For more information on Day Trips and Trails in our Upper Cumberland Counties...
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Day Trips & Trails
Off the Beaten Path: Come & discover the back roads, history, & unique sites
of the Upper CumberlandIt all can be found in the Upper Cumberland Region
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The Upper Cumberland region is filled with beautiful natural features just waking up from a long hibernation. Our native dogwoods, redbuds, and sourwoods can best be enjoyed from the panoramic view from a motorcycle helmet. We invite you to take a short trip over the winding waters and musical mountains in the Upper Cumberland. All the routes listed below take you from Interstate 40, loop through our scenic wonders, and put you back on I-40. However, all parts of the routes are beautiful and can be tailored to your location. Each route also contains points of interest that can only be found in the Upper Cumberland. Some of our region’s most scenic drives are highlighted below with descriptions and directions. More information is available by calling us at 1-800-768-7237.
»Click on the listings below for more information!«
- Alvin C. York Tour
- From Clarkrange to Cookeville
Approximately 104 miles roundtrip
Start this historic hero journey by exiting I-40 at Exit #317. Go North on Hwy. 127 towards Jamestown. In Clarkrange, be sure to stop by the Cumberland Mountain General Store for the best milkshake on the plateau. Continue on Hwy. 127 N for approximately 18 miles from the store. Turn left to go towards the on the Hwy. 127 Jamestown Business District route. Go through town, past the courthouse and Mark Twain Park. On the other side of Jamestown, you’ll see Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute, founded by World War I hero, Sgt. Alvin C. York.
Continue on through the Pine Haven Community. At the 127 By-Pass intersection, turn left to continue north on Hwy. 127. Turn left onto Squirrel Flat Road. Take another left on Double Top Road. Wind your way to the first fork, where you will bear left. At the second split, veer left again. Slow down to enjoy the views as you descend this majestic ridge. Continue straight until the road T-bones with Hwy. 325 (also called Stepp Gap Road). Turn right onto Hwy. 325 and follow until it intersects with Hwy. 127 South. Turn right onto Hwy. 127 S and get the camera ready for the Valley of the Three Forks.
This route will take you past old-fashioned general stores and through the heart of Sgt. York’s old stomping grounds. Stretch you legs at the state historic park named in his honor. Here you can take a guided tour of Sgt. York’s homeplace, visit the gristmill, or walk over the swinging bridge. Grab a cold drink and a sandwich while you sit on the banks of Wolf River and soak up Spring in the valley. When you’re ready, take Hwy. 127 S back into Jamestown.
At the top of the mountain, remember to turn right off the by-pass to go through town. At the second red light, turn right to go west on Hwy. 52: a can’t miss section of the tour. This road winds down through West Fentress. While it’s curvy, it offers spectacular views of the valleys and mountains. Enjoy the rich colors as you finish the journey by following Hwy. 52 through the town of Livingston to Hwy. 111. Go south on Hwy. 111 towards Cookeville and I-40. (Roughly 104 miles roundtrip.)
• Exit I-40 at the Crossville Exit #317.
• Go North on Hwy. 127, towards Jamestown, approximately 32 miles from the interstate.
• Turn left on Hwy. 127 Business Route.
• Go through town, turn left on Hwy 127 N.
• Turn left onto Squirrel Flat Road.
• Turn left on Double Top Road.
• Bear left at first fork (Double Top & Hinds Chapel Road Split).
• Bear left at second fork (Double top & Woody Road Split).
• Turn right onto Hwy. 325 (also Stepp Gap Road).
• Turn right onto Hwy 127 S.
• Turn right to follow Hwy 127 S (not the by-pass) back to town.
• Turn right at second light to go west on Hwy. 52.
• Follow Hwy. 52 for approximately 30 miles to Livingston.
• Follow signs to Hwy. 111 S, towards Cookeville.
• Stay on Hwy. 111 S approximately 20 miles to I-40.
- Beautiful Barns/Historic Hotels Route
- From Gainesboro to Red Boiling Springs
Approximately 120 miles roundtrip
Start this rural route by exiting Interstate 40 at Exit #280. Go north on Hwy. 56 towards Gainesboro. Just on the other side of Gainesboro, turn left to stay on Hwy. 56N and cross over the beautiful Cumberland River. As you travel through the rich bottom land farms, start counting the stately old barns scattered throughout the countryside. Stay on 56 as you begin the curvy climb out of the valley, through the tunnels of trees. Veer right at the intersection to go west on Hwy 262. At the stop sign, go straight to stay on 262 (also Union Camp Road). Continue on Union Camp Road until it ends at the stop sign. Turn left onto Red Boiling Springs Road. Travel approximately 1.4 miles and turn left onto Ferguson Hill Road. Roll the windows down and enjoy the rural solitude as you meander by the creek and drive under the canopy of big hardwoods. Watch for the wild turkeys!
At the end of Ferguson Hill Road, turn left on to Hwy 10 and then take the first road on the right; Ford Branch Road. Your barn count should be up in the double digits by now as you drive through more scenic farmland. Veer right onto Drury Ridge Road and slow down as you enter this “can’t miss” section. The road is narrow but the view from atop this ridge is breathtaking. You can see miles of hardwoods as you look down onto the valleys and hills of Macon County. Turn right at the stop sign and right again at the red light to put you on Hwy. 52 East.
Grab a snack in Lafayette and continue east on Hwy. 52, over Long Fork Creek and past the Nestle Bottling Plant. Turn left onto Hwy. 56 N at the historic hotel sign. In less than a mile, turn right at the Citgo onto Hwy. 151 East. Stop in and tour the trio of historic hotels and learn about Red Boiling Springs fascinating history as a popular health resort town back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Don’t miss the motorcycle museum! Armour’s Red Boiling Springs Hotel, The Donoho Hotel, and The Thomas House all have wonderful stories to tell and comfy beds if the drive has you worn out. You can relax in a front-porch rocker or stroll through the grand trees along the creek before heading continuing east on Hwy 151.
Stay on Hwy. 151 as it winds you through more tree-lined farmland. Be sure to snap a few pictures of the weathered grey and red barns that line the way back to Hwy. 56. From there, take Hwy. 56 South back through Gainesboro and to I-40. (Roughly 120 miles roundtrip.)
• Exit Interstate I-40 at Exit #280 onto Highway 56N towards Gainesboro.
• Continue straight on 56N through Gainesboro.
• Turn left to stay on Hwy. 56N towards Red Boiling Springs.
• Continue on Hwy. 56N to Hwy. 262.
• Veer right at the intersection to go west on Hwy 262.
• Continue straight on Hwy. 262 (Union Camp Road) until it ends at Red Boiling Springs Rd.
• Turn Left onto Red Boiling Springs Rd.
• Turn Left onto Ferguson Hill Road.
• Turn left at stop sign onto Hwy. 10.
• Travel about 1000 feet and turn right Ford Branch Road.
• Veer right onto Drury Ridge Rd.
• Turn right at stop sign.
• At the red light, turn right to travel E on Hwy 52.
• Straight on 52E for about 13 miles.
• Turn Left onto Hwy. 56 N.
• Right onto Hwy 151 East.
• Straight on 151, to stop sign.
• Left on Hwy. 56 back towards Whitleyville, Gainesboro, then I-40.
- Biker's Delight - Ongoing riding tours throughout the Upper Cumberland whether you're on your bike or in your car!
Listed below are links to some of the best rides the Upper Cumberland Region has to offer. Whether you're on your bike or in your car, these are well worth the drive. Each tour includes driving directions, estimated drive time, mileage, and points of interest. Discover some of the best scenic views, historical sites, eateries and more... just around the next bend.
Select anyone of the self-guided tours below for more information!
Center Hill Thrill - 77.8 miles (about 2h 15min)*
Ride Back In Time - 109.2 miles (about 2h 42min)*
Byway To Bluegrass - 104.6 miles (about 2h 38min)*
Sergeant Yorks Ride - 114.6 miles (about 2h 33min)*
Rugby Ride - 178.6 miles (about 4h 21min)*
Standing Stone Loop - 93.5 miles (about 2h 31min)*
Famous Falls - 177.9 miles (about 4h 31min)*
Over The Lakes - 148.8 miles (about 3h 56min)*
Water To Wine - 160.0 miles (about 3h 47min)*
Calfkiller Loop - 66.5 miles (about 1h 46min)*
Boilermaker - 120.1 miles (about 6h 6min)*
That Dam Ride - 183.8 miles (about 4h 48min)*
*The above tours were created and made possible through the "Harley-Davidson Ride Planner, Powered by H.O.G."
- Broadway of America Tour
- From Cookeville to Crossville
Approximately 52 miles roundtrip
Start this scenic adventure by exiting Interstate 40 at Exit #288, around Cookeville. Go South on Highway 111, towards Sparta. Exit on Highway 136 South. Turn right off the ramp and then be sure to veer left at the caution light. Enjoy the rolling farmland as you travel straight through the first 4-way stop. Look to your right to find a modern agri-tourism operation at Amazing Acres of Fun. Strawberries are in season from late April to early June. Continue straight on down Hwy. 136 S and go straight through the second 4-way stop
At the third stop sign, turn left onto 70 East: the “Broadway of America”! Soak in the vistas of farms framed by brilliantly green mountains as you make your way over Hwy. 111 to Sparta. Stay on Hwy. 70 E to Sparta’s historic downtown. Go treasures hunting at one of the many antique shops. Stop by Liberty Square for a walking tour and pose for a quick picture by the Lester Flatt Bluegrass Memorial Monument. While you’re on the square, visit Miss Marenda’s Tea Room for a delicious home-made dessert, served with a big scoop of southern hospitality. When your belly is full, head out of Sparta by turning right from the square and continuing on Hwy. 70 E towards Crossville.
Back on Highway 70, you will begin the climb up the Cumberland Plateau. You’ll pass the Rock House Historic Site and Wildcat Falls, just off the main road. A few miles out of Sparta, be sure to stop at the Sunset Rock Overlook on the left-hand side of the road. The 50 mile view of the Central Basin, with Walker Mountain, Gum Spring Mountain, and Short Mountain in the distance, makes a for a picture-perfect stop. The next 20 mile section takes you through rural hillsides. After you pass the Crossville Airport, look for the Cumberland County Playhouse on the right. This renowned theater brings that other Broadway to the “Broadway of America” route with outstanding plays and musicals. At the red light, finish your trip by exploring Crossville or following the signs back to I-40. (Roughly 52 miles roundtrip.)
• Exit I-40 at Exit #288.
• Go South on Highway 111, towards Sparta.
• Take the Old Kentucky Road, Hampton’s Crossroads, Hwy 136 South Exit.
• Turn right off ramp onto Hwy. 136.
• At third stop sign, turn left onto Hwy. 70 East (also Smithville Hwy).
• Travel on Hwy. 70E to Sparta, then continue on Hwy. 70E to Crossville.
• Follow signs to back to I-40.
- Center Hill Lake Tour
- From Smithville to Edgar Evins State Park
Approximately 37 miles roundtrip
The journey begins as you exit I-40 onto Highway 56 South, Exit 273. Almost immediately, you’ll be treated to a beautiful panorama view along the shoreline of Center Hill Lake. Be sure to snap a few photos at the scenic overlook on the left. The bird’s eye view from atop Hurricane Bridge is worth the drive. Just after the bridge, stop by the Appalachian Center for Craft to view exhibits and shop their gallery for everything from contemporary jewelry to traditional wood carvings.
Back on Hwy. 56, continue on to Smithville, home of the famous “Fiddler’s Jamboree”, held in July. At the second red light, turn right and travel west on Hwy. 70. Enjoy the sun-dappled path, as you descend the last foothills of the Appalachians to Hwy. 96. Hang a right and slow down as the winding roads take you under canopies of greenin hardwoods. Marvel at the Center Hill Dam and then continue on to beautiful Edgar Evins State Park. Have a picnic or take a hike on over 12 miles of hiking trails before returning to I-40. (Roughly 37 miles roundtrip.)
• From Cookeville, Take I-40 West
• Take Exit 273 / Smithville.
• Turn left off ramp onto Highway 56 South.
• Follow Hwy. 56 to Smithville.
• Turn right at second red light to go west on Hwy. 70.
• Travel approximately 8 miles and turn right on Hwy. 96 North.
• Follow signs to Edgar Evins State Park.
• Follow Signs Back to I-40.
- Hilltop Heritage Tour - From Gordonsville to Cordell Hull Dam
Approximately 25 miles roundtrip
Begin this adventure by exiting I-40 at Exit #258. Go south on Highway 53 and turn left at the caution light. Check out the beautiful architecture of the older homes lining Main Street as you cruise through Gordonsville. At the railroad tracks, turn left to stay on Hwy. 264 N. Enjoy the roller coaster, as breathtaking views great you at the crest of each hill. Turn left onto Hwy. 70N. The rolling farmland continues as you drive by the Smith County residence of former Vice President Al Gore. Slow down to enjoy the ride on the green bridge that takes you over the Caney Fork River. Continue on down 70, past the interchange with Hwy. 25 and through the town of South Carthage. Turn right to go on the Cordell Hull Bridge, which was built in 1936, and over the Cumberland River.
Turn left at the red light and welcome yourself to a picture of rural American life on the Smith County Courthouse Square. The courthouse was built in 1879, and in it’s time, was the finest in all of Tennessee. Hang a right onto Third Street to visit the Smith County Heritage Museum (open Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10am to 2pm). The museum tells many stories and their new Civil War Exhibit is a must-see. Back on Main Street, continue going north, away from the courthouse. Enjoy the magnificent maple and magnolia trees that line the street. Continue until the intersection of Main and Hwy. 25. Go straight through the light, to travel on Hwy. 263 N, towards Cordell Hull Lake Dam. As you climb, enjoy the views of fall’s splendor on the left. Turn right at the sign for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Cordell Hull Lake Dam. Here you can enjoy a picnic and playground, hike on the Turkey Creek Trail, and stop by the visitor’s center. Be sure to go all the way to the end of the road to get a good look at the dam.
After you’ve gotten in touch with nature, backtrack back down to the red light. Turn left to go south on Hwy. 25. Smith County hands you a few more vistas of rambling farms and rolling hills as you follow the signs back to I-40. (Roughly 25 miles roundtrip.)
If you’re tired of the interstate, go west on Hwy. 70 N to Lebanon or east to Cookeville.
• Exit I-40 on the Gordonsville Exit #258.
Go south on Hwy. 53.
• Left at caution light to Hwy. 264 North.
• Left at RR crossing to stay on 264 N.
• Turn left to go west on Hwy. 70 North.
• Stay on Hwy. 70N through South Carthage.
• Turn right to go over Cordell Hull Bridge over Cumberland River and into downtown Carthage.
• Turn left at light.
• Continue down South Main Street.
• At intersection of Hwy. 25 and Main, go straight through light onto Hwy. 263N.
• Veer right at split.
• Right at Cordell Hull Dam sign.
• Return back to intersection of Hwy. 25 and 263.
• Left at light to go south on Hwy. 25 By-pass and back to I-40.
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