Mountain Goat Trail

Tennessee

Mountain Goat Trail Facts

States: Tennessee
Counties: Franklin
Length: 4.7 miles
Trail end points: University Ave. (Sewanee) and W. Main St. (Monteagle)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017166
Trail activites: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Mountain Goat Trail Description

The Mountain Goat Trail now links Sewanee and Monteagle in Franklin County with a paved pathway stretching nearly five miles. The rail-trail will one day be 35 miles, extending father west to Cowan and farther east through Tracy City, Coalmont, Gruetli-Laager, and Palmer.

The route parallels busy Highway 41, providing a safer alternative between the towns for pedestrians and bicyclists. It offers a nice mix of both quiet wooded areas and connections to businesses where travelers can grab a drink or a bite to eat.

The trail follows the former Mountain Goat Railroad, dating back to 1856. The railroad was primarily used to move coal out of the Tennessee mountains, but, as the population grew, it also transported people. Eventually the Sewanee Mining Company rail (later to become CSX) fell into disuse by 1985. The nonprofit Mountain Goat Alliance was created to raise funds and develop the right-of-way rail corridor into a multi-use trail.



Parking and Trail Access

Park at the Legion Hall in St. Andrews and just south of US 14 off University Avenue at it's southern terminus in Sewanee.

Mountain Goat Trail Reviews

I took a guided wildflower walk along the newly-opened section of the trail. Parking is at Pearl's Restaurant near the Monteagle/Sewanee line. The well-marked spur trail from Pearl's is mostly level through a wet area, lots of pretty ferns and LOTS OF POISON IVY! A must to wear long pants if you are susceptible, and pack your bug spray. The main trail is almost completely flat, dirt over the old granite from the railbed, a very easy walk with wide variety of native plants and "newcomers."

I just rode the MGT (April 2011) and have submitted an updated detailed description to TrailLink.com

Briefly, first two miles are paved (St. Andrews to Sewanee). For ~1/2 mile through Sewannee it is difficult to follow thru a parking lot and the highway shoulder encroachment, but then it becomes recognizable single track. Be prepared for the next 1/2 mile. A creek overtakes the trail (10 feet wide, 2-10" deep). Creek then "departs" and for the next 5 miles, the trail is a steep downgrade, very rough, rocky, washouts, etc. But a gorgeous ride! About 2 miles from the Cowan end, the MGT parallels an active rail line for 1/2 mile , and then merges with it. The last 1.5 miles you ride on tennis ball sized ballast of the active line. That is why it is impossible to find the trailhead at the Cowan end!

If only funds were available for surface and drainage improvement and separation from the active rail line on the Cowan end, this would be a gem of a trail. I still had a fun, but challenging ride! [I'm 67 yrs old.]

"This is a great paved trail from St. Andrews to Sewanee through the hard work of several folks. No motor vehicles are on the paved part. The section between Sewanee and Cowan is a jeep trail, but it's a beautiful hike down to the bottom of the mountain. Efforts are underway to extend the trail from St. Andrews to Monteagle, TN."

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