Grundy Lakes Historic Area Trailhead
DISTANCE: 2.4 miles total
TIME: 2-3 hour hike time
Grundy Lakes was donated to the State of Tennessee in the 1930s for a Civilian Conservation Corps reclamation project. Young men from Company 1475, which was based nearby in what is now Grundy Forest State Natural Area, cleaned up waste from abandoned mining operations, built the dam that impounds the largest lake, and restored the area to its more natural and scenic origins. Famous for its convict labor mining history and the Lone Rock Coke Ovens, this entire area is on the National Historic Register. Interpretive panels help tell the story of coal mining in this area, which was its principal industry from the 1870s until the 1920s.
The 2-1/2 mile Lone Rock Historic Trail circumnavigates the largest of four man-made lakes, and takes the visitor back in time to the late 19th century when coal mining was a booming industry in this region. The trail also brings visitors alongside the coke ovens, where coal was heated, but not burned, to convert it into “coal coke,” a much more dense, hotter-burning fuel that was valued for its use in making iron and steel. Over 120 of these ovens were in operation here in the late 1800s. The total length of the trail is approximately 2.4 miles, but many shorter walks are possible, since the trail has numerous road crossings.