Saturday, May 28, 2011

Harrison Bay Loop - A Casual Hiking Review

N35 10.088 W85 07.198 (Trail head)
Harrison, TN

Harrison Bay is a gorgeous area and the main reason I actually moved to this specific part of Tennessee.  Harrison boasts easy access, a great lake, good area, and friendly people.

The Harrison Bay hiking loop is, at it's very hardest, a mild hike; most of the 4.5 miles is a mere nature walk.  Twice I saw debris from the recent tornadoes in the area (a month - exactly - prior to the date of this blog) which was a little surreal for me.  The main tail head is very accessible and situated at the back of the boat trailer parking area.  When entering the park, go towards the boat ramps, not towards the picnic areas.  The pay-per-use site is near the gated recycle depot.  Most of the 4.5 miles skirts the water's edge so there's lots of pretty views.

Wildlife: mostly just the 'common' sights of basking turtles, toads, and lizards. Bird sightings were cranes, cardinals, and blue jays. Oh, and of course squirrels.

Pros: great views, easy access to the lake for pets, decently maintained trail

Cons: lots of bikers like the loop which makes it a little congested (I passed no less than 20 bikers) and there is a tendency for bikes to rut the ground in softer areas.  Also, the Bay is a popular boating/water rec area so it's rare to not hear boats or families splashing around from their boat.  Lastly, if you're a hiker, this trail isn't really for you unless you're just looking to test the comfort of a new pack or some new shoes. Again, it's more a nature walk than a hiking trail. One can easily maintain a 3.5 mph pace.

Geocache: I'm not sure if the geocache here still exists.  I perused for it but didn't spend a lot of time really looking because I had heard rumors that the cache(s) was removed.

(NOTE: I was supposed to hike in the South Cumberland today - a rugged 10-mile trek.  Due to unforeseen issues with my son's car, I had to let him borrow mine which limited how far I could then travel with the time I had available to me... so, there's a chance that I was a little upset over going on an easy hike to the bay rather than what I had planned on doing.  If I inadvertently took my angst out on my review, I apologize.)

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