dogs on leash
Encompassing 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area protects the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. The area boasts miles of scenic gorges and sandstone bluffs, is rich with natural and historic features and has been developed to provide visitors with a wide range of outdoor recreational activities.
Our trip to Twin Arches started at the Middle Creek trailhead. We went "straight" to Jakes Place, set up our tent,did the Twin Arches loop, then stayed the night. The next day we did the loops we had bypassed on the first day. Each loop was spectacular and had its own feel. There are two trails to the falls to see it from different sides. Looks like people go down to the falls (around fence line) but it is causing erosion:-(. The Slaves Falls Loop is rolling hills thru the woods and was pretty easy.
Our trip to Twin Arches started at the Middle Creek trailhead. We went "straight" to Jakes Place, set up our tent,did the Twin Arches loop, then stayed the night. The next day we did the loops we had bypassed on the first day. Each loop was spectacular and had its own feel. Middle Creek had great vertical bluffs and overhangs. This loop was easy but not to be missed.
The only reason it's not a 5 star rating is because the signage and blazing are bogus for much of the hike. Also some of the maps do not agree. But if you enjoy trying to decipher where the trailhead actually is (hint: it's NOT where the sign says it is) and occasionally having to search for blazes, it might be fun. Scenery is gorgeous and the rock formations are staggering at times. Some very nice campsites for hammocks too. Will likely do again just for the area around the overlook. Enjoyed the rope climbs and squeezing through caves.
Beautiful and unique trail. I need to go back after a few good rains. There was little water flow and no waterfalls. But the rock formations and shallow caves throughout were amazing! Take the trail counter clockwise for a slightly easier hike. But even then it will still be a difficult hike.
Vanessa R. on Buffalo Arch Trail
My family and I done this trail on 10-19-2016, at first the trail was nice, but up hill. However, the trail was very narrow in places, trees down in the trail, which made it a pain to get through. The trail was rated on AllTrails as EASY, but it should be rated as Moderate to Difficult. The trail needs to be better marked and better upkept. If you are an experienced hiking up it's good, but for inexperienced, don't do it. The arch was impressive, along with the Fall colors.
Hiked this trail today (10-16-2016) from Parkers Mountain Trailhead #634...first mile was up the mountain a little strenuous but not to bad, trail was covered with leaves but easy to follow some good fall colors made it a good hike to the arch which is pretty impressive!!
Vanessa R. on Gentleman's Swimming Hole Trail
My family done the Meeting of the Waters Loop. The rock/cliff formations are amazing. Once you get the where the two intersect was really cool...but starting back up was difficult in some places, you really have to watch you footing, because you can really get hurt if you slip. On the way back once you get leveled out is really no scenery unless you see wildlife. Still a good hike.
Arrived late but was able to find campsite and set up before it got dark. Doing the trail clockwise, i found an established site right on the river that was flat and had fire ring. Water level was very low but that didn't stop the beavers from slapping the water all night long:) they knew i was there. Next morning it was an easy hike on around the loop and i arrived back at my car quicker than expected. I only remember one hill climb and it was short and easy. Fun trip!
One of my all-time favorite trails in BSFNRRA. Waterfalls, rockhouses, and gorgeous overlooks - scenery changes every few feet - trail has it all. Would not recommend for pets or young kids. Slow going with rock scrambles, and you will get very wet if water is up because parts of trail follow in creek bed. Can break into two, shorter 2.5-3 hour hikes if you park at trailhead, end at metal ladders and walk gravel road back, or vice versa, to do loops on each side of the road separately. Take a map - trail is poorly marked in many areas, easy to lose. Look for painted arrows on rocks. Worth it to stop & explore!
*NO facilities at this trail head. I suggest driving to the Twin Arches trail head to use the restroom, before hiking this trail*
Very easy trail to hike, not super strenuous at all. Also, this trail had many spider webs across the trail, in many spots. I recommend using either a long stick or your trekking pole, to clear your path, as you walk. The water levels have been VERY low, no significant rain falls.....so the actual "falls" were nonexistent. But regardless of water flow, the area is absolutely gorgeous, and the history of this spot is amazing.
Although VERY, VERY small, in comparison to the Twin Arches, I recommend making the short trek to Needle Arch, while you are there. It's a nice addition to the Slave Falls walk, you might as well do it, while you are there.
Vanessa R. on John Litton Farm Loop
The trail was great, and you could tell the leaves started to color. The trail is rated as easy, but should be rated as moderate...some places are tricky, but if your careful you should be ok. The Farm is not as massive, but cool to see.