Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Carden's Bluff Trail

A couple of weeks ago I described the short, looped trail along Watauga Lake named the Watauga Point Trail. The Carden's Bluff Trail is similar, in that it's short (0.7 mi) and easy and follows along the lake, giving stunning views of the lake and the mountains beyond.  (Map Here). It's located in the Carden's Bluff Campground, so now would be the ideal time to experience this short trail. Once the campers have moved in the summer (campground opens April 15), the trail would be less than ideal to visit, for two reasons: first, the path often comes very close the the campsites, and second, the Carden's Bluff Recreation Area is not intended for day use hiking -- just for camping (it's mostly just tent sites). But it's a beautiful area, and whether you take the trail or just stroll through the campground past the gated entry on the road, you're in store for some terrific views. I recommend going late in the day before sunset, as the views over the lake at sunset are gorgeous.

A word about the trail itself. It's not a well-traveled trail. Although marked, you might encounter some large, fallen branches and experience some uneven footing. It's not especially well designed, at times it slopes so much toward the lake, that you really have to watch your footing. But having said that, the views on the west side of the peninsula are the best views to be had of Watauga Lake and those who camp there in the summer must absolutely love it. For information on the campground, click here.

Update 11/15: Seems parts of the trail have been closed due to erosion (mostly on the east side of the peninsula). It is still accessible in places and I'd still recommend that you explore Cardens Bluff! Click map below to enlarge:

Directions: From Hampton, TN, turn north onto Route 321/67 (heading toward Mountain City, TN) and travel 4.1 miles to Carden's Bluff, which will be on your left. After parking at the gate, walk into the campground, soon the road forks, stay right and continue walking until you get the the well-marked trailhead on your right.

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