictions.

Description: From the Horse Creek Campground (1800'), a 4WD road (FS 94) climbs steeply 3.5 miles along Horse Creek (many crossings) to the ridge tops, AT, and balds (4550'). At mile 1 (2080') you can turn right on Poplar Cove Trail and loop back in 5 miles via Jennings Creek Trail and FS 331. The Poplar Cove Trail climbs over Middle Ridge (2750') and descends down Jennings Creek to the Old Forge Campground (1820') and gravel FS 331.

The upper Paint Creek trails are accessed from Viking Mountain road (2200')off of TN 70. From TN 70, gravel Greene Mountain Road enters from the left at mile 1.8 (2340'). At mile 4.8, Viking Mountain turns to gravel, and at mile 6.7 (3720'), FS 358 (Kennedy cabin) enters from the left at a switchback. Continue up to Jones Meadow (mile 9.2, 4400') and then right up to the Camp Creek Bald fire tower (mile 9.9, 4844').

FS 358 provides access to Greene Mountain, Camp Creek Trail, and Bullen Hollow trail. At mile 0.9 on FS 358, the right fork climbs over the ridge (3900') and joins the Bullen Hollow horse/bike trail. Bullen Hollow descends 4 miles to Shelton Mission Rd (1840'). The left fork continues to a 4-way intersection at mile 1.5 (3800'). Straight ahead (Kennedy Cabin), the Camp Creek trail descends 3.7 miles to Camp Creek School (1520'), though no trespassing signs may force you to the left down to Greene Mtn road. (Camp Creek Falls is nearby, off-trail). Camp Creek School is 3.3 miles from the Bullen Hollow trail head, and is 15 miles from Viking Mountain Road via the Greene Mountain Road. Taking the left at the 4-way, leads you along the top of Greene Mountain 3.3 miles to Greene Mountain Road (2450'), 1 mile from Viking Mountain Road.

The Round Knob picnic area (3080') is 5 miles up gravel FS 88 from Greystone Road. From the picnic area (3080'), you can make a 5 mile loop via Cowbell Hollow trail (#24), to Jennings Creek (#21) to Old Forge and back via Little Jennings Creek (#195). There is also a 4WD road (FS 88) that climbs to 4050' in 2.5 miles from Round Knob.

More mountain biking in the Cherokee National Forest can be found to the south ( Paint Creek ).

Return to East Tennessee mountain bike rides.
Revised 3/1/97 by Tom Dunigan