North Boundary

Click for Oak Ridge, TN  Forecast
Distance: 15 miles
Elevation: 760' to 1155'
Surface: gravel, some dirt
Maps: USGS Quadrangles: Bethel Valley and Elverton
    trail map and Greenways map
    Google map/image/topo and iPhone google map
    Elle's map or pdf
Access: This gated gravel road starts from the west end of of Oak Ridge at the old guard station. Parking is available at the guard station. We have GPS waypoints (.gpx), maps, and driving directions for some of the trail heads at trail-head parking. No motorized vehicles or horses.

The area is closed for three spring weekend turkey hunts. For 2017, the area is closed dawn til noon, March 25, April 8-9 and 22-23. See reservation hunt info. The North Boundary road is closed for deer hunting one weekend in October, November, and December each year. In the fall 2017, the area is closed Nov 4-5, 11-12, and Dec 9-10. In addition, the area is closed the Saturday before each scheduled hunt weekend for scouting.

Description: The North Boundary Road is part of the DOE reservation at the west end of Oak Ridge. Pedestrian and bicycle access to the gravel road was obtained by Greenways Oak Ridge in cooperation with the City of Oak Ridge and DOE.

From the old guard house at the west end of the Oak Ridge turnpike, the gravel North Boundary road skirts around the end of a gate through kudzu and climbs some 300' to cross Wisconsin Ave. The gravel road travels past the water tower and rolls along the ridge crest. At its northwest corner, the road passes along a bluff over Poplar Creek. At mile 5.4, take the right and follow Poplar Creek road 1.6 miles to highway 95. This section has several bridge crossings.

The original greenway includes sections A-B-C-D-F (7 miles, see trail map). In 2005, Hunley Road (0.9 miles at mile 3.7) was included, and the remainder of Quarry Road (F-G) was added. The full loop is about 9.2 miles and cumulative climb of 780' (see elevation profile or GPS track of loop ride), the max gradient is about 14%. The gravel from the 58/95 junction and east along the Quarry road is a nice 5.2 mile shaded run with a cumulative climb of only 300 feet (max grade 10%), see elevation profile or here or a 10-mile run. It is 3 miles from the guard house to the 95/58 junction along TN 95.

In 2007, the 1.13 mile Wheat Disctrict greenway was completed. It's single track and gravel and connects you to Blair Road, where it is 1.5 miles to the Black Oak Ridge trails. The 1.3 mile McKinney Ridge (1156') trail (single track, cumulative climb 410') connects with the Wheat trail at the bridge and with the North Boundary gravel. As of March 2011 the McKinney Ridge Trail is for foot traffic only (state natural area).

In March, 2009, the 1.3 mile Gallaher Trail was opened. As of March 2011, the Gallaher Trail is for foot traffic only (state natural area). It starts west of the water tower and descends to just west of the Gallaher Cemetery. See GPS track and elevation profile of guard shack climb, Gallaher trail descent, Hunley climb, and McKinney Ridge trail climb/descent ( max gradient 18%).

In February, 2012, the 1.3 mile Big Oak Trail was constructed to provide a wooded, single-track connector from the east end of the lower gravel back to the guard shack, avoiding the turnpike. In October, 2015, the 1.4 mile Sinkhole Trail was connected to Big Oak trail. In August, 2017, another 1.5 miles of single-track was opened connecting Big Oak with Sinkhole Trail just west of Wisconsin, Boulder Trail. These are not in the natural area, so are open to mountain bikes.

3/27/2017 wild fire along Sinkhole Trail, see map

For more info on Oak Ridge, visit the Oak Ridge Visitors Bureau.

Return to East Tennessee mountain bike rides.
Revised 8/3/17 by Tom Dunigan