Scott County Highpoint Trip Report
Date: August 16, 2008
The area around this highpoint has seen a substantial increase in both coal and
oil and gas development recently but I was glad to see that the 2002 trip
descriptions are for the most part unchanged. From TN 116 at the National Coal
Prep Plant, drive up the steep gravel Fork Mountain Haul Road. The road is in
good shape to the tailings pond but beyond it is steeper and covered in loose,
coarse gravel. Pass side roads at 1.2 and 3.2 miles before crossing the head of
Indian Fork and climbing to a T junction with another well maintained gravel
road at 5.7 miles. To the right on this crest road it is 1.3 miles to the start
of a rough ATV trail that leads to the strip mined top of Burge Mountain.
The highest point on Burge looked to be on the west or south side of the mined area.
To the left of the T junction on the crest road it is 1.7 miles to Guinea Gap
where another well maintained gravel road enters from the south. Just slightly
west of the gap a lightly used ATV trail climbs north through the woods to a
point just slightly west of the high point of Walnut Knob. I could find no
marker for the highpoint here. Just slightly east of Guinea Gap an old trail
leads south to the abandoned tower site on Guinea Hill Knob. The two abandoned
towers at the summit have been cut down and the remains of one small building
still stand. The ATVs have not yet discovered this trail and it remains a far
more pleasant walk than Walnut or Burge. With the thick vegetation of high
summer I wasn’t able to tell which of Burge, Walnut or Guinea Hill Knob might be
For this trip I drove the steep section of the Fork Mountain Haul Road and then
parked on the large bench at 2600 feet and explored the area on my mountain bike.
My 2WD Toyota made the steep climb but a 4WD vehicle would do much better.
Most of the land in this area has been purchased by the State of Tennessee and
is managed as part of the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. The
mineral rights are still privately owned and there have been a lot of new gas
wells installed recently. The state’s Cumberland Trail will also pass through
the area, probably from Coffin Spring east along a route similar to that
described in the trip report from June 16, 2001. I saw two intersections of the
Cumberland Trail just west of Burge Mountain but wasn’t able to explore the trail.
Author: Hiram Rogers