Today we hiked a segment of the Cumberland Trail, starting from Signal Point in the town of Signal Mountain, and going as far as the Middle Creek suspension bridge before turning back, for a total of 2.8 miles.
For some odd reason, I thought this hike would be easier than the hike we did two weeks ago on Lookout Mountain. I was wrong! This hike was extremely rocky. There were very few spots where the trail was flat and even. There were many spots where we had to climb or duck under large trees that had fallen in the path! We just had a large storm pass through this week, so I’m not quite sure if a lot of those trees had always been there, or if some of the damage was new. There was one spot where a tree took out a small section of a wooden walkway, and that seemed new.
We started at Signal Point, and first enjoyed the overlook for a few minutes. The trail starts to the right, and almost immediately there are a ton of steep steps, known as “The Mousetrap.” I am not sure why it is called that, but this is what the internet told me!
After all of the steps, the trail starts out fairly easily, but gets quite hard! There were more rocky areas than flat areas. You had to look down with almost every step.
I was glad that the trail was well marked (white squares either in paint, or screwed into the trees as metal plates) because there were quite a lot of sections where we thought, “Is this really the way we’re supposed to go?”
At 0.4 miles into the hike, you reach Julia Falls Overlook. I have read online that the falls is usually dry, or just a trickle. I am glad that we went after two days of heavy rain, so we could see it!
We had Julia Falls Overlook all to ourselves for about 15-20 minutes. A few groups came in, but by that point we were ready to head on our way. (On the way back, after lunch time, there were quite a few people there.)
After that, we followed the trail for about a mile to the Middle Creek suspension bridge. We were by ourselves for about 5 minutes, and then all of a sudden so many people showed up! We think it’s because the bridge is close to the Rainbow Lake Trail, another popular area.
This hike was hard, but only because of the uneven ground. It was slow going, for sure. If I were to do this again, I would probably only do the first section to Julia Falls. As always, I am glad we did it, and I felt accomplished (and exhausted). This makes two mountain hikes in three weeks!