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What is the Mountain Goat Trail?

From 1856 to 1985, the Mountain Goat Railroad carried coal and passengers between Palmer and Cowan in Grundy and Franklin Counties of the Cumberland Plateau. It was named the Mountain Goat because the climb onto the Plateau was one of the steepest railroad ascents in the world.

Now, the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance is seeking to reclaim the path of the railroad. Working with local governments and other interested groups, the Alliance’s mission is to turn the old railroad bed into a multiuse recreational path. When finished, the 35-plus-mile trail will connect seven towns in two counties, offering health, recreational, and economic benefits to the area.

How much of the Trail is accessible now?

The section in purple above, in Sewanee, is paved and accessible. This 1.8-mile stretch sees consistent use from walkers, runners, cyclists, and canine friends.

Where can the Trail be accessed?

The paved section of the trail begins in downtown Sewanee and ends at Highway 156, aka Midway Road. It’s about two miles long. There is also an unpaved portion that continues across Midway Road and ends behind Pearl’s restaurant.

The best place to park is in the gravel lot in Sewanee on Highway 41A at Hawkins Lane. Here’s a Google map that might be helpful. (The Mountain Goat Trail in Sewanee is part of the 20+-mile Perimeter Trail around the University Domain, which is why it’s labeled that way on this map.)

What is the next phase of the Mountain Goat Trail?

The Monteagle-Sewanee section of the Trail (in light blue above) is due to begin construction in August 2014. This will link the towns of Monteagle and Sewanee and create almost five miles of unbroken Mountain Goat Trail, plus access to cycling and walking options at both ends. Construction is being funded by a Transportation Alternatives grant to the Town of Monteagle from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, with matching funds raised by the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance.