Iron Gap Road Scouting Trip

by Mike


Places to Ride in Tennessee

We read on a few internet forums about a road called Iron Gap road. We finally found it on the map and saw it was between Cowan and Winchester. There are a lot of interesting things to see in that area so we thought we would make a scouting run before loading up the Jeep on the trailer and making a full scale assault.

We got to Iron Gap by taking the road through Cowan and then taking the new 64 bypass just outside of Winchester. We then took HWY 16 due south to the top of the mountain.

Just at the top there is a fire tower visible. We turned there and hit Iron Gap road beside the Keith Springs Community Center. We saw some trailers parked there so our plan is to park ours there when we return.

The road starts out paved. But just before you get to a nice farm house, the road veers right and becomes unpaved. There is evidence of an old gate here. The trail starts out as a nice unpaved road with a few shallow mud holes. Janice drove her stock XJ while Jennifer navigated. I sat in the back.

The road followed the ridge for about three miles. Then as it started down the mountain, it stared to get a bit rockier. I got out a spotted Janice as she drove over some of the smaller rocks. As we neared the valley floor, the rocks got bigger and the hill got steeper. After walking a particularly tricky section, I decide that we should turn around. If we had had another Jeep with us or some recovery gear I might have tried it, but it looked too risky to try coming back up alone.

Janice was tired from the drive over and the bumpy ride in so I turned her Jeep around and headed back up the hill. We posed for a few pictures on the small stair case climbs. It definitely looks like a place we will have to return to with the off road Jeeps.

Back on the pavement, I had hoped to return to Cowan via the Turnpike road. We found what I think was the road, but it was marked private by a hunting club. So, we elected not to risk it and headed back to Cowan the way we came.

We stopped for a quick tour for the train Museum and to check out the old cars in the Texaco across the street. We then headed up the mountain to climb the overlook rock near Sewanee just at sunset. Since Jennifer had never seen the campus at University of the South, we made a small detour through the campus. She did not see much in the dark however; just enough to want to come back.

UPDATE: Return to Iron Gap


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