Hiking Trails: Obed Wild & Scenic River

Near: Wartburg, TN (Knoxville/Oak Ridge area)

Trails: There are multiple trailheads; I’ve been to the Lilly Bridge and Nemo trailheads. The Lilly Bridge area leads to a rock climbing area and an overlook; they seem to have more traffic. Other trails were more secluded.

Trails I have hiked are:

  • Bridge Trail (0.5 miles): Connects the Lilly Bridge trailhead to the Overlook trail, and leads to the rock climbing area. Several smaller waterfalls are accessible if you venture a little off the trail.
  • Overlook Trail (0.3 miles): Leads to the Lilly Bluff overlook. At the overlook, the trail ends in a boardwalk with seating. Seems to be more trafficked than the other Lilly Bridge trails.
  • Point Trail (3.8 mile round trip): Leads you up and along a ridge that follows the river. Lots of scenic overlooks along this trail; probably my favorite trail that I’ve hiked at Obed.
  • Boulder Field Trail (0.4 mile round trip): As the name implies, ends at a field full of large, interesting rock formations. You don’t necessarily have to be a rock climber to appreciate it.
  • Emory River Nature Trail (1.0 mile): A short loop off the Rock Creek Campground near Nemo Bridge. Connects to the Cumberland Trail. When I hiked it, this seemed more trafficked than the other Nemo trails.
  • Cumberland Trail – Emory River Gorge Section (2.6 mile round trip): Leads up to the top of the gorge and along the river, with some scenic views along the way.

Trailheads:

  • Lilly Bridge Trailhead: Access to Overlook, Point, Bridge, and Boulder Field Trails. There are two parking areas: one at the bridge itself (connecting to the Bridge Trail), and one further up the road (connecting to the Overlook and Boulder Field Trails).
  • Nemo Bridge Trailhead: Access to the Emory River Gorge section of the Cumberland Trail. Also has a short trail to some larger river rapids.
  • Rock Creek Campground: Across the bridge from the Nemo Bridge trailhead. Access to the nature loop and the Cumberland Trail.

More information: https://www.nps.gov/obed/index.htm

Maps are available at the Obed River information center in downtown Wartburg.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dylan_wolf/sets/72157677223454224