Starting from Piney Inlet, cross FS 230 and look for the red blazes as you cross the road (taking the yellow blazes will lead you south instead). You'll be hiking by the margins of Fort Henry Branch, which has its own interest in season. This trail takes you past remains of many old home sites, at least three old family cemetery plots, and during the early summer or winter, some flowing springs.
Begin the gradual ascent to the top of the ridge. At about a mile in you'll see the Pickett Connector
to your left that can lead you to Pickett Loop Trail
. Continuing on, about a mile and a half in you'll see the Artillery Trail
on your right. You can use this trail to make a loop by connecting to Piney Trail
then Volunteer Trail
. At about 2 miles in, you drop down into Buckman's Hollow, and shortly after, the Devil's Backbone Trail
is on the right.
Another half mile down the trail and you'll be on pavement until you cross Panther Creek. Soon after, you'll drop back to the singletrack you have come to expect. Panther Creek is a good place to rest, as the next half mile or so is a nice uphill slog. Once you pass Tennessee Ridge Trail
, you only have one more big uphill to go, so take comfort! Make sure you don't veer off on the Fort Henry N/S Trail Connector
—stay straight and continue on just past Peytona Trail
. Climb the ridge that overlooks Bear Creek and you are home free!