Although I have yet to explore all of the trails in the Smokies by a long shot, one of my favorite parts about living in East Tennessee is the fact that I can find trails near just about any city I visit. With all the warm weather happening here lately, Wes and I were able to do a short hike to the Blackstack Cliffs on Viking Mountain near Greeneville. One especially great perk of hiking on smaller systems rather than in the Smokies is that they are usually pet friendly. Taking Doug on all of our adventures is way better than having to leave him at home.
The trail is moderate as there aren't any steep incline. There is a pretty short loop that hooks up with the AT. I'm not sure at the exact distance, but I would say we probably hiked 3-4 miles. The terrain is mostly flat rocks, making it pretty easy to do in my Chacos. Although, please note: I would much rather hike in boots any day. I brought the Chacos up for the weekend knowing how warm it was going to be and ended up leaving my boots in Knoxville on accident.
To get to the small loop we did, you take W Summer Street from Asheville Highway (70) off of 11-E. Then about 15 miles in there is a sign for Viking Mountain Road on the left. This takes you up to the exact spot some of these pictures were taken or leads you to a variety of trailheads.
One big perk of the hike is the big view payoff for a moderate level of hiking. The rock cliff I'm standing on in the first picture is probably a football field away from the parking lot. However, you'll see a lot more views if you do decided to take the small loop. There's even a bad weather trail should you get caught exposed in a storm.
Depending on which direction you're facing, the views are either of the North Carolina mountains or the towns in the valleys of Tennessee. From the fire tower, which you can find from the same parking area, you can see more towns in the North Carolina direction. We didn't make it up to the tower on the day of our hike, but I'd love to go back.
Also, just in case there was any doubt about my true persona, Wes captured this picture: