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John Noel Trail

Intermediate
 5.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A sweet 1-mile loop among old enormous growth trees, sinkholes, and abundant wildflowers in season.


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Map Key

1.0

Miles

1.6

KM

Out and Back

921' 281 m

High

841' 256 m

Low

124' 38 m

Up

124' 38 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly This is a short trail with few hills and makes a wonderful family hiking experience.

Stay on the trail! This should go without saying, but the Springs Hollow is private property, and they do not appreciate hikers wandering. Keep this trail open and follow the rules please!

Overview

Overlooking a historic site and containing abundant wildflowers from March through May, this is a genuine diamond in the rough. The enormous trees are worth the visit in themselves but it's in the spring when this place really shines. Bring a camera!

Need to Know

Johnny Cash's old "Hideaway Farm" is just up the road and is worth a visit. Also, the Beacon Light Tea Room, perhaps ten minutes east on Highway 100, has some of the best biscuits and country ham you're liable to find. Enjoy!

Description

A gently rolling path that wanders through old growth forest and past several spectacularly large trees, edging sinkholes tracing a lengthy cave that lies beneath. Along the northern portion, the trail runs along the Spring Creek valley and past the old Bon Aqua Springs Resort property; depending on the weather your nose might catch a whiff of the sulfur spring which used to be the "cure" for thousands of visitors in the early 20th century. The old swimming pool is still very much in evidence, but please don't visit it as it is on private property.

Flora & Fauna

A wonderful trail to hike any time of year, John Noel shines during the spring when it is bedecked with Mayapple, Trillium, Trout Lily, purple Phlox, and bright orange Celandine. Closer inspection will also reveal Spotted Wintergreen and Crane Fly Orchids. Terrapin have been seen on the trail, along with many deer and wild turkeys.

History & Background

The Bon Aqua Springs Resort was once a destination for thousands. My father used to clean their (spring-fed!) swimming pool! Check out this website for more information.

Contacts

Land Manager: Tennessee State Parks

Shared By:

Jim Reyome

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#1558

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  5.0 from 1 vote
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Photos

This is just one of hundreds of trout lilies we saw on the John Noel Trail.
Jul 5, 2017 near Bon Aqu…, TN
These celandines grow in one place at John Noel, and only for a brief time each year.
Jul 5, 2017 near Bon Aqu…, TN
Some nice purple Phlox flourishes along the John Noel Trail.
Jul 5, 2017 near Bon Aqu…, TN
A showy purple trillium grows along the John Noel Trail.
Jul 5, 2017 near Bon Aqu…, TN
My son and I pose at the John Noel Trail parking area.
Jul 5, 2017 near Bon Aqu…, TN
There are spring beauties...and then there are spring beauties.
Jul 5, 2017 near Bon Aqu…, TN

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Check-Ins

Apr 21, 2019
Jim Reyome
Earth Day. What a great time to be at John Noel! Lots of mayapple, trilliums, celandine and phlox. Fun as always! 1mi — 1h 00m
Mar 20, 2019
Jim Reyome
Not much blooming yet but judging from the greenery the Trout Lilies will be awesome and there will be no shortage of trilliums. Another few days... 1mi
Mar 28, 2017
Jim Reyome
John Noel is always wonderful, but on this trip the Trout Lilies were really blooming like mad. Wow! 1.1mi — 0h 40m