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Beautiful trail and well worth hiking down the steep hill and across the rocks for the waterfall !

Great hike. You’ll probably get a little wet near the falls with some rock hopping. Very pretty and safe.

Great hike for a Cub Scout Pack. 5-8 year olds did well. Little bit of horse pooh, but otherwise a very nice hike!

SUCH a pretty terrain. I’d never take a small child to this one because of all of the bluffs but I’d definitely go back

Beautiful trail. I would recommend continuing along the "unimproved" trail to the base of the falls.

Good trail anytime except when it’s hot outside. If you take this trail during the summer months, bring bug spray suitable for the construction of another Panama Canal

hiking
11 days ago

Good walk in the woods. Probably just missed the best fall colors. Well marked with good parking at the trailhead.

backpacking
12 days ago

Had a great overnight backpacking trip along this trail over the weekend. Car camped on Friday and 7 miles in to campsite 2 on Saturday. 8 miles out Sunday morning back to the parking lot (we went off some side trails adding to what would have been ~6 miles on Sunday). Would definitely recommend going counter clockwise. Hiking down into the gorge and back up the other side is the biggest stretch of elevation changes. If you're going clockwise you'll have this nice long ascent for the tail end of the hike. Going counter clockwise lets you get all that out of the way near the beginning when you should be fresher.

Campsite 2 has a well pump for water. Still recommend filtering the water but it is very convenient. Outhouses were fine to use. Clean enough, considering. Definitely recommend site 2 over 1, it is much closer as a half way mark.

The trail can be a bit difficult to find when you get closer to the nature center. Lots of fallen trees over the trail and parts were not very clearly defined. Not a big deal though, just had to take a quick minute to find a marker a few times. I saw other reviewers taking a star off their rating because of this. I don't think it was that bad. Still a five start hike in my opinion.

100% recommend this for overnight trips or long day hikes. Will likely be back

Pretty, very easy hike. We took our small dog for the first time and she had no problems.

[TL;DR: A good starter trail if you want to do long day hikes. the only tough spot is at the top (middle) of the trail. Useful as a gear-check and practice for scrambles and rapid ascents.]

Did this 3 weeks ago; didn't have the app yet, so here's a belated review.

This is a longish beginner trail with one short (~1 mile) tough spot between the two campsites. I went clockwise (left at the junction), so after Campsite 2 I had a scramble down to the bottom, with a rapid ascent to Campsite one. Neither is overwhelming, and will be a good place to get some practice and try out gear.

The trails up to the 2 campsites are very smooth and easy. Near the Nature Center the signage and blazes go crazy, so I did the last bit on the road, as I kept getting directed to the wrong paths. I recommend parking at the Village. You've got some good connector trails and on return you've got all the food and facilities waiting on you.

This is another trail everyone I met was overnighing, but I did it in 7 hours, counting breaks, without pushing for speed at all. Very good beginner trail, but I may or may not do it again (the trails to the campsites are kind of dull).

Tough!

Lovely hike. Go right at the trailhead so you end with the falls!

Nice trail. No crowds Baker Bluff and Jackson Falls are both scenic.

hiking
26 days ago

If you are looking for a solid overnight hike with friends I would check out this trail. We parked at the Overnight Trailhead parking and proceeded along the lower loop trail. There is a segment where you will take the paw paw trail to the remaining lower loop. As others have stated, doing this loop counter clockwise is the way to go. I would encourage anyone who is doing this loop to start here and follow the lower loop trail to campsite 1 and then down into the gorge. The gorge is absolutely treacherous so take your time here. The mileage to Campsite 1 is super flat and very quick, the gorge should take about as much time as the hike to it. On the other side of the the gorge that crosses Cane Creek, you will find Campsite 2. That is the campsite you want for your overnight trip. The hike out is about 7 miles and gets pretty dicey towards the Nature Center. Just follow the white blazes the entire time. It is very hard to find the rest of the loop, but stay with the Nature center on your left and you'll see the rest of the trail. The last 2 miles basically follows the road and pretty much sucks.

Campsite 2 has a working water pump and some dilapidated outhouses. It has great areas for hammock camping and open meadow tent camping. I would have given it 5 stars if it weren't for the terrible break down of the trail near the Nature Center.

Nice trail. Tapped the directions button on the screen and followed the directions by my phone. It led us to a gravel road. It was the wrong location. We had a hard time finding the trail head. To make it easier for you please note that the entrance to the Park where there are picnic tables a bathroom and a parking lot where the trail head begins is marked with a white sign for a gravel road entrance located on Highway 52 between the sunshine market and Walmart.

This place is pretty amazing. It has it all... rivers, waterfalls, meadows, and lots of history (as told through the museum and trail markers). I took my dog and she had an amazing time running with me through the meadow, hiking the trails, and playing in the river. We saw a huge blue heron and a herd of deer in the meadow. It’s a magical place! The only complaint I have is what others noted - the trail is just dreadfully marked. I spent 2 hours essentially wandering around looking at my GPS here on AllTrails and trying to figure out where I was, as did nearly everyone I passed. The problem is threefold: there are multiple trails and spurs (not just “a loop”), AllTrails is not accurate here (not even close), and again, trails are poorly marked. An old pro told me to stop next time at the museum to get a trail map, which I had foregone since I had my trusty AllTrails. I am not deterred though despite some frustration... this place is too great for that. I’ll be back again, and next time I’ll be sure I have a paper map and will keep my phone in my pack. Can’t wait to come back!!

28 days ago

It's beautiful but it really difficult to steep go downhill and claim up to the hill, make sure wear the gloves since have to hold the cable wire railing and some the wire splitter will cut the hand or finger

This is a beauty in the fall.

0.7 miles to bottom of falls, all downhill. good payoff

backpacking
1 month ago

Overall this is a great backpacking loop. There is no log book at the trailhead, apparently if you don’t book a site, they don’t know if you’re out there. We started at the overnight lot and hiked to campsite 2 passing campsite 1. The first 3.5-4 are super easy to campsite 1. This took us about an hour and a half. We hung out at the bottom of the gorge for a while as all the waterways were rushing with water after a week of rain. The ascent up the gorge kicked our a$$. This definitely makes the trail a hard trail if you’re doing it with a full pack. Campsite 2 comes at the perfect time and I thought everything was well marked to campsite 2. There are two outhouses at campsite 2 along with a well that we used iodine tablets just to be safe. #3 is the best campsite I would say at campsite 2. From campsite 2 to the overnight lot was overall pretty easy. The reason I rated this a 4/5 was because the trail markings became sparse after hitting the fall creek falls area and especially the nature center. The nature center is under construction and we had to guess where to go. There was also an area where you had to go on the road that wasn’t clear before getting back to the trail. We ended up just taking the road back to the parking lot. Overall a great trail, I would probably pack lighter for that ascent in the gorge as it took almost as long to go that last mile as it did the first 5. Overall my Fitbit said 6.17 miles in 4:15 to campsite 2 then 7.22 miles in 3:57 to the parking lot.

Great trails with several water falls!

Super steep but worth it if you feel comfortable

Really nice trail with a beautiful waterfall! You have to go thru creek to get to the falls which me and my sister was able to rock hop and we never got wet. We only did the Machine Falls Loop which was around 1 .5 miles.

hiking
1 month ago

There are several areas of the trail that are difficult to follow due to fallen trees. A few fallen trees were trees that once marked the trail but the blazes were on the ground- not very useful. I would recommend doing this clockwise, so start on the paw paw trail part and then continue. It’s rough for a one day but kind of easy to split into two days. If you go clockwise and stay at the last campsite you’ll get about 10-11 miles in and only have about 2 to hike out. Those sites are backcountry 1 I believe. The section of the trail near the nature center is closed but you should be able to circumnavigate this, or just begin the trail at the nature center instead of the overnight loop trail head

I was skeptical of Bowie Nature Park after a so-so experience on the Horseshoe trail, but I am so glad I gave this trail a try! I started out on the Lake Van trail which is very scenic but the terrain is quite uneven with a lot of tree roots to step over. I then connected to the Loblolly trail- very wide and even with some of the biggest loblolly pines I've ever seen. The Twin Lakes Loop trail took me to Lake Byrd and Lake Anna, small but very peaceful bodies of water with picnic shelters near by. I was struck by the contrast between the more wooded Lake Byrd and the openshore of Lake Anna. I took the Sycamore Springs trail which took me past its namesake spring with a tiny waterfall, the sound of which is louder than you might expect from such a small creek running parallel to the trail for a bit. I linked up with the Perimeter trail to return to the parking lot, and that last hill is quite steep to finish strong! I got a great overview of what Bowie Nature Park has to offer, and I will definitely return again for more. I also noted that this park felt exceptionally safe despite being rather isolated for stretches, and I, like other women I saw along the way, was comfortable being on my own here.

Driving up to this trail, I must say, I was a bit worried. Some of the roadsigns on the way out are graffitied with the word "SKIN" over it and/or shot through with bullet holes, and the dogs from the canoe place chased my car a good way before I got to the gravel road. By the time I reached the trailhead, I felt so isolated that I was sure no one had been out here in forever and it was going to be Vesta Glade all over again. Forthunately, all my fears were relieved by this wonderful trail. The first half mile of the trail is over mostly loose rocks, so hikiing shoes or boots are highly recommended. This trail may also be the best marked that I have ever been on with bright blue blazes to follow frequently. There had been rain recently, so parts of the trail were like a shallow, trickling stream, and there are two points that will require you to cross over the stream. The bluffs and their views of the Duck River are simply awesome to behold. Another reviewer mentioned there was a fence on the cave entrance, but this was not present on the day I visited. Be careful as you descend into the cave as the entrance is steep, and I slipped on the mud going in, busting my wrist up a little in the process. My courage was rewarded with great cave views as well as the overlook at the end, about 30 feet above the river banks. I can't wait to visit again and bring friends.

Park at the water tower and walk across the road to this trail head.

Load up with bug spray as there were lots of mosquitoes, spiderwebs and other creepy crawlers.

One of the best waterfall hikes I’ve been to in Tennessee. The stairs going down to the waterfall are pretty steep but doesn’t take 10 minutes or so to get down there. You gotta pay attention to where your walking it’s a bit slick after a lot of rain.

Definitely wear waterproof shoes if you plan on walking right up to the falls otherwise prepare to side step and balance on the stones and rocks. Beautiful picture taking. You can go right up to the falls and feel the mist on your face. It’s incredible.

The path getting back up from the falls is steeper than the one going down. Narrow in places and you definitely have to watch where you’re going. Only a 10-15 minute climb back up and then the rest of the trail is pretty flat and shady.

There is an overlook on the way back but after having been down there it offered nothing exceptional. You can only see a glimpse of the falls because there’s so much overgrowth and the bluff is really small, only room for a couple of people. I’ll definitely skip it next time.

Lots of wildflowers and lots of colorful mushrooms were amazing after so much rain. First of October was a great time for this hike.

About 2.15 miles from start to finish.

The address on my GPS took me in a deserted gravel road close by the actual entrance. Don't give up if you have this same experience. From this wrong location turn back around and.take a left turn on the main road and you will see a clearly visible sign for the park entrance maybe 1/4 mile down the road. Well worth the extra time finding this spot. The hike is somewhat short but you leave with some gratitude of what you just experienced. The water cascades are breathtaking and the waterfalls is very unique. I highly recommend this hike.
The hike is clearly marked. We had no problem staying on course even with leaves scattered over the path.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail! strenous.

Great, short, steep trail down to a couple of great waterfalls, with very little foot traffic. Water was refreshing and the river otters were very playful!

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