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

Great trail, beautiful views. Stay at Jake's Place and do a side hike to Slave Falls.

Really great hike! Lots of flowing water and small falls from all the recent rain. Multiple wildflower species just popping out. Recommend starting on lower arch part of loop and taking loop all the way to Jake’s Place (ideal spot for picnic or rest on the rock benches) and on to Charit Lodge. There’s a suspension bridge that follows on to the Sheltowee Trace we had to try out just off main trail. Then on for a relatively steep climb for the last mile. Well worth the finish on the upper loop.

Trail was well kept. Just before and following Jake’s Place there were lots of wooded plank bridges on the trail that made for fun adventures for the kids. This part of the trail followed a well flowing creek. Very wet and muddy trail on the back side but the previous day it rained all day. Waterproof or resistant boots a must.

Took us approximately 4 hours. The 5 year old set the pace.

on Middle Creek Nature Loop

1 month ago

great hike! not as strenuous as some with amazing rock houses and well made trail.

on Twin Arches Loop Trail

1 month ago

a beautiful area! hiked down to Charit Creek Lodge then looped back out through Jake's place. total 5.5 mi.

Went the complete trail. It was easy, but it was beautiful!

Best hike of the year so far. The abundance of rain had every rockhouse waterfall rolling. Very well maintained trail, very well marked. We listened to the reviews and went clockwise on the loop. Great advice!! Pictures really can't do this hike justice.

This was a great hike with great rock formations and the water fall

Love love this loop. Amazing views. Beautiful.

2 months ago

Moderate. Well blazed & maintained. Hiked counterclockwise. Begins easily through mixed forest. Descends to creek side past a few rock houses. Long rolling section along the water is very pretty/peaceful. A bridge is out along the creek but no trouble going around. Leave creek w moderate uphill. Finishes on the road w approx. .5 mi back to trailhead. Bit of a drive to get to this trail but worth it.

Easy. Well marked. Trail in good shape. Close to 3.5 mi. A lot of bang for your buck-many stunning rock features and small waterfalls on a short hike. Don't miss this one. Go soon after or during rain.

2 months ago

Easy. Well marked & maintained. About 4.2 mi with spurs to Needle Arch & Slave Falls. Really nice hike with superb geology & water. Needle Arch very cool. Slave Falls is spectacular. Recommend going after a recent rain.

This is a great trail with some good views but the best part is the Arches of coarse and the rock out crops are a sight also I think in one place saltpeter was mined lots of holes drilled in the rocks the part that follows the creek was peaceful but a little muddy loved it I rate it moderate

2 months ago

Nice hike, we cheated and came back to the car on the road.

Referring to the larger loop hike (about 5 miles), this was a great trail and hike. Well maintained and the arches are great. But even more, the bluffs and rock formations all along the latter portion of the loop were breathtaking. The loop goes last the northern arch, descends down to a beautiful creek, passes the lodge, then slowly ascends to the southern arch. A lot to see along the way on this moderately difficult trail. Well worth it;

Winter wonderland! Amazing day to be out!

Awesome cliffs, easy hike

4 months ago

Pretty good Family friendly trail. The hill climb may challenge the youngest hikers (pre-teen) but is not too bad overall. Lots of rapids to view and a couple waterfall areas if recently rained. Great camping.

Easy to moderate hike, that parallels the river for the majority of the hike. Not too much of an incline and plenty of spots to stop and take in the scene of the rushing water. The waterfall isn’t anything major and you could almost pass it up when there hasn’t been a lot of rain but was still a lovely addition to this soothing trek.


Beautiful easy hike... some amazing campsites right along the river...

My absolute favorite place to go, easy hike as well!

Great little hike. Good vistas from the top of the arches. The loop trail has some pretty amazing trees as well.

6 months ago

Possibly the best dayhike in Big South Fork, which is saying something in an area filled with good dayhikes. Arches are fantastic; try standing at the south end of either arch to get the best lighting for a pic. Passes numerous large rock shelters en route to Jake's Place (a pile of rocks, all that remains of a house) and Charit Creek Lodge. Soda and snacks may be for sale at Charit Creek Lodge, which also offers overnight lodging. Some climbing is required, but trail is mostly well-graded with good switchbacks.

Also, be aware that there are 2 loops starting at this trailhead that are sometimes called the Twin Arches Loop. A short 1.2 mile loop only goes over and around Twin Arches, while a longer 4.7 mile loop also takes you to Jake's Place and Charit Creek Lodge. This page is supposed to be about the longer loop, but some of the user reviews seem to be about the shorter one. The longer loop is the better hike if you have the time, conditioning, and energy, but of course the shorter loop is a better choice if you only want to see the arches.

Good hike for kids.

This trail is NOT 4.7 mi, it is a short trail 1.2mi with switchbacks you can pick up more legs if you want, still a very worthy but short hike!

6 months ago

We did the loop trail, about 1.2 miles. The arches are fantastic, and one even has a cave. There are steep stairs, so keep that in mind if you are hiking during rainy weather.

super easy trail but great none the less.

Middle Creek trailhead is a 3.4 mile loop for hiking. It is well marked, and has rock houses along the trail. There is one spot where you need to do a little rock navigation. No area to really stop and have lunch. Beautiful scenic road from Monticello. No GPS.

7 months ago

This trail had it all, very rugged back country! Ladders, bridges, climbs, rocks, creeks, wild flowers! we did see a copper head on this trail as well as bear marks in some mud so no doubt you are in bear country! Lots of caves along the way as well! We loved this hike and it had just the right amount of challenges.... not too hard but very rewarding views! We will definitely do this one again!

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