56 Miles / 4000 Feet of Climbing
Tackle a tough two-mile climb riding up the Cumberland Plateau on this ride from Pikeville to beautiful Fall Creek Falls State Park!
Potential Route Modifications: This ride can be ridden as an out & back to Fall Creek Falls rather than a full loop. The out & back (reversing the direction of the loop to get to Fall Creek Falls the most direct way) is a total of roughly 35 miles and 3200 feet of climbing.
This ride is a challenging loop that includes a little bit of everything: beautiful Sequatchie Valley scenery, a tough climb out of the valley, farmland riding along the Cumberland Plateau, a visit to Fall Creek Falls State Park, and a fast winding descent back down into Pikeville. Unfortunately, it also has loose dogs, so keep your water bottle on the ready in case they want to do more than bark!
Park on Main Street in downtown Pikeville in front of the Bledsoe County Courthouse. (The courthouse has clean restrooms that are open to the public starting at 7:30 Central Standard Time.) Before rolling out, consider taking a look at Veterans Park (paying tribute to Bledsoe County veterans) which sits next door to the Courthouse. And just around the corner from the park is the farmers market pavilion, which is usually bustling with activity Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings during the growing season.
Pikeville was established in 1816 as the county seat of Bledsoe County and is believed to have been named for the early American explorer Zebulon Pike, for whom Pike’s Peak in Colorado was named. Because Highway 28 bypasses downtown, Main Street has been able to retain many historic buildings and has a small-town charm worth exploring.
If you’re into historic homes, ride a short distance down Main Street to the south and you’ll find some real gems, including the White Wagon Bed & Breakfast. Also check out the old 1850’s jail building a couple of blocks away at the intersection of Frazier Street and Cranwell Street. (It’s now the Bledose County Veterans Service Office.)
For more information about the history of Bledsoe County, click here.
The route takes you out of town heading east on Cumberland Avenue. On your left, just after passing the farmers market pavilion, is the historic Ross House, which used to be the town's hospital and now houses a medical museum. And on your right, just after crossing the Sequatchie River, is a church dating back to 1870 that once served as the Freedmen's Bureau school and church.
After passing the church, the road will turn up as you climb a small hill, guaranteed to wake up the legs! After the hill, Cumberland Avenue bends to the left and starts to head downhill. Check you speed and look for Old Dayton Road on the right. This road does not have a street sign, but it will clear that this is your turn as you make the bend on Cumberland Avenue.
Old Dayton Road is a nice little shaded road that offers beautiful views of the valley as you come out of the trees and head down to Highway 30. Keep an eye out for potholes and patches of rough pavement as the road surface is in poor condition.
When you reach Highway 30, go straight across and continue heading south on Wesley Chapel Road. Like Old Dayton, Wesley Chapel Road has some rough pavement. It also has some short but steep climbs. The bumpy road and climbing is well worth it, as the road offers some fantastic views of the valley!
Wesley Chapel Road will eventually take you to East Valley Road, where you’ll take a left. After the last few miles of rough pavement, the smooth asphalt of East Valley Road will be a welcome relief. The scenery along the road is also a treat!
After roughly four and a half miles on East Valley Road, you’ll take a right on College Station Cross Road (around Mile 10). Not only does this road take you to the other side of the valley, it also serves as a great warm-up for what lies ahead. While certainly not as long as the climb up the Cumberland Plateau, the climb on College Station Cross Road will definitely get your attention!
After crossing both new Highway 28 and Old Highway 28, College Station Cross Road becomes Brockdell Road and it starts to climb up the west wall of the valley. The climb is roughly two miles, and it’s not for the faint of heart as many sections have double-digit grades!
The grade finally lets up around Mile 15, and if you’re looking for a break after conquering the climb, you can stop at Brockdell Market (Mile 16) for refreshments and restrooms.
As you continue on Brockdell Road across the plateau, you’ll enter Amish country. Look for the distinctive clothing and occasional horse & buggy as you roll through this section of farmland. You may also want to stop at Brockdell Produce (Mile 25) for some fresh fruit.
Around Mile 26.5 you’ll take a right onto Walling Road. Walling Road winds around for a few miles before it “T’s” into Archie Rhinehart Parkway (Highway 284). The Parkway will most likely have more traffic than any of the roads you’ve ridden to this point, so stay to the right and be aware of passing vehicles. The Parkway will take you straight to Fall Creek Falls State Park, and the name will change to Village Camp Road after you enter the park. (Do not take the right turn to continue on Highway 284.)
Shortly after Mile 36, take a left towards the Visitors Center and Taft Village & Snack Bar. Here you’ll find plenty of refreshments and clean restrooms. You’ll also find a swimming pool and “canopy challenge” zipline course. After checking out the “village,” take a left onto Lakeside Road. This road will take you across a dam with a nice view of the lake. Just after crossing the dam, look for a bike path on the left. This path runs along the edge of the lake and over to the lodge. While the lodge is currently being replaced with a new facility, the path offers a peaceful cruise with some scenic views of the lake. (If you’re trying to trim your mileage, skipping this little out & back jaunt will save you about 3 miles.)
Return to Village Camp Road via Lakeside Road and take a left. This will put you on a winding road with some steep descents early on, so watch your speed heading downhill to ensure that you can negotiate the curves. Sadly what goes down must also go up, and you'll soon be faced with a long (and in places very steep) climb out of the park. The road will also change names to "Park Road." As this is one of the main roads in and out of the park, you may encounter a few vehicles.
Around Mile 43, you'll turn right onto Groves Road, and a few miles later, you'll turn right again, this time onto DeWeese Road. DeWeese Road soon changes names to Old Spencer Road. It's a beautiful road with some fun rollers typical of the terrain on the Cumberland Plateau.
(At Mile 47.5, you'll "T" into Watson Loop. Take a left and then a right in order to stay on Old Spencer Road.)
After several miles Old Spencer Road drops off the plateau and down into the valley. Treat this descent with care, as it has numerous switchbacks and some steep slopes. It is definitely not a descent to take chances on.
Once back on the valley floor, Old Spencer Road becomes Cleveland Avenue which takes you straight into Pikeville (after crossing Highway 28 at the Exxon station). Once you’re back downtown, treat yourself to good food and friendly service at the Starling Cafe. After all that climbing you will have certainly earned it!