View – the hike climbs to a ridge that has 180 degree views into a pastoral valley that features numerous small mountains and ranges.
Hike Profile – the hike is a loop hike that takes place in the Rough Creek Watershed area. It starts on a logging road at the entrance trailhead and connects to the Cherry Cove trail. This trail has a moderate steady climb to a watershed boundary road. There are numerous view spots on this road that look down into the valley. At the end of the Cherry Cove trail it intersects another watershed boundary road and then returns to the trailhead via a logging road.
Trail Surface – the logging and boundary roads have relatively smooth dirt surfaces with some loose rocks. The Cherry Cove trail is generally dry with a comfortable surface although there may be places with exposed rocks.
Environment – the hike is mostly in a forest area with light underbrush or along a road bordering on meadow lands. The Cherry Cove trail goes through an extensive area of high thorny bushes with tall grasses that can make following the trail awkward. This area is located right near the boundary road with the view spots. We recommend that you wear long pants and consider hiking in the winter or early spring before the bushes get tall.
Navigation – you will need the trail map for this hike. The Cherry Cove trail is marked with a wand but the logging roads are not and there are several forks and intersections with other logging roads. From the trailhead, follow the logging road 0.9 miles until the first intersection. Take a left at this point and go 0.6 miles until the road forks. Take a right and follow that road 1.2 miles until you see the Cherry Cove trailhead on the left.
The Cherry Cove trail will climb to the NW boundary road and continue on the perimeter road for a short distance. As you approach the perimeter road, the trail goes through a nasty thorny thicket were the trail may not be easy to follow. Just bear slightly left and keep climbing up to the top of the ridge to get to the road. The best views are from the perimeter road.
After the view spots, the Cherry Cove trail leaves the boundary road and descends into the watershed. There is a small rocky view spot early in the descent. The Cherry Cove trail ends at another boundary road. Follow this road 1.2 miles until you see a logging road branching off to the right at the base of Rocky Knob. Follow this road 0.6 miles until it intersects with a logging road coming from the left. Take a left on that road and follow it back to the trailhead.
Directions to Trailhead – take I-40 west to exit 33. At the exit ramp go straight across Newfound Road onto Freedom Drive. This road will parallel I-40. It will end at the intersection with Beaverdam Road. Take a right onto Beaverdam road and follow it until you see Rice Cove Road on the left. Take a left onto Rice Cove Road and go until it intersects Rough Water Point. Take a right onto Rough Water Point. At the end of Rough Water Point, take a sharp left onto the road to the Rough Creek Watershed. There will be a gate across the road just after you turn onto it. There is no lock on the gate but you will have to get out and open the gate. After going through the gate, stop and close the gate. It is intended to keep livestock from wandering off.
Park on the left on a large flat area in front of a shed. There is a sign board on the side of the road opposite the parking area. The trailhead is NOT where the sign board is. It is near the parking lot. There is a logging road above the right side of the parking (looking from the road into the lot). That road is the trailhead. You will need to climb over another gate that can’t be opened to continue on the trail.