“A great (but challenging) hike only thirty minutes from downtown Knoxville.”
— Max Willner
Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers
The House Mountain State Natural Area opens at dawn and closes at dusk.
A strenous hike with roughly an 18% gradient that grants hikers a beautiful view of several mountain ranges in the area.
The only drawbacks to this hike concerns erosion from hiking/trail running. Orange fences have been built to maintain the trails.
The state natural area is dog-friendly, although the trails are rather narrow and perhaps not ideal for two-way traffic with a dog.
Need to Know
This is a fairly strenuous hike with rocky outcrops that may prove difficult to traverse.
Directions: Take I-40 East to Rutledge Pike, exit 392, and turn right off the exit. In ten miles, turn left on Idumea Rd. Turn left on Hogskin Rd and the House Mountain State Natural Area will be on the right.
Beginning at the House Mountain State Natural Area parking lot, hikers will take West Overlook Trail
from the trail junction. In 0.8 miles, the trail will switchback to Crest Trail
, roughly 1.5 miles in length. Following the mountain ridge, hikers can take Crest Trail
to the West Overlook which provides a view of the Cumberland Mountains to the North and the Smokies to the South.
From there, Crest Trail
continues uphill until it dead-ends at the East Overlook. The East Overlook is considered the more spectacular view of the two, offering a view of the Clinch and Unaka Mountain Range. Hikers will proceed to backtrack from the East Overlook to the trail junction at Crest Trail
and Mountain Trail
. Follow Mountain Trail
back to the parking lot to conclude the hike!
Flora & Fauna
Hawks, grouse, woodpeckers, tanagers, turkeys, and many other birds.
History & Background
House Mountain, which consists of roughly 525 acres, was designated a state natural area in 1987.