I finally remembered my maps.. so I will tell you how to get to the trail heads from pulling out of the road at Whisperwood Cabin. You need to go to the little store on down the road (about a mile) toward the park from where you turn into Johnson Place rd(I think that is the name of the road that Whisperwood is located) They have the big nice park maps and you really need one. Or you can drive up to BandyCreek Ranger station and they have them plus they are EXTREMELY knowledgeable about the trails.
1st trail we love-- turn to the right out of Johnson Place toward the park. Go approximately 2 miles to the small store on the right, immediately past it is the "Cumberland trail head". You turn immediately past the store and go down the small dirt road 1/2 mile. The first part of the trail is flat and sandy. When you get closer to the river you will drop of fairly quickly. Some of the downhill spots are semi steep. I have not gotten off my horse to walk any of these. When you get to the river you can turn left/right and ride the river. It is beautiful. You can do loops but you need to look at a map and decide how much your horse and your butt can take.. we usually just ride the river and then turn around and go right back out.
2) out of Johnson Place go toward the park. Once you pass into the park boundary you start slowing, you will see a sign that marks a county boundary (scott/Fentress county I think) you should also see a Horse crossing sign and almost immediately you will see a small road that turns right. It is a driveway type turn in that parks just about 50 feet off the road in a large turn around area. Park and tack up.. Travel on down the road and follow it toward the right. This is a good road for wagons so there may be some. Follow this trail (North White Oak loop) you can detour off to some of the overlooks or you can follow the trail toward the river.. Cumberland Valley loop. There are a couple of huge rocks and rock cave type places. There is a couple of steep downhills and there is one I sometimes get off and walk (about 50 feet) at the bottom there is another steep spot (about 25-30 feet) that I have walked. The bottom is where we usually eat lunch called Coyle Branch. Beautiful and it has hitching post for the horses. If you go to the left down river (I think) you will travel along the river.. you can cross it and go over to the O &W Bridge. This is a great ride. The river is an easy crossing unless it is high water. The bridge is old and great views. We then turn around and go right back out the way we cam in. There are a couple of loops and overlooks that you can do but we usually don't
3)Going to Charit Creek. WONDERFUL!! A MUST DO!!!
Turn left out of Johnson Place road back toward Jamestown. When you get to "sharps Place" or the junction of hwy 154 (look at map) turn right toward Pickett state park. Travel along until you see that middle creek trailhead/Equestrian center or Divide Road. Look on a map and you will see that purple trail off this road.. it is actually a road called Fork Ridge Road and trail. Follow this till you get to the power lines (huge) and you will see the parking lot. Saddle up and keep riding following signs to Charit creek. Some of this gravel road is extremely steep (to me) I get off my horse, it is not a bad walk and I usually walk about 1/2 mile down hill. (I ride up hill) follow the horse trail to charit creek (it is the road) when you get to charit creek tie the horses and walk around.. it is very beautiful and fascinating. When you get back on to ride.. go up the trail behind charit creek lodge, go to the left up to the hatfield ridge trail( very steep uphill but you don't have to come down it). There is a overlook that is short and well worth the trip. Then go on down the hatfield ridge trail toward the river. When you get to the river there is a short steep downhill that I don't usually get off and walk. You can go to the left at the river and cross over if you choose. When you turn around and go back toward charit creek lodge follow the Station Camp Creek Trail. It is on a lower elevation and lots of creek crossings. It goes back to Charit Creek lodge. Then you go back up the road to the truck/trailer.
4) to to the left out of Johnson Place rd, turn again to the left at a sharp turn to "Timber Ridge Campground" I cannot give you info on how to get there. Just look it up so you know before hand. They will allow you to park free but ask for a donation for the trails.. Go to the office and they will give you a paper map and tell you about the trails.. well worth the $5 we donated. Ride out the back of the camp and make the loop. Some of the loop has beautiful caves/creek caves on it. But there is also some road riding thru pasture/houses. If you want ask and they can show you on the map where you could turn around and not ride in the road/houses. I would suggest that. The caves are well worth the trip. They also have a obstacle course set up you can play in.
5) Drive to East ForkStable (look up where they are) they will allow you to park for a fee (cant remember how much) they have a beautiful trail along a river but the one I like the best is going to a waterfall with a great overlook. Ask them for a map and about this particular trail.. it is to the north of the stables.
There are more trails and variations of doing them but this is the trails we (hubby and I) ride each and every time we stay at whisperwood.!!!
Be sure to let me know what you think of them, and I do use shoes on all 4 feet!!! I know there are several places there is a steep drop in the trail but most are short and easily walked if you want to. I can only think of a place or two that is a "cliff" type are where you ride beside a steep drop off, most of the trails are wide enough that you can make your horse go to the inside.
Oh my! RhondaLynn you are so generous with the details and recommendations!!! Being a person who likes to plan things out, you have provided a WEALTH of information that will surely help us in hitting the right trails to enjoy, as Gunslinger puts it, the equine Disneyland. Our first stop when we get there will be the Bandy Creek Ranger station to get the maps. The recommendations and details you provided are so GREATLY appreciated! They are a HUGE help. Thank you!!!! We will be sure to let you know how it goes and what we enjoyed the most. Truly appreciate you taking the time to give us so much valuable information. You have no idea how much that helps. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. P.S. If the wife agrees and I think she will, we will probably do the shoes on all four. P.S.S. If you don’t see a follow-up post, me and my Dakota probably fell off a cliff, or worse yet Dillon and the wife fell off a cliff.
WOW, thank you Gunslinger and Rhondalynn!!! Really appreciate you taking the time to share all the great info on the trails etc. I know Dan is very grateful, as he likes to plan and know where we are going.
I had already told our farrier about getting all four shoes. Our vacation is quickly approaching and I can't wait! Thanks again on such detail Rhonda!
I just looked to see where you were coming to BSF from.. OHIO???
If I were you I would NOT go THRU BSF from the east going west. When you actually go THROUGH the gorge and thru the park it is extremely steep and very sharp hairpin turns. Now if you have a very, very good truck and very short horse trailer if will work..
I know we come to BSF from below Chattanooga go to Whisperwood from the Jamestown side. That is going toward the park from the west. You can go to Bandy Creek ok from the west but whenever we have taken a loafing day and let the horses rest and drove thru the gorge (beautiful) we both said.. wow.. glad I am not pulling a trailer full of horses.. it can be done I am sure.. I just would NOT want to do it.
My suggestion!!! If you get off I-75 above knoxville where it says BSF go toward BSF until you get near Oneida then go south. Go below BSF toward Jamestown then to to BSF and Whisperwood. I don't have an atlas to see the names of the towns so I cannot tell you exactly which towns to go thru. I (JUST ME PERSONALLY AND HUBBY TOO) would not want to drive thru the gorge from Oneida to the west side of the park with truck/trailer. I am sure others on this forum have done it and can do it so Please chime in about the drive.. I just know it is very, very steep and twisty turns.
There is a grill at whisperwood and ONE good resturaunt near it called Baccera's (sp) it is good, need reservations and only open a couple of nights a week. But pricey.
You can drive into Jamestown to eat but that is a long trip just to go eat after a day in the saddle. The little store near the Cumberland Valley trailhead will grill hamburgers but that is about all. There use to be lots of little mom/pop retsturants but the economy really did a number on them. So take your own food. If you plan a loafing day go to muddy pond (below Jamestown ask for directions) it is an mennonite community that has one store and a pretty good leather goods/tack shop. Plus good fried pies!!!
Yes, we are coming from Ohio. I plan to get off 75 and go in from the west. Very very good advice. Although we don’t have a big rig/trailer, I am still a newbie with regards to pulling a trailer and little experience with pulling on other that pretty flat roadways. In less than two years, I’ve already managed to miss a near-miss on two occasions (in the same gas station) and the latter one was a little expensive. Your heads-up the treacherous route is greatly appreciated! Below is my tentative route when I googled it. I normally rely on GPS and hopefully I won’t need to reference the maps after I get off 75 to go to the western side. Baccera's does sound like an appropriate place to have our anniversary dinner. Very much appreciate the recommendation. Also appreciate your other food/dining recommendations. We are so looking forward to this trip. You’ve been so helpful Rhonda! My wife and I can’t thank you enough!
FYI to anyone going to BSF from the east: we do go down 75 from KY and drive through the gorge with the rig. It is tedious, but totally doable. It is a steep grade, so you'll want to have good brakes and a good truck for hauling up the other side. We do it in our 3h gooseneck without trouble. Our friends did it in their 4h slant with large living quarters, I think it was a bit more tedious for them, but they made it with no problems. You do have to go really slow and carefully-- there are spots were you take up both lanes on the hairpin turns. I think most rigs would be ok through there with a cautious driver. I wouldn't want to do it in snow/ice though!