Rogers Ridge (Mar 24, 2016)

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rogers_ridge_coverConditions: Day Hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Grayson, NC
Area: Laurel Bloomery, TN
Reference: n/a
Stats: 6.39mi, 1287' gain (round trip)

The drive to the trailhead was much longer today...10 minutes! I left my parents place and headed north on 91, then a turn onto Gentry Creek Road. Gentry Creek Rd is a 2 lane paved road that narrows to 1 lane (with pull-offs) and then turns to gravel. Just beyond the transition to gravel found one of the two trailheads that access Rogers Ridge (elevation 2700'). I had been thinking of heading to the upper one but parked at the lower one on the left side of the road. I was the only car, no surprise, as it was mid-week.

I packed the few things up I had, set my gps, and then...found I had to cross a minor creek, Gentry Creek. It was nothing serious...just a bit of rock hopping made easier with my set of trekking poles...then up the trail I headed. Just like yesterday this trail seemed more a road and less a trail. The trail followed the contours of the land not making too much elevation gain at first. At about 1mi (3200') the trail finally seemed to be headed uphill. At about 1.5mi (3282') I reached a sharp turn in the trail/road which is where the map shows the trail from the upper trailhead joining up with the lower trail. I didn't see any evidence of it though. From this point the trail was finally on the ridge and the next 1/2 mile was likely the steepest section of trail I'd find today, gaining about 300' in that 1/2 mile.

The trail continued to follow the ridge with wide open views to the east and west through the leafless trees. Up on the ridge there were lots of green laurels and rhodies lining the trail. Those likely wouldn't be blooming until sometime in June. Today...just the green foliage of the rhodies and flowers were out yet.

At about 2.9 miles was the junctions of the trail that comes up from the west side of the ridge (Hawkins Road). I continued on a bit further to a nice spot nestled in the greens of the a patch of laurels at about 3.3 miles (3911'). I didn't want to be gone all day so this would be my turn around spot. The trail does continue on another 1.5+ miles and then turns back south towards Gentry Creek (about 2.5mi from where I stopped up on the ridge). This could make a nice loop (which looks like it would be about 9+ miles for the loop).

From my turnaround spot high on the ridge I stopped to have a snack and enjoy the solitude before heading back down. One the way down I looked pretty hard for the trail junction at that sharp turn in the road. I just couldn't see it likely because my eyes aren't used to the look of trails in unfamiliar forest. When I got down a bit lower on my trail, about 1/4 mile from the sharp turn in the road, I looked back through the trees and could clearly see the other trail heading over to the upper trailhead.

Notes: Nice trail. Well maintained. This trail is has fewer ups and downs that the section of the Iron Mtn trail I hiked yesterday. There is NO water once up on the ridge.

2/23/2016: Iron Mountain
3/26/2016: Appalachian Trail to Iron Mountain Loop
Rogers Ridge Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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