Mullens Cove Loop Prentice Cooper State Forest, TN
miles
LENGTH 9.3 MILES
DIFFICULTY 13.9 Medium
DURATION 4-6 hours
ELEVATION GAIN
1780
feet
TRAIL TYPE
Loop
Mullens Cove Loop

Large rock formations, epic views of the Tennessee River Gorge, and too many creek crossings to count await you on this longer loop hike in Prentice Cooper State Forest. A hop, skip, and jump from downtown Chattanooga, Mullens Cove Loop travels along the in-progress Cumberland Trail for a feature rich hike in any season. Shorter hiking options to Snooper's Rock and Indian Rockhouse are available for those that want a taste of it's beauty without too much effort.

If you want to save the best stuff for the back half of this loop, head around counter-clockwise. I chose to go around clockwise and this description reflects as such. Begin by crossing Tower Drive that you drove in on, heading gently downhill. Squeeze through Stone Door, a tight staircase leading down between a crack in the rocks. Arrive at the base of Indian Rockhouse, a large rock overhang and the intersection with the Cumberland Trail.

Turn right along the Cumberland Trail, heading south. You'll make a few short steep ascents, but nothing too strenuous. Several points along the way will grant winter views of the Tennessee River, but will completely disappear in summer. Other than a minor split and immediate rejoin, the trail has no intersections until you arrive a Snooper's Rock.

At 3.1 miles the trail comes to a t-intersection. If you look to the left you'll see Snooper's Rock overlook. With vast views of the Tennessee River Gorge, Snooper's Rock is one of the best views in the area. Be warned, however, there is a much shorter hike from the Snooper's Rock trailhead making this a popular overlook on nice weekends.

Turn around, passing the previous intersection until you come to a small OHV parking lot. Head around to the left, then stay to the right of a couple trails branching to the left at the intersection with the Pot Point Loop at the sign for Natural Bridge. At 3.4 miles you'll arrive at the Snooper's Rock parking lot. Continue over Tower Drive.

At mile 4, pass the opposite signed intersection with Pot Point Loop, heading down alongside Hemlock Branch. When you see the directional sign on the left, immediately turn right, crossing the creek and walking through the Hemlock Branch campsite. A tenth of a mile later you'll connect to a wider path then make a sharp right. There's a not so obvious sign on the left pointing right.

AT 4.3 miles you'll come to a short side trail for Mullens Cove Overlook and another overlook view at 4.5, which I thought was slightly better, but both are limited by trees. At 6.4 miles you'll come to Haley Road. Either direction on this loop, you'll make a right, walk a tenth of a mile, then leave the road to your left.

At 8.1 miles you'll travel over several boulder fields. Keep your head up looking for blazes along this section as the trail disappears in the rocks. Part of this is along the beautiful Short Creek, lined with mossy rocks and small waterfalls. Leave the creek, crossing another dirt road before arriving back at the trailhead parking lot near the opposite end.

Read More

Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Slope Breakdown
Elevation Gain
Elevation Range
Grade Range
Length
Elevation Gain
0 - 250 ft/mi
~ 0 - 5 %
2.2 mi
230 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
1.1 mi
383 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.7 mi
408 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
0.6 mi
483 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
0.3 mi
388 ft
Elevation Loss
Elevation Range
Grade Range
Length
Elevation Loss
0 - 250 ft/mi
~ 0 - 5 %
1.7 mi
249 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
1.5 mi
520 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.8 mi
472 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
0.4 mi
323 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
0.3 mi
329 ft
Terrain Map Click to control map
Details
length9.3 miles
difficulty13.9 Medium
duration4 - 6 hours
trail typeLoop
blazeWhite
elevation gain1780 ft.
state Tennessee 
park/forestPrentice Cooper State Forest
visitor infoState Forest Information
423-658-5551
hoursSunrise - Sunset
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 35.132707, -85.419153 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°7.96, W 85°25.15 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°7'58'', N 35°7'58'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
35.132707, -85.419153 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°7.96, W 85°25.15 most GPS units use this one
N 35°7'58'', N 35°7'58'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
Tower Drive / Game Reserve Rd is a gravel road but fine for all vehicles. The parking lot is on the right.
Parking Capacity
18-20 parking spots with overflow along road.
Notes
Winter adds several views and many small waterfalls along the creek crossings would be less visible in summer as well.
Many creek crossings. If it's rained recently, the water will be flowing over the rocks used to cross. Otherwise, mostly easy crossings. The one real exception is when crossing next to the Hemlock Branch campsite. The best crossing was along an angled rock with a narrow footpath. Go slow and you'll be fine.
Nearby Hikes
Similar Hikes
Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
5 (1)
hikethesouth-2 months ago
Feature Rich Long Loop
This is an excellent loop in either direction. With large rock formations like Stone Door and Indian Rockhouse and great views from Snooper's Rock and Mullens Cove Overlook, this hike has plenty to offer. What I wasn't expecting was the numerous creek crossings. It had rained a lot the past week and many of the creeks had small waterfalls. I'd say half this hike was within earshot of rushing water. Short creek was very beautiful. Surrounded by boulder fields, mossy rocks and tumbling waters finished out this hike with a tranquil vibe.
Medium | Hiked Winter 2019
New Comment
Username   
Email
Email will only be used to send a verification link for first time use with this username and to authenticate the username for further reviews/comments.
Comments   2000
New Review
Username
Email
Email will only be used to send a verification link for first time use with this username and to authenticate the username for further reviews/comments.
Rating
Difficulty
Last Hiked
Review Title
Review   2000