The site we use is 6 miles off Interstate I-75 between Lake City and Lafollette TN. In fact I-75 passes at the foot of the mountain. Called Cross Mountain by the USGS, it has three usable slopes. The smallest is the north slope, which is usable but the air is disturbed by a nearby point. The north slope pretty much requires a true north wind for good flying. The east slope is better and larger, overlooking a grand valley. From the east slope any wind close to east is good. The best and largest is the west slope, very big and bowl shaped. Any west wind, especially SW, works well. The uncluttered terrain of the west slope makes it the combat flyer’s choice! All the slopes have acres of good overgrowth-covered LZ’s. Below are the directions used by most everyone, although there is a 4WD-only route from Lake City. The exit is 30 miles north of Knoxville TN. Generally, going up you need to stay left, and down stay right.
On Interstate I-75, use exit 134. From the south turn left at the end of the ramp then left again at Shoney’s restaurant; from the north go straight past Shoney’s. Just past Caryville Surplus Sales you will bear left and cross the RR, that will be Mountain Road. Approximately 1.7 miles from Shoney’s the pavement ends at Ivy Grove Church, go straight onto the gravel road. Start counting switchbacks! Keep going through 6 tight switchbacks; at 1.7 miles from the church you will see a cell phone tower on your right. Go 4/10 mile and one more switchback, then turn left onto a one-lane dirt logging road. This is the worst part, but not really bad! To help you, with a brief exception a power line runs all the way to the slopes, just follow and stay on the well-travelled road. Go 2.2 miles and you will see the north facing slope site, and the west and east sites along with the north slope access are just beyond there. Be sure to follow the same way back down that you did going up! There are no facilities of any kind on top of the mountain.
SUV’s can handle the roads easily, passenger cars may strike bottom if you are not very careful. Go slow and keep your lights on as many ATVs use the area for recreation and dust is a real problem for visibility! During the week logging trucks may be operating so be prepared to yield or back up. Also do not attempt the trip if your vehicle is mechanically unsound as a tow truck may not come to get you, or will charge you extra. This route is steep at intervals but will not overheat your vehicle if it’s in good condition.
The main contact for this site is Larry Blevins, who lives at the bottom of the 4WD route in Lake City, and is the owner of Magnum Models. Larry has been flying this site for years, and is an able guide. He can be reached in the evenings at 1-865-426-4826. Weekend flying is informal, with a promising weather report we contact each other and meet at Larry’s home or at the top of the mountain.