Johnson County High Point Trip Report

Snake Mtn (5,518 ft)

Date: September 13, 2003
Author: Ken Oeser

The owners, Brent and Trisha Hall, request hikers to call before visiting, so please do to keep access open! I have their phone number if anyone needs it.

From Mountain City in Johnson county, TN, take US421/TN67 south for about 9 miles to the junction with TN67 east. From this junction, at Trade, TN, go south on US421 for 1 mile and turn left onto Meat Camp Road. Follow this road east for 0.85 mile and bear right, uphill and continue 2.5 miles to the gap between Snake Mountain on the left and Rich Mountain Bald on the right. Follow this road another couple of miles to a junction with a paved road and turn left. Go north to the crest of the highway, with Snake Mountain visible to the left. Park at the road outside the gate at the blacktop driveway, elevation 4500, and hike up the driveway to the house and let them know you are there.

Follow a farm track up from the end of the driveway and follow this uphill a couple hundred yards to a large field, going through a gate in the process. At the field angle uphill and slightly right, following the obvious field road. This curves up and through some trees, then back into the open, and ends at an old building that was likely an equipment building for a small radio tower that is no longer up. From here follow a trail to the summit of Snake Mountain at around elevation 5560, but completely in NC. Follow a very faint trail north along the ridge for 0.5 mile, crossing a saddle along the way before reaching the last 200 yards to the top of Johnson county. The trail is there, but is not obvious, obscured by blackberry plants, briars, and many small trees (many beech) growing along the ridge crest. Two sections of rock about 80 feet apart seem to be about the same height, and a railroad spike is in the northernmost high rock.

At the summit of both peaks there are great views of many surrounding mountains in the distance in TN, VA, and NC. Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain are visible to the north, The Peak, Grandfather Mountain, and Elk Horn Mountain are to the east, and Roan Mountain is visible to the south, along with many other mountains in every direction.

A little south of the saddle between the two peaks, we saw some bear scat, large and full of berries. This was a slight concern since we had no ice axe or hiking poles to defend ourselves with if necessary, but of course we never heard or saw a bear.

This route has about 1,100 feet of gain, but if allowed to park at the house it would only be about 850 feet. The owners don't mind people hiking, but want them to call first if at all possible; they just want to know who is on their property. They said not many people come by to hike now because they don't want to ask permission.