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10Explores: Ridge Top Trail at Fort Loudoun State Historic Park

Ridge Top Trail is a just over 1.5-mile looped hike with views of Tellico Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains at its scenic overlook.

VONORE, Tenn. — Fort Loudoun State Historic Park covers 1,200 historic acres in Monroe County surrounded by Tellico Lake.

According to the park's website, it's one of the earliest British fortifications on the western frontier built in 1756, and the fort was reconstructed during the Great Depression before being designated as National Historic Landmark in 1965. 

While the historic fort is often the park's main draw, it offers kayak rentals and fishing along the lakeshore, and there are roughly five miles of hiking trails throughout its ridges and valleys as well.

One of these trails is the Ridge Top Trail. It starts at the picnic area near the park office. At just over 1.5 miles, this looped hike is rated as moderately difficult and offers views of Tellico Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains at its scenic overlook.

If you're looking to extend your trek, Ridge Top Trail overlaps with the 2.5-mile moderately difficult Meadow Loop Trail.

More information about Fort Loudoun State Historic Park is available on the Tennessee State Parks' website.

What to expect on the trail:

Some tips before you visit:

  • Let someone know where you plan to hike, when you plan to be back, what clothes you are wearing and what your car looks like.
  • Wear sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Wear layers depending on the weather.
  • Pack plenty of water and snacks.
  • Keep an eye on the weather.
  • Pick up after your pet.
  • Be courteous to other hikers.
  • Leave the plants and wildlife alone.
  • Have a backup plan if the trail is closed or too busy.

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