Carve the Cumberland

Ready to test out the curves of the Cumberland Plateau?

Carve the Cumberland on the Tennessee Twelve, a dozen diverse riding routes, filled with picturesque landscapes and switchbacks guaranteed to take your breath away. Experience less skylines and more tree-lines with rolling hills, natural wonders, and charming, authentic small town shops, restaurants and hospitality. #CarveTheCumberland

Cookeville is the perfect place to choose your path and start your journey. Situated at the crossroads of Interstate 40 and State Highway 111, we're the central hub of the 14-county Upper Cumberland, a region rich with tree-lined curves, rolling hills, natural wonders and charming, rural attractions. You can bunk for the night in one of our 18 hotels and grab some food at your choice among our 150-plus restaurants. 

While you're here, don't miss our Historic Courthouse Square and WestSide districts, home to many unique shops, boutiques and antique stores. Plus, you'll find numerous museums and a variety of mom-and-pop eateries whose offerings range from gourmet to down-home and international fare. So leave the big road behind and cruise on over to Cookeville, where 12 righteous rides await you! And be sure to touch base ahead of time with attractions on your chosen routes to get their operating hours or to schedule tours. 

All rides in this section utilize the Harley-Davidson Ride Planner.

Download the Carve the Cumberland Map


Plan Your Adventure

Our itineraries are created to help you make a plan for seeing all there is to see while on your ride. Not a fan of a schedule? No problem! Our guides can inspire your journey, and point out interesting stops along the way.

About 77 miles

Make your way along the historic Walton Road Scenic Byway through Buffalo Valley, home to the Middle Tennessee Dragway. Travel along Highway 96 near Edgar Evins State Park through Smithville, and stop by the Appalachian Center for Craft, a satellite campus of Tennessee Tech University promoting excellence in American craft. Cross over Center Hill Lake, which holds 415 miles of largely undeveloped shoreline and 18,200 acres of deep, pure water. While in Baxter, enjoy a history lesson at the Baxter Depot Museum, one of the three depot museums in Putnam County.

About 109 miles

Let the winding roads of the Upper Cumberland take you back in time. Wet your whistle at the Bull and Thistle Restaurant and Pub, located on Gainesboro's charming town square. Discover a healing and haunting history in Red Boiling Springs with points-of-interest like the Armour's Hotel and the Thomas House. Visit the Walton Hotel and Restaurant, built in 1904 by William Walton, the founder of Carthage, Tennessee. Truly step back in tome as you are welcomed to Granville, home of the Sutton Ole Time Music Hour, T.B. Sutton's General Store and Sutton Homestead and Pioneer Village.

About 105 miles

Let the Historic Walton Road Scenic Byway carry you through Sparta, known as Bluegrass USA and hometown of legendary bluegrass artist Lester Flatt. Take in views of the countryside leading you to the Cumberland Caverns, Tennessee's largest show cave and a U.S. National Natural Landmark. The cave displays some of the most spectacular formations in America. Located 333 feet below ground, The Volcano Room serves as an amphitheater to the Emmy Award-winning Bluegrass Underground. Continue to Smithville, where the annual Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival draws thousands. And for more bluegrass, stop by The Whistle Stop Cafe as you head back through Baxter. 

About 115 miles

Your history lesson will begin along Highway 111. Wind your way through the Home of Americana Music in Livingston and across Dale Hollow Lake into Byrdstown and onward to Highway 127, home to the World's Longest Yard Sale. Discover a heroic history at the Sergeant Alvin C. York Historic Park and Museum, located in the Pall Mall community of the Wolf River Valley. The attraction pays tribute to York, the marksman who became one of the most decorated soldiers of World War I. Continue to Jamestown, home to Tennessee's oldest winery, Highland Manor. Have a milkshake in the '50s diner located in the Cumberland Mountain General Store in Clarkrange.

About 179 miles

Take in the scenery as you venture through Livingston and Jamestown along curving and captivating roadways. Cross into the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, which encompasses 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau. The park is rich with natural and historic features. Make your way into Rugby, a restored Victorian village founded in 1880 and nestled between the Big South Fork National Recreation Area and the Rugby State Natural Area. Enjoy lunch at the Harrow Road Cafe and take in the rugged river gorges and historic trails. Travel on to the home of the World's Largest Pumpkin in Allardt, then coil your way back along the turns and switchbacks of Wilder Mountain. 

About 94 miles

Ride through Livingston, known as the Home of Americana Music and Jammin' at Hippie Jack's, a public television series broadcast to more than 120 million nationwide. Weave through the hills and valleys of the Upper Cumberland into Standing Stone State Park. The park covers nearly 11,000 acres on the Cumberland Plateau and is noted for its outstanding scenery, spring wildflowers, fossils and other natural diversity. Circle back through historic Gainesboro, located near Cordell Hull Lake, then continue your tour along the charming, rural terrain into Granville, where you can experience bygone days. Take in scenic rural landscapes as you return on the historic Walton Road Scenic Byway. 

About 178 miles

Take in the welcoming waterfalls of Burgess Falls State Park, where the Falling Water drops 250 feet around breathtaking scenery and awe-inspiring overlooks. Next, savor the scenic beauty of Rock Island State Park, a park dominated by the Great Falls of the Caney Fork River. This 883-acre park has a natural sand beach on Center Hill Reservoir. Continue on to Fall Creek Falls State Park, voted by Southern Living Magazine as the best state park in the southeastern United States. The park boasts Fall Creek Falls, the highest waterfall in the eastern United States at 256 feet. Finalize your falls tour in Crossville at Ozone Falls, a 43-acre natural area featuring such striking sights that it was selected for filming scenes for the movie "Jungle Book."

About 149 miles

With three lakes that create more than 1,200 miles of shoreline and 16 state parks and natural areas within a 45-minute drive of Cookeville, this ride will allow you to weave alongside wonderful waterways. Cross over Cordell Hull Lake as you make your way through the historic and charming towns of Gainesboro and Granville. Explore the curving countryside of Buffalo Valley, then cross Center Hill Lake and travel through the 6,000-acre Edgar Evins State Park near Smithville. Revel in Rock Island State Park's winding roads and wondrous waterfalls. Enjoy the bows and bends carrying you onward through Burgess Falls State Park, deemed one of the "Top Five Ways to Stay Cool in Tennessee" by Southern Living Magazine.

About 160 miles

Cummins Falls, situated inside a 211-acre state park, was voted one of the top 10 swimming holes in the U.S. by Travel and Leisure magazine. As you are carried down the Promised Land Trail to DelMonaco Winery and Vineyards in Baxter, you can continue to Stonehaus Winery atop the Cumberland Plateau. U.S. Highway 127 will take you to Jamestown, home of Tennessee's oldest winery, Highland Manor Winery, and the headquarters of the 127 Corridor Sale, 690 miles of authentic "American picking" that takes place every August. As you travel back to Cookeville over Wilder Mountain, these rural back roads will lead you to Monterey's Depot Museum for some local railroad history. 

About 67 miles

Bask in the beauty of Burgess Falls State Park and its cascading waterfalls. As you journey toward Sparta - home of world-famous whitewater kayaking manufacturer, Jackson Kayak - take in the sights of Liberty Square, including the historic Oldham Theatre. Keep an eye out along the Calfkiller River as you wind through wonderful scenes of water and wildlife. Stop in for an education in craft brewing with "the beer brothers," Don and Dave Sergio. They own the famous Calfkiller Brewing Company, the region's first microbrewery. Prepare for a rush along the Calfkiller Highway - characterized by plentiful curves, bends and turns - as you journey back to Monterey.

About 120 miles

Expect an education in stein and 'shine as you tour the Upper Cumberland's first microbrewery and moonshine distillery. Begin by heading to Blue Springs Road, just off Calfkiller Highway. Calfkiller Brewing Company is minutes from downtown Sparta. Let the Sergio brothers and J. Henry share their history in hops before heading across Center Hill Lake to Short Mountain Distillery - Tennessee's sixth distillery making authentic, small-batch Tennessee moonshine, bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. As you turn back, take in the beauty of Hurricane Bridge Recreation Area, located on the west side of Center Hill Lake. Add some wine to your stein and 'shine as you circle back through Baxter, home to DelMonaco Winery and Vineyards.

About 184 miles

At Burgess Falls State Park, enjoy picnicking below the dam, which is also a popular fishing spot along the Falling Water River. Take Highway 70 across Center Hill Lake toward the Buffalo Valley Recreation Area to see Center Hill Dam, a 260-foot structure composed of concrete and earth. Continue your "dam good" tour to Cordell Hull Reservoir. Its gravity dam, located near Carthage, rises 87 feet above the streambed and is 1,306 feet long. Resume your route to Standing Stone State Park, which boasts a dam forming the X-shaped Standing Stone Lake. Next stop is Dale Hollow Dam and Lake. Situated on the Tennessee border, the National Fish Hatchery is the largest federal trout hatchery east of the Mississippi, producing 1.5 million trout annually.