This short trail is worth the hike if for no other reason than the chance you might run into the ghost . . .
The Ghost House Loop Trail is in Big Ridge State Park in Tennessee.
Located in the Appalachian ridge and valley terrain of Northeastern Tennessee, Big Ridge State Park’s more than 3,500 acres is comprised of three narrow ridges and stream valley systems. Big Ridge and Pinnacle Ridge make up the two most prominent systems as they are almost completely surrounded by Norris Lake’s southern shore. Historically, Big Ridge State Park is one of five demonstration parks developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) along with the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Much of the park’s architecture features the unique CCC-style local-stone architecture. Many of the park’s trails were carved out by the CCC, as well, and one can see the remains of the homes and farms that once occupied the area while hiking. More particularly, many old family cemeteries can be seen throughout the park.
Directions: From Interstate 75, take Exit 122, Tennessee 61 east for about 12 miles. The park entrance is on the left between the cities of Andersonville and Maynardville.
Hours Open: The park is open from daylight until10 p.m. in the summer, and from daylight until dark in the winter, Eastern Time. The Visitors Center is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Ghost House Loop Trail
Distance Round-Trip: 1.2miles
This trail is said to be haunted by the ghost of Maston Hutchison because odd things have occurred along it. Whether or not this is true, you will see the remains of old home foundations as well as the sunken grave of Hutchison.
Caution: This trail passes through some damp and buggy areas. Insect repellant is advised for those who want to ward off bugs.
Trail Directions: Parking for this trail is located off the group camp road. The trailhead is to the left at N 36º 14’ 49”, W 83º 55’ 29” (1). The lake is to your left as you begin this hike, crossing a wood bridge and entering the woods at .01 mile. At .04 mile, reach the junction with the Lake Trail, which continues straight ahead. Turn right to reach the beginning of the Ghost House Loop in .01 mile.
Turn left on the Ghost House loop, and at .09 and .17 mile, cross wooden bridges over intermittent streams. At .43 and .49 miles, you will cross bridges over streams. At .61 mile, a side trail to the left leads a short distance into the woods where a home site was once located. There are two moss-covered rock mounds that are the remains of foundations.
At .68 mile, reach the junction of the Big Valley Trail connector. The Big Valley Trail is 15 yards to the left. The Ghost House Loop continues to the right at N 36º 15’ 13”, W 83º 55’ 28” (2). Continue to the right and reach the Norton Cemetery to your right at .78 mile. It is here you will find the grave of Maston Hutchison. While there are no remains of the Hutchison home any more, it is his house that is said to be haunted.
Continue hiking, reaching the beginning of the Ghost House Loop at 1.19 miles or N 36º 14’ 49”, W 83º 55’ 32” (3). You will reach the trailhead at 1.24 mile, and the parking area in another .12 mile.
- Big Valley Trail connector
- Ghost House Loop beginning/end
This bread I break was once the oat,
This wine upon a foreign tree
Plunged in its fruit;
Man in the day or wine at night
Laid the crops low, broke the grape’s joy.
Once in this time wine the summer blood
Knocked in the flesh that decked the vine,
Once in this bread
The oat was merry in the wind;
Man broke the sun, pulled the wind down.
This flesh you break, this blood you let
Make desolation in the vein,
Were oat and grape
Born of the sensual root and sap;
My wine you drink, my bread you snap.
An empty heart,
Cold and bleak,
In the winter of desire.
The haunting lament of
A mourning dove echoes
Down its abandoned
As withered leaves
Scatter before a frigid wind.
I wander the desolate
Passages of my heart,
Searching for signs
But find only desiccated weeds,
Cold, cracked tiles, and
A stagnant pool where
Once life proffered
An alternate existence,
And the melody of the
Dove was a lullabye.