~ 1.6 mile

~ 524 ft

Erwin, TN

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If you are looking for a short hike with incredible views in East Tennessee, this is a great option. Nolichucky Ridge Cliff is part of the Appalachian Trail in Erwin, TN. The trail head is right across the street from the Nolichucky Hostel and Uncle Johnny’s Cabins and Camping.

There is a small cleared area to park near the trail head that only has room for a few cars. We only saw one other car when we were there, so parking in this spot was no problem.

The trail head has a white Appalachian Trail blaze on a tree, but otherwise it is unmarked.

The trail is uphill all the way to the look out with multiple switchbacks along the way. We felt that the switchbacks made the trail go by more quickly. We had the boys count the switchbacks to give them an idea of how much further we had to go. Sometimes when the boys are struggling with distance, we either let them peak at the trail map, (we use the “All Trails” app), or find landmarks like the switchbacks. This gives them something concrete for how far we have to go instead of us continually saying, “Almost there! A little bit further!” Those answers usually satisfy them zero percent.

Thankfully, since it is only .8 miles, the incline goes by relatively quickly and the view at the top is more than worth it!

There are a few areas where people have built camp fires at the top. If you go just past that you will have a completely clear view of the Nolichucky River and the railroad below. We didn’t get to see a train go by, but we saw a rail car and that was almost as exciting for the boys!

We did this hike on a clear December day and only saw 1 other couple the whole time along the trail. Since this is our first time on this trail, I’m not sure how busy this section gets in the spring, summer, or fall. We can’t wait to check it out through the seasons. It would be a gorgeous one to do in the snow!

***3 weeks later***

It snowed!!

We were so excited to have a clear snowy East Tennessee Day to come back to Nolichuckey Ridge Cliffs. This was my first time hiking in the snow and I just loved it. The trail was quiet with only 1 other group of people that we passed the whole time we were there

There is something so peaceful about being in the woods in the snow. The sun was glistening just right through the trees, making it feel like a snowy wonderland.

D filled his Yeti tumbler with hot chocolate before we left. It was still piping hot at the top. This made the perfect wintery surprise for the boys. It quickly became my new favorite winter hike treat. 

I hope this isn’t our last snow filled hike of the year. You never know what East TN weather will do. I do know that when it snows, we are going to try to make it a point to venture into the woods. 

“Encouraging a child to go outside in all weather builds resilience, but more importantly it saves them from spending their life merely tolerating the “bad” days in favor of a handful of “good ones- a life of endless expectations and conditions where happiness hinges on sunshine.” ~Nicolette Sowder

I adore this quote. It has inspired me to get the boys out on days when we would have previously stayed indoors. Now we are embracing winter weather as much as summer, the only difference is we bundle up!


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