This route is great if you don't have a lot of time, but still want to get in some great views and just a bit of scrambling. In the first couple of miles, you'll be rewarded with views across the Holston Valley to Holston Mountain in Cherokee National Forest, as well as being able to look down on the lake that is central to the park. On the western side of the lake, is a small stream feeding into a small cove and providing the opportunity to do some rock-hopping. Well marked trails and great singletrack make this route perfect for a quick jaunt through nature, while being very convenient to Bristol and just a couple of miles off of I-81 if you need to break up a road trip!
This route starts at Broad Street parking lot along paved Mark Vance Trail
. Turn Left across bridge and immediately turn Left again up Quarry Cave Trail
(oval pink blazes). Turn Right onto Rock Cut Trail
(oval yellow blazes) to begin first major ascent of the route. At summit, go slight Left along East Ridge Loop (oval green blazes) Enjoy a very easy to navigate section that rolls along the ridge. There is a long, gradual ascent toward the end of East Ridge Trail
At the summit, turn Left onto Fox Ridge Trail
(oval red blazes) for another good section of mellow trails that roll along the ridges. The final section of the trail contains some steep descents, particularly the last 1/8 mile or so that may require some scrambling to get down to Lake Side Trail. Turn Left on Lake Side Trail and follow to the terminus at Rooster Front Park. Turn right Cross the creek on the foot bridge at Rooster Front Park, and take Lake Ridge Trail
(square orange blazes). Lake Ridge starts with a short ascent before dropping back to the lake level and then begins a long and at times steep ascent to the top of the ridge. After descending from the ridge, turn Right onto Hemlock Hollow Trail
(triangle purple blazes) and follow to the gazebo on the lake, then cross the lake on the berm to the nature center. From the nature center, follow the park road north-east and take bridge across Steele Creek followed by immediate left across another bridge then turn right onto paved Mark Vance Trail
to return to Broad Street Parking Log.