Explore Big South Fork - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Big South Fork Map
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backpacking
5 days ago

We completed this loop this past weekend, choosing to do the downward slope first. The views were beautiful, despite most of the leaves already fallen however the path was littered with fallen leaves which was good as the trail was often muddy at times, due to the recent rains.

We took photos of each campsite along the creek. There's also a campsite near the parking lot on your right as you are entering the trailhead.

Rock formations are beautiful, take the time to look around to see huge cliffs nearby. you are in a valley and there are some steep steps at times. Hiking poles are definitely a must!

hiking
14 days ago

This is a fantastic trail and well maintained. We started clockwise but we didn’t have time to finish the entire loop. What we did see was worth it. It’s a bit of a drive but it’s worth it. Very peaceful, we saw tons of birds, mushrooms and the leaves were gorgeous. The hike along the creek is breathtaking. We went clockwise on the trail so it made for a pretty steep drop near the beginning into the gorge. I would recommend trekking poles. We are experienced hikers and we found them very helpful.

Really good for fall foliage

Beautiful hike!

backpacking
1 month ago

Great trail to see so many of the beautiful wonders of the Cumberland Plateau and the surrounding areas. Nice day hike but an even better overnight experience.

hiking
2 months ago

Very nice trail. Quite flat, with only a handful of steep spot, all of them very short. Also well marked and most of the way it is wide enough for 2 side by side.
Several rock faces to walk under, some with falling runoff. Also a few large boulders. Half of the loop runs along a creek so there is a chance to refill water if you need it. Small falls near the halfway point.
It doesn’t offer scenic views unless you take the finger to the gap.
The farm is pretty cool from an historical standpoint. Most of the timbers in the barn were axe hewn, so it is largely original.
Overall a fun quiet hike. It was in the low 80s but most of the trail felt cooler than that. We went thought a liter of water each. Stepped over a 20”ish copperhead slithering across the path. Also saw a big pile of black bear scat that was maybe 24 hours old...so there is at least 1 best around there.

This was a fun loop. Easy trail to follow. We saw lots of interesting mushrooms, bear poop, coyote poop and had a fairly big copperhead cross our path. We only passed 2 people.

Outrageously beautiful!! Just spectacular and so totally awesome! Was an absolutely gorgeous day to hike!! (Labor Day ) There’s so much that I could say....you just have to go yourself-you won’t be disappointed!! The trail was pretty well marked with the exception of the last 2 miles-you must climb over and around the boulders to continue on the trail and finish up!

Well what can I say about this trail, nothing but good. My husband and I walked the whole loop and we saw everything from rock formations, streams with rapids, a beautiful flower garden with butterflies, and even a lodge with places to stay over night with a restaurant to eat at, halfway though the loop trail “ bonus”! It was well worth the hike even if we both were damn tried at the end. 

hiking
2 months ago

Great for an easy hike. We had 4kids ages 1-5. Only did 1/2 (about 2 miles) of the loop and then took the road back to the parked car. Falls were dry. Many other beautiful things to enjoy along the walk. Hot summer day, but the temp was perfect in the woods. As a side note, we saw a rattlesnake while driving to the trailhead.

While camping at Bandy Creek this week, I have done two partials and a full counterclockwise hike on this very nice trail. This morning I was joined by my four Shih Tzu companions in their dog stroller on the last third of the loop which was a hilly gravel road. Interesting old farm.

Overgrown path , loads of spider webs slippery rocks -
Beautiful trail along a riverside

If you follow this map, you hit Princess Falls about halfway through. If you continue to follow it, it ends at Lick Creek Falls. You actually get three waterfalls on this trail counting the small Julia Lynn Falls.

Needed a break from really frigid weather these past three weeks. What a delightful, well-marked/maintained trail with natural arches to see. Today, 25 Jan. 2018, was clear blue @ low 50's. Highly recommend this trail and other area trails to refresh your soul.

Diverse trail and the twin arches are stunning!

hiking
4 months ago

I'm not the biggest hiker but from my experience there are portions of this trail that are very difficult like half of the trail. There are many areas of the trail that are extremely narrow and grown over and from the bottom at the river and that climb up was a very steep grade, narrow having to use my hands like climbing a ladder for well over 300 ft. need to get someone out there with a chain saw. lots of huge down trees. it was otherwise a fun experience for my dog and I

hiking
4 months ago

Took a 4 yo who walked and a 2 yo who rode. All had fun. Incredible wonder to find in the middle of nowhere.

Atop of the south arch offers so beautiful views.

Hiked Angel Falls Overlook and the Grand Gap Loop over two days. There is a perfect camping spot where Angel Falls Overlook Trail intersects with the Grand Gap Loop Trail. It is behind the sign at the top of the hill. There is no water on the trail after the small rock shelf that you hike which has a cable attached. Make sure you fill up your water there. We used a mini sawyer filter. Camp site is about .5 mile past the ladder and rock shell cable are. Stumbled on a black bear twice while hiking this trail so beware. Beautiful views at the two overlooks to the right of the intersection mentioned previously. All in all a great hike!

Did the entire loop. Really cool rocky outcroppings and rock formations in addition to the arches. Trail past the south loop is pretty much either straight up a ridge or down a ridge depending on which way you travel. Me, my 12 y.o. and dog were definitely worn out at the end. Worth the trip!

Poorly marked and it needs to be a loop! Technically you can see it from either side of the falls but not connect the trails.

Tough stairs

hiking
4 months ago

We only did the loop to see the arches so I can’t rate the whole trail but it was epic! There are caves that cut through the rock you can traverse easily at the south arch. Truly an amazing natural feature! Mostly an easy hike except for a couple of steep stairwells. I would drive cross country to see the arches. They are a sight to behold.

There seems to be some confusion in the reviews about the 2 loop trails.
There is a short loop from the trailhead to the arches, 1.2 miles total. There is also a long back loop off the short loop which takes you down into the canyon, past Charit Creek lodge, around the canyon rim and back. AllTrails clocked the whole distance as 5.4 miles.
Fantastic Cumberland Plateau rock formations. The folks at Charit Creek lodge were very hospitable about using their restrooms and refilling our bottles from their potable water source - crucial as we were hiking with temps in the 90's.

It was a good hike, but we didn’t do the out and back. We ended up doing a loop with another trail. Beautiful! Done with kids and they did fine.

hiking
4 months ago

I will say, I really enjoyed this hike. It’s fairly short so I don’t know if it’s worth driving just for this loop, but there are plenty of other great hikes in the park. It’s definitely worth the fifteen minute extra drive, or extra walk around if you hike to it. It’s simple, but has enough elevation change to make you feel accomplished. Only thing Ill say is make sure you go counter-clockwise if you can, much lower chance of rolling your ankle

Hiked this trail about a week ago. Great trail. This app would have come in very handy when I was camping with my four Shih Tzu companions at Bandy Creek. Lots of nice trails in the area but was only able to log about 27 miles worth before returning home. Hopefully I will be returning to the area in the near future for an extended stay and lots more hiking.

camping
5 months ago

Absolutely a must. Huge arches. Side by side. Trail steel but wooden stairs help. Two of the stairs are steep. Take your time. Not a race. Enjoy the walk. Paths are free on a lot of obstructions. Well maintained paths.

on Burnt Mill Loop Trail

5 months ago

great trail! the mountain laurel was blooming everywhere 5-15-18! just watch for snakes this time of year. we didn't see any venemous ones though thankfully.

Some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen.

hiking
5 months ago

One of the prettiest hikes I've done in Tennessee

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