Mountain Goat Trail


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Mountain Goat Trail Facts

States: Tennessee
Counties: Franklin
Length: 7.5 miles
Trail end points: University Ave. (Sewanee) to W. Main St. (Monteagle) and Main St. to Ingman Rd. (Tracy City)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017166
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Mountain Goat Trail Description

Two segments of the Mountain Goat Trail are complete. The first links Sewanee and Monteagle in Franklin County with a paved pathway stretching nearly five miles. 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 Tracy City segment runs from Main Street, along Railroad Avenue and heads west for 2.8 miles. Like the Sewanee-Monteagle segment, it also threads through wooded settings and past town homes and businesses.  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 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.

In Tracy City, you can park at the lot on the corner of Depot St. and Laurel St. 

Mountain Goat Trail Reviews

Great short trail between Chattanooga and Nashville. We parked across from the DG in Monteagle. The first section is a bit “zig-zaggy” but the remaining section is very nicely shaded. At the Sewanee trailhead, we crossed the highway and spent some time/miles exploring the majestic University of the South campus. Upon returning, we lunched at the market named after the trail for some awesome post ride sandwiches; you can bike to it and beyond. I can’t wait to re-ride when the connections to Cowan & Tracy City are completed!

MGT is my home trail and I’m biased. I want you to visit. If you are traveling I-24 past Monteagle, drop in and enjoy the Goat. Presently, the trail runs on the old Mountain Goat line from Sewanee to near Marion County line. It crosses the highway and runs parallel to it into Monteagle (4.7 miles.) we really enjoy the nostalgia of riding the old line. You can picture the coal train lumbering across the forested ridge line. We ride a slight incline from Sewanee to Monteagle and then coast back. I give this trail 4 Stars for two reasons: road crossings and maintenance. Nothing to do about the road crossing but be aware of them. The trail is old enough to have a few root problems affecting the asphalt. Mowing lacks a clear consistent plan. Still it’s 2/3’rds shady and quite enjoyable. A new section from Monteagle to Tracy City is presently under construction. Soon the MGT will be a destination trail.

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

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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