Greene County High Point Trip Report

Gravel Knob (4,852 ft)

Date: June 7, 2003
Author: Ken Oeser

Mike Beavers, Ken, Annette, and Alexandra Oeser used a different route to climb to Gravel Knob. This route was used in case of storms since rain was predicted all day, and it has the shortest ridge distance of any route.

Sarvis Cove/Horse Creek trails

From Greeneville, TN drive east on US 11E to Tusculum, then turn right onto TN 107 and drive about 5 miles and turn right onto Horse Creek Road. This is just past TN 351 going north/left. Follow Horse Creek Road about 3 miles, following the signs to the campground. Pay the $2 parking fee and park at the end of the road at the small parking area at 1900 feet. Hike up the creek about 1 mile, crossing the creek 4 times, to a trail split at 2000 feet. Left is an ATV road/trail that follows Horse Creek and gains the AT/ridge near Big Rocks. Right/straight is the Sarvis Cove/Poplar Cove trail. Follow this another 0.8 mile, crossing a creek and passing a trail immediately on the left after crossing. Sarvis Cove trail is the second trail on the left, and there is a sign about 100 feet onto it that is broken. The Poplar Cove trail has a sign just past this junction, and this trail gains elevation at this point.

Follow the Sarvis Cove trail about 2 miles to the AT/ridge. The trail has several switchbacks which were somewhat overgrown, but we cleared the path so we could find our way back down without problems. Once on the AT, go left about 0.6 mile to the Big Rocks Overlook. We went up to the BM, but there was no view. Here I set my altimeter to 4840 since the BM elevation is 4838 feet. From here follow the AT a couple hundred yards north where it turns right onto an old road. Follow it down to a saddle at 4700 feet, then climb uphill on the AT until the ridge climbs above the trail to the left. Bushwhack to this ridge and follow it to the top of Gravel Knob. This is 0.6 mile from Big Rocks, making the total AT distance from Sarvis Cove trail 1.2 miles. There is a large spike in the summit rock where the BM used to be, and two survey triangles on small trees nearby. My altimeter showed 4850 feet when we arrived, and briefly switched to 4860.

The Horse Creek ATV trail crosses the AT and goes around a memorial to an AT hiker, then recrosses the AT, so we took this shortcut on the way back. We hiked back by Sarvis Cove, but if the weather had been threatening, we would have hiked down Horse Creek.

Total distance for both routes should be about the same, 11 miles round trip with 3210 feet of elevation gain.