The history of this area is pretty cool. When construction began on Norris Dam in 1933, a sizeable amount of concrete was needed. And to make concrete you need aggregate like sand and rock. A quarry was built near the dam to extract rock, but the sand had to be mined and hauled out of the top of this ridge.
Evidence of the mining operation is still obvious with a large wheelhouse (pictured at left), a small building next to it, and the remnants of a large chute used to get sand into the carts for hauling down the mountain. Thick steel cables are also found laying next to the trails at the top of the mountain.
So if you have an urge to get sand on your tires without leaving Tennessee and like a tough challenge for your Jeep, be sure to check out the Sandmines. Oh and don't forget your pass, you'll still need a hunting and fishing license with a WMA stamp to legally ride here.