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great hike, but be prepared. it is not an easy trail. this loop transitions from a well maintained trail to steep stone steps, to rock hopping across areas where no trail is defined. the stagecoach rd is amazing, when you think of how it was built, hiking up it, know it is a long steep grade on a rock road. the rim trail leaving the stagecoach rd is your typical trail, and easy hiking untill it gets back around to the point it has to cross Collins river. it becomes more difficult there with some rock hopping.

overall I liked it, the camp sites are nice, water is plentiful, while it is not an easy loop, it is not overly difficult. it is well marked.

Love this trail. Have done it during all seasons. This weekend we still had beautiful colors to the trees. The new bridge before the trail splits (Snow Falls, Laurel Falls) looks great. Not very fond of walking on logs and was happy to see it! Highly recommend it. Keep in mind that getting to Snow Falls, or Bryant overlook (crossing above Laurel Falls) involves a creek crossing and may not be doable depending on current/depth of water.

Not hard, moderate at best. No hard climbs, but a few of them add up. First one on the trail at 9:30 on a Sunday morning, lightly trafficked is accurate. I went after the leaves fell, so lots of crunching underfoot. I can see how it would be difficult after a solid rain, it was dry on my venture. No access to the lake unless you trailblaze a bit on your own. Different topography hiking along the ridge, but lots of time in the forest with not much to see. Lake is very pretty, but you’re never real close to it unless you go off trail.

No guardrail from the viewing area at the top of the falls!
At the trailhead you go left to view the falls from the top- go right to climb to the bottom. There is no trail running here- it’s all rock scrambling! Really, if you’re not going to climb the rocks to view the falls from the bottom, there’s no point in going!! Ozone is beautiful and definitely worth seeing just take your time and be careful as the mist from the falls creates slippery rocks. You could spend all day climbing and adventuring the back half of the pool and on down stream!
There is parking on the side of the road and across the street.

Great hike

Great trail, really nice falls.

It is absolutely beautiful

Awesome trail. The views are excellent. We did the full loop clockwise, which I would highly recommend. Going down into the gorge was very steep and rock filled. The gorge itself was lovely, and the river was flowing pretty strong. The way back up to the rim was not near as steep as the descent (again why I would recommend clockwise). Overall a good challenge but very doable if you are active.

backpacking
12 days ago

Great trail for day hike or overnight backpacking trip.

[TL;DR: Solid trail, good workout. Varied terrain so you won't get bored. Watch out for false trails.]

First, if you're reading this close to the date of this post, go now. The leaves just started really changing color about a week ago, and now it is in full swing. Lots of pines, but in the deciduous areas it is all red and gold. The trail is casually beautiful, with the occasional stunner just laying nonchalantly in full view of the trail. Waterfalls, cliffs, boulder fields, etc.

Second, someone below said this is harder that Fiery Gizzard; I would disagree. I would say it is equal to Fiery Gizzard to Raven's Point Loop, but with a different kind of difficulty. I would compare it more closely to Lower Loop at Fall Creek Falls, but with rougher paths and more and longer scrambles.

You will have a scramble on either side of the trail head. The one to the right (counterclockwise) is more continuous, with no real flat spots until you're out of the scramble. The one to the left (clockwise) is not a continuous scramble, but seemed more difficult due to a number of odd angles and weird transitions. I would call them equally difficult, but in different ways. I would recommend going to the right from trailhead, though, if only because the left-hand side gives you a beautiful spot to appreciate once you get close to trailhead on the way back.

Outside of the scrambles the path tends to be very broken and rough, but nothing worrisome. You will need to cross 4-5 streams, so keep an eye on the rain and prepare accordingly.

The ascent on the way back is fairly rapid, but not too much so.

I will note that I cut the loop close to the end: I cut across the connector trail by the sawmill campsite instead of completing the last nub of the loop, trying to save 30 minutes to an hour as I was racing sunset (late start, thanks Google Maps). It was a good choice, as I made it back to the parking lot just in time for a golden sunset. I carry night gear, but doing a scramble in the dark on a new trail did not seem like a good idea.

One important warning I haven't seen anyone else mention: there are false trails everywhere. Some seen ike abandoned paths, some for locals, some seem natural, but it is very easy to go off trail here. I went down two false trails (one even had a wooden ramp along a cliff edge), and I ran into two groups that had lost members further back on the trail, which I hadn't seen. One very tricky spot is when you cross the suspension bridge when heading couter-clockwise. Once over that there'll be a small footbridge. At that point the trail will be slightly behind your right shoulder; take an immediate right. Someone has tried to block the false trail (immediately in front if the footbridge) with a wall of branches, but it just looks like trail debris. Lots of blazes down, so when in doubt, just stop and break out the app, otherwise you'll be off trail and have no idea.

All in all, a good day trail. I completed 13 miles in about 8 hours, counting breaks, without being in any great rush (cutting to the connector did help). Bear in mind with the varied terrain and scrambles your speed is not going to remain steady. Also remember that you've have a moderately long scramble wanting for you at the end of the trail no matter which way you go, so don't exhaust yourself. Everyone I met on trail was overnighting, but you shouldn't have a problem doing a day hike.

hiking
16 days ago

Beautiful views! There are some rocky trails, so take your time. Also a set of viewing binoculars for people who are color blind!

Most beautiful hike I’ve been on! Water holes to swim, many many waterfalls, huge rock formations, history, it’s got it all!

did this trail Oct 13. nice trail. not the best rim trail. there is a huge mistake on this trail map. I took the trail to the gulf first on advice from a hiking pro. saving the bolder field for last. better than a 3 mile up hill out of the gulf. If you do this route please note that when you get to Sawmill Camp take the connector trail to the right just past the foot bridge. The map on here shows you going on the river bed and making a large loop to the stagecoach trail. I tried to blaze this trail but lost track of the trail. Had to backtrack to the bridge. If there was a trail there it would add around a mile and a half. Which it did add 1 mile on my hike going in and back out. Just watch for the connector trail on the right past the bridge. It takes you to the Stagecoach.

Nice easy to get to waterfall. I really enjoy this waterfall in the Fall when the leaves are changing.

Easy hike to the overlook from the Ranger's Station with a set of color blind friendly binoculars just at the end of the paved trail.

hiking
23 days ago

A short trail but the lower trail to the falls is beautiful...a must see

hiking
23 days ago

Loved this Falls! Pretty blue water! I actually climbed down the steep rocky mountain to get to the falls. Would like to come back in summer time and swim in water.

Beautiful

Very fun trail, very secluded for the majority of the trail. Not well maintained however so you have to go off trail sometimes, not a trail for beginners.

One of my favorite hikes! Highly recommend!

hiking
1 month ago

This was a beautiful hike! We only went as far as the cliffs but the trail goes further on.

This has to be my favorite hike yet! Such a rewarding view, so beautiful. It is rocky and has challenging footing but that's what makes it adventurous! Very steep climb if you want to go on top of the waterfall but once you get up there the view is most definitely worth it. This trail has so much to offer from some of the stone structures along the way to a few mines and neat bridges, it's a hike I would do over and over again.

beautiful, this is why we moved to Tennessee!

Absolutely gorgeous, both along the rim and through the gorge. I started at Stone Door and hiked the loop clockwise, going down through the gorge first, and finishing the loop by hiking the trail along the rim. The trail through the gorge is difficult, trust the reviews and be prepared for uneven terrain and a strenuous climb out at the end. Also, watch your step. We saw 3 snakes while at the bottom of the gorge, and 2 of them were copperheads. Regardless, this hike is incredible, one of the best I've found among the dozen or so areas I've hiked through in TN. After emerging from the gorge, the hike along the rim is pretty easy and there are multiple overlooks that are ideal for taking in some stunning views of the gorge from above. This one is definitely worth the effort!

hiking
1 month ago

Trail head is tough to fine. It is on the side of the highway directly opposite the paved parking pull-off. It is faintly marked by some surveyor's tape, but otherwise hard to see. trail itself was well marked. I hiked up at night and down the next morning. watching the sunrise from the overlook was amazing. Some great bouldering at the top as well.

Good water source flowing into the cave, which is closed due to white-nose syndrome.

Lots of fun and beautiful! especially when the rains make it flow wildly!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful waterfall. There’s an overlook that’s easy to get to. Be careful because there are no guard rails. Not suited for small children. Then you can hike a separate trail (path of large rocks) down to the bottom of the falls. It’s so beautiful and majestic. Wear shoes that can get wet and plan to climb around and spend the day exploring the base of the falls.

In my opinion some of the best views and waterfalls in the park. We started at Collins West trailhead and made the trek to Sawmill campsite #2 then dumped our packs put our tents up then decided to take the short trip over to the historic cabin built in 1910 .Very cool little cabin sitting in a green field. The next morning we took the Connector Trail over to Stagecoach and then over to the South Rim Trail and out to the Savage Gulf Ranger Station. I'll spare you the true details about how we ended up waaay over there at the ranger station instead of the CG loop back to to Collins West trailhead...

A little slippery in points but definitely worth taking slow to get to bottom. We stopped by a few days after the rain storms so some really great photos!

Great hike. The gulf will test your meddle a little. Took the trail clockwise saving the push up out of the gorge until after the creek trail. It will give you a great cardio workout, Was tougher than the climb down from the Stone Door area other than the rocks but they were not bad at all. Watch out for the climbers by the SD. Didn't want to put on water gear to cross to Ranger Falls. I will catch it next time. Creek was high and running fast. The rim is good but there is a lot of forrest time. Great overlooks just would love to have seen more. There was a group of Hawks hunting up and down the gulf flying right above my head. Really a great tough hike. I clocked in 10.2 miles and 1945 feet elevation. And 4 hours of moving time. (Take your lunch down at the creek bed you will love it.)

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