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Tennessee Hikes: Ore Pit Loop Trail

Ore Pit Loop Trail at Montgomery Bell State Park, Burns, Tennessee

The Ore Pit Loop Trail at Montgomery Bell State Park is a short hiking trail exploring the old iron pits that the area is known for. Escape to the wilderness on this scenic hike in Burns, Tennessee.

About Montgomery Bell State Park

Montgomery Bell State Park is a natural oasis in Burns, Tennessee, only 40 minutes from Nashville and a few minutes from downtown Dickson.

The Tennessee State Park has three beautiful lakes on its 3,850 acres of land, as well as scenic hiking trails, a Lodge, a full-service restaurant and bar, cabins and campsites, and a golf course.

The park’s namesake, Montgomery Bell, was the founder of one of the largest iron industries in Tennessee.

Hiking the Ore Pit Loop Trail

Picnic Area on the Ore Pit Loop Trail at Montgomery Bell State Park, Burns, Tennessee

The red-blazed Ore Pit Loop Trail begins at a picnic area on Church Hollow Road (Google Maps has the trailhead down Camp I Road, but that area is inaccessible unless you are a Camp I camper; this picnic area is where the park rangers directed us).

There is a small parking area and a few picnic tables along the creek on one side of the road. You can either begin here by crossing the bridge over the creek, or by crossing to the other side of the road. We decided to start on the opposite side of the road.

Hiking Trails at Montgomery Bell State Park, Burns, Tennessee

The trail dives into the park’s wilderness, following along with the white-blazed Montgomery Bell Trail. The trail reaches a junction with the blue-blazed Wildcat Trail; continue to the left fork to follow the red and white blazes of the Ore Pit and Montgomery Bell trails.

As you hike, the trail winds up and down past the iron ore pits dug in the 1800s.

Over halfway through the hike, the trail comes to a clearing where you can see an old log cabin and a small chapel. This area was the site of the founding of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1810.

Log Cabin at Montgomery Bell State Park, Burns, Tennessee

On the site is a replica of founder Reverend Samuel McAdow’s log cabin. You can peer into the recreated two-room home. There is also a small chapel commemorating the church founding.

first Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Montgomery Bell State Park, Burns, Tennessee

It’s a bit of a detour to walk to the cabin and chapel, but it’s well worth a look.

The trail continues over the creek and forking to the left where the Ore Pit Trail and the Montgomery Bell Trail diverge. Remember to follow the red blazes as the trail steadily inclines.

You’ll pass a junction that leads to the Camp I Road trailhead; it seemed almost completely unused, so you may not even notice it.

The trail meets up with the Montgomery Bell Trail again near the end of the hike. Follow the trail to the left. You’ll soon come again to the creek, crossing over to complete the approximately 1.5 mile hike back at the picnic area where you started.

Hiking Essentials

Come prepared for your hike by making sure you pack the essentials. Check out this must-have hiking gear before you set off on the trails:

Nearby Attractions

After your hike, explore more that the area has to offer with these Tennessee itineraries:

Where to Stay Near Burns, TN

Ready to visit Dickson, Tennessee? Plan your trip with these tips.



Tennessee Hikes: Ore Pit Loop Trail

Have you hiked the Ore Pit Loop Trail at Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, Tennessee? Let me know in the comments!

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