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Sinking Waters Trail



2.2 mile 3.6 kilometer loop
86% Runnable


Ascent: 405' 123 m
Descent: -393' -120 m
High: 1,634' 498 m
Low: 1,362' 415 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)


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Trail shared by Robert Bradley

A wide variety of ecosystems on a trail consisting of three connected loops.

Robert Bradley

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Wildflowers · Wildlife

This area closes at dark.


The trail consists of a series of three connected loops, totaling about 2.2 miles based on my initial gps measurement. The third loop is a boardwalk around a marsh and series of sinkholes for which the trail is named. My first experience on the trail, I stayed to the right at all intersections to ensure that I covered the full trail.


Start at the parking lot off of Cedar Branch Road. After a hundred yards or so, the trail splits for the first loop.

Taking the right-hand split begins a climb to the ridgeline where mature hardwoods line the trail. The route then descends, steeply at times. There is a series of steps at the steepest point as you drop back down the hillside.

The second loop includes another shorter, less steep climb before descending again back toward a small, spring-fed stream. As the trail approaches the stream, there is an unofficial trail spur that takes off to the right (upstream and north-west) for about 150 feet. Keep left to stay on the trail - it continues downstream toward the low-lying marsh.

Bearing right at the final intersection takes you across a short walkway through what will be marshy territory during the spring. After a short time, you'll reach the boardwalk that forms a loop around the marsh. The boardwalk provides views of the sinkholes into which the water disappears, and for which this trail is named.

On the return, again keeping right at intersections, the trail takes you past the sight of a late 1800's blacksmith shop. Within a hundred yards or so is a magnificent sycamore tree with an incredible span of branches.

There are several interpretive signs along the trail, providing information on the history of the area, as well as descriptions of the flora and fauna in the area. This is a hidden gem in the Kingsport area!

Flora & Fauna

This short trail includes an amazing diversity of ecosystems and should delight with the range of flora. Mature hardwoods cling to the ridges, and immense vines climb and tangle their way through tree branches. Come spring, there should be an immense variety of wildflowers.

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Need to Know, Runner Notes, History & Background


Land Manager: Tennessee State Parks

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607 Since Feb 23, 2017



Steps aid your passage over a steep section of the Sinking Waters Trail.
Feb 24, 2017 near Colonia…, TN
Sinking Waters Trail is named for this spot where the water dives underground into a sinkhole.
Feb 24, 2017 near Colonia…, TN
Hardwoods grow densely on the ridge.
Feb 24, 2017 near Colonia…, TN
A massive sycamore grows near the site of an old blacksmith shop.
Feb 24, 2017 near Colonia…, TN