Cherokee National Forest – Clemmer Trail – Mountain Biking

Made possible by

Photos

About

Summary

Clemmer trail offers mountain bikers access to every trail in the Chilhowee Recreation Area network, and with trail ratings ranging from easy to difficult, there’s something for just about everyone.

Written by

Beth Miller

Distance

8.8 miles

It’s 4.4 miles one-way to Benton Falls, and you can add on an additional three miles roundtrip if you take the Benton Falls Trail to McCamy Lake. For more mileage, the Slick Rock/Laurel Loop branches off of Clemmer to the left at around 2.7 miles for access to the trails on the west side. Further on up at 3.6 miles, the Rim Rock trail joins in making it possible to connect to the trails on the east side of the system.

Destination Distance From Downtown

38.0 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

The climb out of the parking area is the most difficult part of the trail. Be careful on this loose, rocky section on the way back down.

Time To Complete

2 hours

Seasonality

All Seasons

Winter riding can bring about considerable trail damage, so only ride on dry days. The Clemmer and Benton Falls Trails dry out fairly quickly due to their sandy nature, but the others stay wetter longer and are more susceptible to damage from bike tires.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

Yes

$3 Day Use fee

Land Website

Trail Map

Review

Intro

The Chilhowee Trail System, within the Ocoee Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest, has approximately 27 miles of trails and gets a great deal of bike traffic all year long. Spring, summer, and fall are certainly the more popular times of year, but there are still a number of dedicated hikers and bikers that take advantage of the quiet trails in the winter. The Clemmer Trail runs into the Benton Falls Trail at the top of the mountain, where the foot traffic increases exponentially, but it’s worth it to see the waterfall.

What Makes It Great

The Clemmer Trail is great for a variety of reasons—it’s not too hard, but will challenge a beginner to intermediate rider, it has access to the entire Chilhowee Trail System, and you can splash some cool water in your face at the 65-foot Benton Falls at the top.

You can start the Clemmer Trail from either the bottom of the mountain or the top, making it customizable, depending on what you’re looking for. Starting at the bottom gives you the advantage of getting the downhill at the end, while there are more trails to connect to by starting at the top. The trail has both single- and doubletrack, with some rocky sections. If you just stay on Clemmer to Benton Falls and back, you’ll get a solid 8.8-mile workout on a variety of terrain.

For a longer, 11-mile loop from the bottom, take the Rim Rock Trail at the 3.6-mile mark for a fairly wide creek crossing and a series of short, steep jumps that lead to Clear Creek trail. Take the Arbutus Trail over to Redleaf, then to Benton Falls, and then head back to Clemmer and down.

For a shorter loop from the top, get on Azalea at the parking area and connect briefly to Clear Creek before connecting to Arbutus and over to Redleaf. Redleaf dumps onto Benton Falls, which then turns into Clemmer. From there continue on down Clemmer to the first Slick Rock/Laurel Loop and ride it back to Clemmer. Once at Clemmer, take it back up to Benton Falls and back to the parking lot for around 6.5 miles.

Who is Going to Love It

Bring on the downhill! Clemmer attracts intermediate and advanced riders looking for challenging technical spots and a fast and loose downhill. The Slick Rock trails just off of Clemmer trail offer up some of the more adventurous sections in the system with even the occasional “unrideable” section.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The Clemmer Trailhead parking lot is just off of US-64 so it is easily accessible from the Cleveland and Chattanooga areas.

From Chattanooga: Take I-75 N to Cleveland exit 20 and go right onto US-74 E. Continue on US-74 E to US-64 E. Take the Ocoee exit heading east toward Ducktown/Copperhill/Murphy, NC. Stay on US-64 E for 17.3 miles to the US-64/TN-30 intersection. Turn left on TN-30 and the gravel parking area is on the left with a sign that reads Scenic Spur Trail.

The Chilhowee Recreation Area campground and bathhouses close in November, but a winter camping area is available with limited facilities.

Similar Local Mountain Biking Spots

See all

More Chattanooga Activities

View Chattanooga

More Scenic Spur Trailhead Activities

Chattanooga Recommendations

Local Chattanooga Stories

Location

Scenic Spur Trailhead

35.114176, -84.578655

Get Directions