The Roaring Creek Trail is a fun hike located in Graysville, Tennessee. It is part of the Cumberland Trail and includes lots of gorgeous water action and stunning overlook views.
It is located about 37 miles north of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Hike at a glance.
- Distance: 5.44 (for partial hike)
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation gain: 656
- Highlights: cascading water, bluff views.
Roaring Creek trail map.
You can see a map of the entire hike and then a map of our actual hike. We hiked starting at the parking lot, followed the creek, then started up the mountain.
We turned right and the fork with Hell's Kitchen (a great bouldering site) and then headed to Cranmore Cove Overlook. We did not go all the way to the end of the trail. Turning around at the overlook gave us a nice moderate hike, under 6 miles.
This is my favorite kind of elevation gain - you go up on the way there and down on the way back!
Even though it does look like a pretty steady up, there are plenty of switchbacks and it is very doable.
Directions and parking.
The Roaring Creek Trailhead is not difficult to find from the Chattanooga area. Take US 27 north and, after passing through Sale Creek, turn left onto TN 303 (watch for the Graysville sign). Continue on TN 303 for a short distance and then take the first left onto Pikeville Avenue, which will become Brayton Mountain Road.
Continue for about 1.5 miles and look for the gravel parking area on the right. The trailhead kiosk is visible from the road.
Start on an old roadbed!
The hike begins at the kiosk where the trail leads you down an old roadbed. The white metal blazes will help to keep you on the Roaring Creek section of the Cumberland Trail. With Roaring Creek on your left and rocky walls to your right, there’s no chance of getting off the trail as you start your hike.
The creek wasn’t necessarily roaring that day but it certainly was an impressive flow! As you hike this roadbed you will see many traces of an old coal mining operation, including stone walls and bridge abutments.
The roadbed can be quite wet in some spots due to small streams from the rocks above, but nothing significant.
Begin your ascent!
Approximately ¾ mile from the trailhead, you arrive at a point where the trail bears to the right, leaving the old roadbed. You then begin a steady ascent.
The climb is steady but the switchbacks are a great help. This was early March, with no leaves on the trees, and we had nice views of the Roaring Creek area below.
You will soon get to an intersection sign for “Hell’s Kitchen”, which is a rock climbing area. It is not part of the CT and you bear to the right, following the white blazes, to continue on the trail.
We plan on going back and visiting Hell's Kitchen on a later date!
The steady ascent continues through some great rocky areas. You will soon approach a small stream cascading through the rocks from the bluff above. Well placed stones made it easier to get over the stream where it crossed the trail.
It was very picturesque at the time of our hike but I’m sure it becomes less impressive during the drier times of the year.
You will continue the climb towards the top of the bluff, weaving your way through some massive rocks. The views begin to open up as you near the top of the plateau.
There was a big blue sky greeting us as we crested the top and rounded the point! Roaring Creek Overlook offers some great views of the valley and the countryside surrounding Roaring Creek.
Leaving the Roaring Creek Overlook, you are rewarded with a nice, level trail and a walk through a pine forest along the bluff.
You soon arrive at Wildcat Hollow Falls, which is impressive but presents some challenges in trying to get a good view! This waterfall is approximately 2 miles from the trailhead.
Leaving the falls, you continue on the trail through a pine forest. You eventually come to a wooden Cumberland Trail sign post with directional arrows. This is the first of three sign posts you will pass. At this point the trail appears to start following an old roadbed.
Continue on and you eventually pass a second trail sign. A short hike brings you to the third CT trail sign where the trail then bears to the right towards the bluff, leaving the old roadbed.
Cranmore Cove overlook!
The trail passes very close to Cranmore Cove Overlook and you can’t miss it! A short few steps off the trail rewards you with magnificent views in all directions!
There are many spots for great photos along that section of the bluff, not just one big rock for the view!
And it’s a great place to have the lunch you packed in, which is exactly what we did!
After wandering around the overlook and just sitting, staring into the beautiful scenes in front of us, we then began our hike back to the trailhead.
We give the Roaring Creek trail (north) two thumbs-up…or 4 boots up! Good exercise and great reward!