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Went in counterclockwise with some nice rock scrambles but up on the rim the storm has almost made it impassable.We went about a half mile in a hour then just gave up on following the trail and went cross-country until we finally picked the trail up later.Made us late getting into Sawmill and we exited the River trail on Sunday which in a nice workout.Overall a good weekend but would have liked to have had a heads up on the storm damage on the rim trail

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.

I didn't care for the trail. Too narrow of a trail, either pulling my dog behind me or he is pulling me out front. The gravel and bigger rocks were clunky and somewhat annoying. The trail meanders sometimes close to the lake, but then immediately takes you away from it. Just a couple of nice views, but other than that a fairly uninteresting hike.

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.

Trail to the bottom of the falls was closed for repairs. Would have liked a little bit of a longer hike but the trail was really nice.

[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.

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.

awesome

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!

walking
1 month ago

We took our 3 dogs through the “harder” hike and it was beautiful. However the Ridge Overlook we didn’t see an overlook at all. Gorgeous views and not rough at all! 2 overlooks we’re closed temporarily so I’ll definitely be going back to see the those at some point. Took us about an hour to go through the whole thing, but our dogs walked ya so faster than it would’ve been without him. Also very clean!

Fantastic hike. The kids loved every minute of this one.

Enjoyed going after strong rain. Powerful falls. Would prefer a little longer hike.

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...

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.)

I went after several inches of rain. The amount of water was amazing! There are areas where the railing is missing along the trail. Repairs still need to be made to areas that have been closed for a few years.

Went after about a week of steady rain and the river was roaring the whole way through the gulf. Fantastic views, lots of great spot on the rock bars to stop for lunch, and the falls were rolling.
Crossing to Ranger Falls was at least waist deep and pretty swift, so didn't get to see that. This trail earns its hard rating as BCG is pretty rocky. The climb down from Stone Door is bouldery but you can stay upright the whole way so not quite a scamble.
Very cool tough trail.

what an awesome hike! I decided to go counter clockwise so my first 3 miles were along the ridgeline; some great photo opportunities while on the ridge. the return was through the gorge and although it was just as fun, coming out was a bit tiresome with the extreme accent; the valley line would have been more enjoyable if I had come after a rain, because there was no water

hiking
2 months ago

Very easy hike to the overlook. The trail down to the base of the Falls was closed due to flood unfortunately, but other than that is was an awesome little hike. I hiked this with my 2yr old niece and 58yr old heavy set mother. She was able to due this hike fairly easily. Only part she had to go slow was the staircase which is about 40 stairs. Without going down to the base the whole loop is less than a mile.

wish some of it was open but floods and age have made part of the trail un accessible. But all in all it was a pretty hike and fairly easy todo.

Made a day hike out of this loop. Took clockwise route beginning with big creek gulf trail out of stone door. Views around the cliffs at stone door are some of the best around. Descent into the gulf was fairly technical at times with some large boulder scrambling, not too difficult though due to the short length. Added ranger falls trail at the base, nice lunch spot and good water source (worth it). Ascent out of the gulf up to the rim was a steady climb with a few steeper switchbacks and had fair share of lose rock, but again like the descent it is a fairly short run to the top. Made quick time of the flat and easy rim trail. Several nice lookout pointe along the way similar to those around stone door with similar views. Did this trail in 5 hours, plenty of time spent taking pics at bluffs and hanging by the waterfall. Water sources were available throughout most of gulf trail. Could see making this an overnight trip if adding greater falls or connector to Collins section. My fitbit clocked this trail a little over 11 miles, park map has it at around 10 (including ranger falls trail)Happy Trails

This was my third hike and my first one in August. The area looks completely different in the summer and not nearly as pretty as winter or fall. The spring was just a trickle. According to my tracker which is Wickiloc it was right at 14 miles, which when you are dead tired at 12.6 that extra mile or so is a killer. Do this COUNTER CLOCKWISE. Get the really bad boulder field out of the way at the beginning. This is really more suited as an overnight hike that a day hike. Just take plenty of water and give yourself way more time than you think you will need. The difficulty is up there with the Fiery Gizzard (maybe even more difficult). You are gonna feel it for a few days afterwards.

Sparsely traveled. lots of ticks. Hot when we crossed the meadow near the end. Easy terrain. Kind of anti climactic compared to all the waterfall trails.

I completed this trail as a day hike. It is extremely beautiful. The mileage and strenuous rating are accurate. The path is extremely rocky along the old stagecoach section, and there are boulder scrambles in both directions from the beginning of the loop. This is a really nice hike, but I would recommend less experienced hikers build up to this trail and allot plenty of time for completion. Big Creek Gulf and Rim trails are easier and may be a good test run before venturing this way.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike. improvements are continuing to be made.

The trail was amazing today. We took everyone’s advise and went clockwise and glad we did. Thanks to all before us for that tip. Ranger Falls was beautiful and the scenic overlooks were amazing. Ended up taking us about 5 1/2 hours and right at 10 miles. We are totally sore and can hardly walk but had a great time and plan on doing again in the fall.

Great hike, great workout. If your going to do it as a two-day hike I recommend going counterclockwise and staying at sawmill campsite and rest up for the shorter yet more difficult last leg of the hike which is almost all uphill. The water was down quite a bit when we were there even though we got rained on for about 50% of the two day hike. There were a TON of crazy looking spiders that kept weaving webs across the trails too which was frustrating. I felt that I was constantly waiving a stick in front of me to try to avoid them. I definitely recommend trekking poles (two of them) for each hiker unless you're an extremely experienced hiker. I slipped and fell pretty hard once on a slick rock even with poles. The sawmill campsite truly feels like you're out in the middle of nowhere and you can forget about the port-a-potty at that campsite. FULL of spiders and nastiness. Otherwise very beautiful hike.

walking
3 months ago

Beautiful falls and fairly easy and maintained trails.

I did the trail this past weekend. Went in at Stone Door ( best heed everyone's advice and do likewise), and took the BCR back to the ranger's station. I made it a point to check out Ranger Falls, although it was running slow as expected. With the side trip to the falls, plus the extra couple of miles that the leg from the ranger's station adds, my pedometer showed just over 12.2 miles. I was going to wait til fall or winter when the views would be better. but a free Saturday was available so off I went. Not as tough a hike as the Fiery Gizzard, but tough enough to leave me plenty sore the next day. Believe all you read about the long climb out.....seemed like the uphill would *never* end! I'm 67, fairly fit, and hike regularly, but this trail will remind you for a couple of days of your experience. Will definitely go back!

This was an awesome hike! We entered via the Stone Door Trail and continued on the Big Creek Gulf Trail and spent the night at Alum Gap campsite#2. The water source at Alum Gap (creek crossing 100ft down the GreeterFalls Trail) was dry so we actually had to go downstream about 30yds, until we found a small pool of water. The BCG trail is a beautiful trail with huge boulders. The last part of the trail that goes back up to Alum Gap is long and steep but worth every step.

Great scenery. Lots of rocks, some loose. They aren’t kidding when they say wear water hiking shoes. You have to go through water to get to the falls. The falls are beautiful! And worth the hike. But be careful. Expect to get wet. The swimming hole is perfect. Water temp very refreshing. Went on. Friday afternoon. Very very crowded but didn’t really slow us down.

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