OwnerJA2TN - KJ4MBJ    
Placed DateOct 22 2011
LocationCross Mountain Trailhead (parking Area), Cross Mountain Rd & TN 91, Shady Va, Shady Valley, TN
Found By
Last Found
Hike Distance?


From Elizabethton, wind along Stony Creek on TN 91 for an enjoyable 18 mile ride through farmlands and communities framed by the Holston Mountains to your left and the Iron Mountains on your right. You will pass thru the communities of Hunter, Winner, Carter, Sadie, and Buladeen and then on to the top of Cross Mountain and the Carter County / Johnson County line. Once at the top, turn right onto Cross Mountain Road. Cross Mountain Trailhead parking area entrance is the first left.

Cross Mountain Trailhead parking area offers a Cherokee National Forest information display, as well as parking for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) and the Osborne Farm. The AT goes south from the parking area (across Cross Mountain Road) through bogs and then follows the ridgeline of the Iron Mountains all the way to Watauga dam and lookout. Across TN 91, the AT continues up the hill and across the Osborne farm.

As it tops the mountain, TN 91 then drops spectacularly into Shady Valley, a rural farming community known for its extant cranberry bogs. North of Shady Valley, TN 133 follows portions of an old rail line along Beaverdam Creek through the Shortest Tunnel in the World at Backbone Rock Recreation Area and on to Damascus, Virginia (Trail Town USA) where the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Creeper Trail cross.

The Osborne Farm
Until September 2001, this 250 acre farm was the home place of Lester and Pearl Osborne of Shady Valley. The Appalachian Trail (AT) originally went through the property until it was relocated in the 1970s to a southwest boundary. Mr. and Mrs. Osborne sold the property to the Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC) based in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in 2001. Since the purchase of the property by the ATC, it has been sold to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the house torn down and the trail’s original path restored back up onto the open fields and highlands of the farm. The USDA has included the acreage in the boundaries of the Cherokee National Forest to serve as a buffer for the trail.
Mr. Lester Osborne died in 2006. Mrs. Pearl Osborne, died on April 2, 2011 at the age of 97 and is buried at Sunset Memorial Park, Mountain City, Tennessee


Park in the parking area at the top of Cross Mountain (GPS: 36.4811, -81.9604), walk across the road (TN 91) and continue north along the Appalachian Trail (AT) approximately ¼ mile where you’ll find a bench with a spectacular 360° view of Shady Valley and the surrounding mountains. Be sure to take a few moments to sit on the bench and take in the views.

From the bench, continue on the AT north by following the white blazes marked on posts that will lead you through the field, over a “step-over” fence crossing and eventually to the edge of the woods on the far side of the field (approximately ¼ mile from the bench).

At the fence, at the edge of woods, you will cross another “step-over” fence crossing. Once in the woods, continue to follow the AT north approximately 24 steps and STOP.

There will be a double-trunked tree about four feet off the trail to your right. Go to the back of this tree; the letterbox is under rocks at the base of this tree.

NOTE: We put three rocks and a stump between the trail and this tree, but they may not be there when you visit.

Please log your find on atlasquest.com so we can see how you enjoy the Osborne farm.