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Big South Fork Hikes Map
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Nice little hike, beautiful scenery! Whole hike, in and out took about 2 hours... and that's with exploring off trail and taking our time. Took my 6 year old. She loved it! Got some great pictures!

hiking
4 days ago

Breaktaking experiences of caves, patterned rocks, and mountain views.

backpacking
9 days ago

This trail is absolutely amazing and beautiful. The overlook is stunning and it makes the climb totally worth it. However, make sure to be extremely careful and to look out for potentially dangerous animals. My friends and I camped overnight in a campsite near the main overlook and we spotted a mountain lion that hissed and growled at us on the way back to the campsite from the overlook. The next morning we saw 2 Black bear cubs and their mom as well as a few snakes.

hiking
11 days ago

Awesome hike. Saw two little bears about a half mile into the trail. There are so many amazing sights along the trail and the terrain keeps changing. You’ll cross streams, crawl through little caves and scramble over boulders. There’s so much to see we spent six hours out there. Bring a lot of drinks and you can’t put on enough bug spray.

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
25 days ago

Hiking was very difficult but well worth the trip. The hike was definitely more than 5 miles according to the fit bit it was 7.17 pack plenty of water and snacks.

hiking
1 month 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!

great loved the hike

I found this hike pretty easy! Trail was pretty well marked and we did it counterclockwise. Very beautiful rock formations. The middle section has some rock scrambling but not much. It was fun to go thru the caves and rock tunnels. My husband ended up spraining his ankle mid way thru, so we had a very slow final 2.5 miles... but even with that we finished in less than 4 hours. Probably could have finished in 3 hours. The first 1 1/2 miles and last 2 miles are fairly “flat” and easy trail.

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

The Charit Creek Lodge is a rewarding treat to see along the loop. Lots of history in this area. Very pretty area!

Amazing hike. Not for the faint of heart. Go counter clock-wise, makes scrambling, climbing and looking for signs much easier. In July not to much water, but some rocks are slippery, so poles and good hikers are a must. Take your time and enjoy the scenery. My husband and I are avid hikers. Took us about 5 hours with a stop for lunch at the overlook. Best to plan an hour per mile.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Have done this hike quite a few times and it never ceases to amaze us! My watch always records it at about 1.7. Trail markers are fairly easy to follow and the trail is well traveled. Did the trail with kids and they love it! It is technical in some sections (the descent down into the waterfall area and the ascent out of the waterfall area).

hiking
1 month 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

Make sure that you and your group are prepared if you plan to hike this trail. You will read many reviews stating two varying opinions regarding how well the trail is marked and this is due to the direction you hike the loop. Almost all of the trail blazes are oriented so that they are easy to see when hiking this loop in a Counter-Clockwise direction. Even the painted arrows are oriented Counter Clockwise. So, hiking this loop clockwise makes finding the trail markers much more difficult.

The posted 5.6 miles is not accurate either, we had 5 people running different tracking and GPS apps and no one had less than 8 miles. Some of the additional distance was added looking for the marked trail but not an additional 2.4 miles. We did visit some side trails to check out rock features but this is something to keep in mind when planning this hike.

If you are hiking this trail in the heat of the day, bring plenty of water or a way to filter and replenish what you have. The heat and humidity in the summer of Tennessee just sucks the moisture out of your body and it's easy to get dehydrated. Not something you want on this trail given its strenuous nature. Bring food or snacks for energy as well.

Poles are extremely helpful and you need good boots for this trail as it entails a lot of rock hopping and down climbing. Gloves to protect your hands can be helpful. Bring bug spray if hiking this trail in any season other than winter, the horse flies are horrible.

As far as the trail goes, it's beautiful with huge rock features, walls, massive rock shelters, water falls, creek crossings, rock hopping and route finding. In most places, the trail is well worn but in others it becomes a bit more obscure and many social trails leading in different directions can become confusing. There are some excellent campsites along the trail if you plan to overnight. There aren't too many "Views" on this trail other than the marked Overlook as the trail is primarily under the canopy of the trees, rhododendron, and Mountain Laurel (which bloom the first and second week in June). Plenty of up and down hiking over uneven terrain to keep even the worst masochist happy! This is not an easy hike so the strenuous designation is accurate. Hiking this trail after a big rain will make creek crossings more difficult and your footing a bit more sketchy.

It's a great trail but it wouldn't make my top ten list for hiking.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

This is the best trail I have hiked in the middle Tennessee area. It’s challenging but a great adventure that is worth the workout. Fairly dry at the moment which makes the creek crossings easy and removes the worry of wet feet, however it also makes the waterfalls a lot less exciting. I would definitely return to this trail.

One of my best hikes yet! Most amazing sites to see and is so very different every section you get to. Very wet a good hiking sandal would great but has some very challenging areas that use a good boot as well. Our kids are 10 and 11 did great on this hike. It however very challenging so if your not in the best of shape you will be very sore the following day. Has some very slippery areas. But over all 5 stars!

hiking
2 months ago

Pure magic. I've never had an experience quite like this trail. I hiked it on a foggy/misty day and it only added to the environment. You have to use your trail finding skills to get through it, but that is part of the fun on this unique trail. You encounter the best portion of the trail once you pass the overlook area going counterclockwise.

camping
2 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

2 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.

hiking
2 months ago

My husband and I just visited this trail the other day, here it is June. It was beautiful but the water wasn't really running in most areas, although the waterfall was enough to get some good photos.
A good thing to remember is to follow the tree markers and how the path has been laid out, because there's a few areas where it gets a little hairy if you're new to the area. My husband and I went from the starting point, around the top of the waterfall, around the corner going down beside the rocks at the base of the waterfall (gorgeous area), but we had no idea the path continued past the waterfall down there! And we made a mistake of forgetting the map/the app wouldn't load.
We ended up turning around and going back out the way we came. Nothing is marked down there to show where to go any further. Make sure to bring the map with you or a screenshot of the map, if you go out seeking to walk the entire trail. Again, the app didn't work for us off of wifi and service.
I'll give it 4 stars for the pretty photos I was able to capture:)

backpacking
2 months ago

Very much a favorite trail of mine. Yes, it was challenging, but well worth the steep climbs and descents. The views, the rock houses, the boulders, the cliffs, all were breathtaking. At times, you enter places that look like a "fairyland". Unfortunately, water flow was minimal so not much on waterfalls. Great excuse to go back.

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