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471 Old Stone Fort 2011-09-08

Big Falls on the Duck River, Old Stone Fort

Sunday, we went to Manchester, TN to visit Old Stone Fort State Park. The Park is close to Interstate 24 at exit 110. It was a short trip from Nashville and we were walking within the hour.

The Park has two major attractions: the Stone Fort archaeological area and the rivers. The Wall Trail explores the the remains of the enclosure and all the other trails explore the two rivers - the Duck and Little Duck.

There were two maps available from the Museum/Visitor Center/Park Office. One map was the official Park map included in the Park brochure and the other map was in the Interpretive Park Guide. Both maps were beneficial.

From the trailhead we entered the Fort ruins walking the path between the two entrance mounds. The Interpretive Guide directed us to the left to begin the loop. The trail travels easily above the Little Duck River near the top of the Wall. Steps lead to an alternate trail which travels closer to Step Falls before returning to the main trail. Unofficial social trails go from the alternate trail to the Little Duck River.

The Wall Trail continues around the enclosure. Another side trail leaves the main trail and rejoins it in a short distance. Continue on the Wall Trail to a signed junction. The adjoining trail provides access to Old River Channel Trail (green), Little Duck River Loop (red), and Forks of the River Trail (yellow).

Continuing around the Wall Trail, alternate trails lead to the Big Falls and Blue Hole Falls before returning to the trailhead.

The Wall Trail was about 1.25 miles long and our total distance covered, walking all of the trails (with some backtracking), was 4 miles. Old Stone Fort was a fun morning adventure.


A few trail notes ...

The Park is located in Manchester, TN. From I-24 take exit 110 toward Manchester. Turn right on Hwy 41 and the Park's entrance is a short distance on the left.

Water and restrooms are available at the Museum/Visitors Center.

There were quite a few other visitors enjoying the Park with us. A group of four were trail running.

The two maps did not agree on the names of trails or destinations. A few clarifications: Step Falls and Little Falls on the Little Duck River are the same. The Old River Channel Trail and the Moat Trail are the same trail. One section of the Little Duck River Loop Trail is the Backbone Ridge.

It was at times difficult to determine the official trails. There were many social trails.

On the Red Trail, the Backbone Ridge is a fun walk. It climbs steeply from the beginning on the Yellow Trail, then levels and walks the backbone for a short distance. After coming down from the ridge the trail junctions with an old farm road. Follow the signs to stay on the Red Trail. Near the end of the Red Trail the path follows close to the river and crosses more difficult terrain.

The Green Trail is an out and back. It is a pleasant stroll.

The Yellow Trail to the Forks of the River is easy and also worth the extra distance.

There were no signs posted asking visitors not to litter or to please stay on the trails, etc.

The Park also offers picnicking, camping, and golf.

Old Stone Fort was an enjoyable morning. Visit the Museum and maybe they will allow you to try your hand at throwing the atlatl.

Happy Old Stone Fort trails.


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