Old Stone Fort - Alternate Trails

Date Hiked: 04SEP11

Park: Old Stone Fort State Park

Address: 732 Stone Fort Drive, Manchester, TN 37355

Latitude: 35.48619, Longitude: -86.10209

Trail Ratings: Yellow (Forks) and Green (Moat) Trails - easy, Red (Backbone Ridge) Trail - Moderate, Garrison Road Loop Trail - Easy

Round-Trip Mileage: Wall Trail and Yellow Trail - 1.80 miles, Wall Trail and Yellow + Green Trails - 2.25 miles, Wall Trail and Yellow + Green + Red Trails - 3.35 miles Garrison Road Loop Trail - .80 miles

Other Trails in the Park

For Map, Trail Mileage, GPS, and Trail Notes go to Page 2

Pre-Hike Comments

See comments from Old Stone Fort - Wall Trail

The Hike

Directions: See Old Stone Fort - Wall Trail

The alternate trail junction is .80 miles from the trailhead on the Wall Trail.

Alternate trails sign

From the junction turn left and head downhill on an old road cut.

Forks Trail Junction

At .15 miles a junction (Forks Junction) is reached. To walk the alternate trails with the least overlapping, turn left at the fork and follow the green blazes to the Moat Trail.

Moat Junction

The Moat Trail (or Old River Channel) is an easy graded trail that follows between the Wall and the Backbone on a pleasant almost level path. From the (Forks) junction it is .05 miles to the next junction (Moat Junction) - Yellow and Red Trails go right, stay straight for the Moat Trail. The junction is well signed.

Little Duck River

From the Moat Junction it is .20 miles to the Little Duck River. It is a nice location, worth the walk. The trail is an out and back, return on the same trail to the junction - another .20 miles.

Back at the Moat Junction go left (following red and yellow blazes). In a short distance the Red Trail branches off to the left (Backbone Junction) and the yellow trail goes straight. Go left. This is the beginning of the Backbone Trail. The Backbone is a section of the Little River Loop Trail. It is rated as moderate.

Looking back at the Backbone climb

After a brief introduction the trail climbs steeply to the top of the ridge. In .10 miles the trail levels out.

The Backbone

Follow the ridge line with surprisingly steep drop off on either side. After .40 miles from the Backbone Junction, the trail begins to descend to the Little Duck River. There are several farm roads that crisscross the trail in the bottom land.

Directional post

Look sharply for the directional posts.

Trail near the river

The trail makes it's way downstream following the Little Duck. The trail is off set by a hundred feet or so from the river.

Difficu;t footing on the trail

After 1.10 miles from Backbone Junction, the trail finally drops next to the river bank. A poor trail traverses the section and then backs away from the water's edge. The junction (Little Duck River Loop Junction) with the Yellow Trail is .10 miles away. Go left on the Yellow Trail.

Meanwhile, the Red Trail may be avoided by following the Yellow blazes at the Backbone Junction. It is only .05 miles to the Little Duck River Loop Junction. Stay straight.

Forks of the rivers

From the Little River Loop Junction, the Forks of the River is a short distance away.

The Forks of the River is where the Little Duck and Duck rivers converge.

Duck River

The trail follows along the bank for a short distance before it begins a well graded climb for a little more than a tenth of a mile to return to the Forks Junction.

From Forks Junction, go left and uphill on the access trail for .15 miles to return to the Wall Trail (Little Stone Fort Trail).

From the Alternate Trail Junction it is .45 miles to return to the trailhead.

Garrison Road Loop

The Park also has a short, loop trail starting behind the Camper Check-In Station.

From the Park Entrance turn right at the first junction and follow signs to the campground. Cross the one lane bridge over the Duck River and continue uphill. the Camper Check-In Building is on the right.

Camper Check-In

From the Camper Check-In, go behind the building through the fence and to start of the Loop.

Fence behind the building

At the Garrison Road Loop sign, go right.

Directional Post

Follow the many wooden directional posts.

Bridge before Old Hwy 41

The trail goes east to near the Duck River then continues to a small wooden bridge and a left turn (.25 miles from the trailhead.)

Old Hwy 41

The trail climbs an easy grade on an old concrete roadbed. The road noise from Hwy 41 is loud at times.

Leaving the road

Leaving the old road, the trail climbs a short but steep grade to the top a knoll.

Bench atop the knoll

A bench is located along the trail at .45 mile.

wooden steps

The trail stays atop the knoll for a short distance and then descends by a series of wooden steps into a ravine. The trail goes right at the bottom of the steps and climbs gently for a short distance before leaving the gully.

Staying to the right of a drainage the trail continues easily to near the Campground Road. The trail then curves back and ends the loop behind the Camper Check-In.

The Garrison Road Loop was signed as .6 miles long. The GPS showed the trail to be .8 miles long.