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Ascent of View Tree Knob on 2020-03-28

Climber: Chris Gilsdorf

Date:Saturday, March 28, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:View Tree Knob
    Location:USA-Tennessee
    Elevation:2740 ft / 835 m

Ascent Trip Report

This obscure peak, a short drive from Knoxville, is Scott County, TN's most prominent. I decided to set out for a first known ascent...

I took I-75 to exit 141, then took TN-63 west, staying left at a split with TN-297, to the initially-paved WMA turnoff on the right, signed on google maps as Old State Hwy 63. The road quickly turns to gravel as it enters the North Cumberland WMA-Royal Blue Unit. A review of satellite imagery will be helpful here, but in short, stay left at a large clearing, then right at the next split (go left for Braden Mountain South). You'll reach a sharp double-back with signage prohibiting further motor vehicle travel, though the gate here was open. I parked here. Continuing up the other road a bit further leads to a gate at a switchback, from which it's a ten minute hike up to Braden Mountain. To this point, it might be possible to coax a passenger car to the "foot travel only" portion, but one or two steep, rocky sections would pose a real challenge. I was very happy to have my new 4WD Honda CR-V, which was very much equal to the challenge.

Walking the road from here, I was immediately met by a large, treacherous mud puddle, which would have stopped my progress anyway. Otherwise, it was an easy and mostly flat two miles to Wesley Gap, where I ran into two hunters in a pickup truck. We did not stop to chat. From here, View Tree Knob is directly in front of you, but this area's coal mining past throws some obstacles your way, in the form of two steep mining cuts between you and the summit. The first was easy enough to surmount, and I followed a combination of mostly open woods and old overgrown mining roads to the base of the second cut. I was met with a small pond, backed by crazy steep, cliffy slopes...luckily, a minute's journey to ascender's left led to far less formidable slopes, and I was soon contouring around the false summit to the saddle between it and View Tree. A moderate woods road led to the top, marked with old fire tower footings with limited views through the trees, but enough to let you know nothing immediately nearby is higher.

I returned to my car in about an hour, the same time my ascent had taken. Being back here, I made quick side trips to Braden and Braden South. Braden was just a road walk to a fenced-in radio tower, but had some nice views south to the Cumberland Plateau, and bizarrely, cornfields along the road! Braden South was a steep, but straightforward 250' bushwhack from height of the road on its south side; getting to that spot entailed a very steep bit I wouldn't attempt in a passenger car. Aside from the hunters and one family in an ATV, I saw nobody else.

Be advised: the summit of View Tree is likely private land, as I saw some boundary markers near the second cut near the summit. Even the WMA may or may not require getting a permit, and as hunting is allowed and encouraged here, it's smart to bring hunter's orange (required, during hunting season--head and chest). Overall, this was not the best hike I've done up on the Cumberland Plateau, but it's far from the worst, and that's saying something.




Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:416 ft / 126 m
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:416 ft / 126 m
    Distance:2.6 mi / 4.2 km
    Start Trailhead:2324 ft / 708 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Chris Gilsdorf
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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