In 1998, Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, in alliance with the Cumberland Trail Conference (CTC), adopted the Alley Ford segment of the Cumberland Trail. TCWP has sponsored annual trail maintenance events on this portion of the trail since then. The entire Cumberland Trail will eventually extend over 200 miles from near Chattanooga to Cumberland Gap. The Obed Segment, which is projected to be over 17 miles long when completed, is being developed in two portions, one starting at Nemo Bridge and the other at Devils Breakfast Table.
The 2.5 mile Alley Ford segment runs through the Obed Wild and Scenic River from Nemo Bridge to Alley Ford. The trail travels by a rock house and interesting rock formations and on top of a strip mine berm, a remnant of the coal mining industry in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The berm is composed of the material that was stripped off by big machinery to reach the coal.
The annual trail maintenance outings, generally held in February, include removing some logs and brush from along the trail and general trail maintenance (cleaning out water bars). We usually save enough time to hike up to Alley Ford to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Obed River.
This section can be reached from Wartburg on Catoosa Road to Nemo Bridge. Take I-40 Exit 347 and go north on Hwy 27 through Harriman. Continue 19 miles to Wartburg. Follow the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail and Obed Wild & Scenic River National Headquarters signs on Main Street. Turn left at Main and Maiden (right to visit the OWSR Headquarters) and continue 5.5 miles to the Nemo Picnic Area and River Access parking or cross Nemo Bridge and turn right to Rock Creek Campground and the Nemo Trailhead.