BLACK MOUNTAIN

The Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park

Black Mountain Recreation Area on the Cumberland Trail is a 518-acre tract of high bluffs, wildflowers, and historic ruins in Cumberland County, just south of I-40 near Crossville in the small community of Crab Orchard. It is considered the midpoint of what will become the Cumberland Trail, which is currently managed by Tennessee State Parks as a part of The Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail State Park. This scenic hiking trail became Tennessee’s 53rd state park in 1998, and it is the state's first linear park, cutting through 11 different counties.

 

Once completed, the Cumberland Trail will extend 282 miles from Cumberland Gap, on the Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky border to the Tennessee River gorge, on the Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia border.

 

Black Mountain contains several species of rare native plants and marks the southernmost location of several northern species. Hikers can enjoy the easily accessible trails and parking lot near the mountain, or they can opt for a longer route along the renowned Cumberland Trail. Rock climbers can scramble along the bluffs or scale sheer rock faces on top rope routes for a more challenging climb. Note: Be sure to bring at least 50 feet of webbing for the higher climbs!


Our Conservation Story
The effort to protect Black Mountain began in 1890 with Dr. A.C. and Ella Eaton Gill, who purchased the 518-acre property as a place for a summer home at a time when it was only accessible by mule or on foot. After Dr. Gill—a professor at Cornell University—passed away, his wife, Ella, gave the property to the Cumberland Mountain School. The deed stated that this mountain was intended as a wildlife preserve and as a place of study, meditation, recreation, work, and worship. 

 

The Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (TNUMC) became the eventual property owners, and they kept the Gills’ wishes for almost 70 years by allowing the public to use the site for worship and play. Then, during TennGreen's campaign for Black Mountain, TNUMC donated more than half of the value of the property to the campaign. 

 

In 2002, TennGreen purchased Black Mountain, which represents several compelling conservation interests. The scenic views from atop the sandstone bluffs encompass a lush grassy cove, and in the evenings a purple haze hovers over the Great Smoky Mountains, which linger a mere 75 miles in the distance. A natural Tennessee garden displays threatened plant species such as the Flame Azalea and the Pip Sissy Wa, which cling to life on the wind-swept bluffs. Additionally, it provides an important connection to the Cumberland Trail and exemplifies TennGreen's commitment to connect large natural areas for wildlife corridors, critical habitat, and public benefit (e.g., recreation). 

Directions

3004 Owl Roost Rd
Crossville‎, TN‎ 38555

Lat: 35.884222, Long: -84.886772

 

Travel East 1-40 to the Crab Orchard Exit 329. Follow Bat Town Road south up to a four-way intersection. Take the immediate left at the Cumberland Trail State Park sign and proceed 3 miles up the narrow and steep paved Black Mountain Road to a the paved trailhead parking area on the right. Parking is ample and the ADA connector trail begins on the west side of the parking area. Follow the paved connector trail 700 feet and it connects to the Cumberland Trail just 150 feet west.