29 Miles / 1400 Feet of Climbing
The perfect mix of interesting stops and gorgeous Sequatchie Valley scenery!
Potential Route Modifications: Shorten the route to around 20 miles by starting in downtown Dunlap and using Cherry Street to access Elm Street. Then follow the route until you reach Old York Highway (which is towards the end of the ride) which will take you straight back to downtown Dunlap.
This ride showcases some of the more interesting off-the-beaten-path attractions around Dunlap while also offering gorgeous views of the valley!
We recommend parking at the Cookie Jar Cafe as this will set you up for a great post-ride meal! Plus their parking lot offers one of the best views in the Valley overlooking the dairy farm that has been in the family for over 150 years! They also have a petting zoo if you'd like to experience the farm up close and personal. (If the restaurant isn't open when you arrive, you can find a bathroom behind the restaurant.)
After rolling down the driveway, take a right onto Kelly Cross Road from the Cookie Jar Cafe driveway, which will take you straight up a short climb followed by a nice downhill. Shortly before you hit the two-mile mark, you’ll take a right turn onto Old York Highway. Keep an eye out for this turn as it is easy to miss because the street sign is on the left-side of the road even though you’re making a right turn.
Old York Highway is a little bumpy but it’s a peaceful, relatively flat road with a nice pastoral view with the Cumberland Plateau in the distance. It eventually takes you across Highway 28 to a stop sign at Union Gap Road. Take a left onto Union Gap Road and follow it as it bends to the left and gives you a good workout on a roller coaster of short punchy hills and descents!
Around the five and a half mile mark, look for Tram Trail on your right. (Union Gap Road bends sharply to the left just before you see Tram Trail.) Tram Trail immediately takes you to Highway 111, where you’ll cautiously go straight across and continue as Tram Trail climbs up to Fredonia Road. Gear down for this climb, as it is steep and will require some effort!
Thankfully when you reach Fredonia Road you’ll turn left and head downhill. Watch your speed as you make the descent and be on the lookout for Davis Road, which will be on your right about a half mile after turning onto Fredonia. The turn onto Davis Road is a sharp right, almost completely bending back on itself, so be sure to take it at a slow speed and be aware of any oncoming vehicles.
From here, it’s an easy ride through the neighborhood up to the Dunlap Coke Oven Museum, which is housed in a replica of the original coal company commissary located on the exact site of the original. Inside the museum you’ll find the largest collection of regional historic coal mining photography in the state of Tennessee, in addition to hundreds of donated coal mining artifacts. Perhaps even more interesting than what’s inside the museum are the coke ovens that surround it. Lined up in five batteries outside the museum are 268 “beehive” ovens that operated until the early 1920’s. While once a hotbed of activity, they now sit in silence like ancient ruins in the mossy forest, which makes them ideal for a photo stop!
You’ll also notice a stage and grassy amphitheater near one of the rows of ovens. This stage takes life the first weekend in June at the annual bluegrass festival, a tradition dating back over 30 years.
After taking in the Coke Ovens, you’ll roll back down Mountain View Road to Elm Street, where you’ll take a right. After a mile and a half, Elm Street “T’s” into Cordell Lane, and you’ll take a left. Follow Cordell Lane down the hill all the way to Highway 28. On your left you’ll see the Sequatchie County Veterans Memorial Park, which pays tribute to veterans from the American Revolution all the way through Operation Enduring Freedom. While the focus of the park is on the wall listing the names of Sequatchie County veterans, the more eye-catching features are the Vietnam-era fighter jet and helicopter flanking the wall.
From here, the route heads south along West Valley Road which is a relatively flat road with some good views of the Cumberland Plateau off to the right. About three and a half miles after leaving Veterans Memorial Park, you’ll turn left on Green Road which immediately takes you to Highway 28. After crossing straight across Highway 28, the road changes names to Stone Cave Road. (The map shows it as Stone Cave Road on both sides of Highway 28, but the street sign labels it as “Green” on the west side of Highway 28.)
Less than half a mile after crossing Highway 28, you’ll see a sign at a gravel driveway on the left side of the road for Clark’s Bakery. Before heading to the bakery, take a moment on the other side of the road directly across from the driveway at a crystal clear spring bubbling out of the ground right next to the road. While not verified, some locals claim the water is pure enough to drink straight from the spring!
If you’re hesitant to fill up your water bottles at the spring, head down the gravel driveway and follow the signs to the little store at Clark’s Bakery. Not only do they have a surprisingly good selection of drink options, they also have some amazing cookies and other baked goods, all of which use whole grains and simple ingredients. In fact, the bakery started in the founders’ kitchen because they wanted healthier bread than what was offered in the local supermarket. They quickly outgrew the kitchen and now sell all-natural products on a beautiful farm in the heart of Sequatchie Valley. Grab a drink and a cookie and soak up the peaceful atmosphere at the picnic table outside the store. (While not marked, they do have a restroom. Just ask the cashier and she’ll show you where it is.)
After a restorative break at the bakery, continue on Stone Cave Road until you reach East Valley Road, crossing over the Sequatchie River along the way. East Valley Road is the road home, and it’s a great finish with smooth pavement, a few rollers and plenty of gorgeous views of the valley.
A couple of miles after turning left onto East Valley Road, you'll pass by Chapel Hill Cemetery. In addition to the historic significance and panoramic view at this location, the cemetery is also your cue to start looking for the upcoming turn on your right. There's no street sign here, but it will be obvious as it comes immediately after the cemetery and takes you directly to Hwy 127.
Proceed with caution across Hwy 127 and onto Kell Loop, which will involve some climbing but will also reward you with sweeping views of the Valley off to your left. Kell Loop works it way through some farms and then returns you to East Valley Road where you'll take a right and continue north.
Eventually East Valley Road will pass under Highway 111, which is your cue to pay attention. The next left after passing under Highway 111 is Old Mill Road, a fantastic old farm road. Old Mill Road winds around and ends up right across from the driveway of the Cookie Jar Cafe where your post-ride feast awaits!