Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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
4 days 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.

Nice, easy hike. Princess Falls wasn't rolling very big today but still beautiful. I would love to go back in the fall.

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!

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
9 days 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.

hiking
10 days ago

This is a nice easy hike. The Falls froze over last winter and it was so cool!

backpacking
11 days 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.

hiking
14 days ago

Beautiful place

Some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen.

hiking
17 days ago

One of the prettiest hikes I've done in Tennessee

backpacking
17 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

Walked all that way and it was dryed up was also chased by savage blood thirsty bees and there was spiders with webs like fishing line!!!!!

hiking
20 days ago

I really like this trail. A good portion of it is along the Rock Creek. A couple nice camping spots on the water. Good for a one nighter.

25 days ago

awesome hike along a creek. great camp sites along creek, too.

hiking
25 days ago

Absolutely amazing arches. They are huge. Definitely worth every step along the way. Gravel road to parking lot with toilet. No water. Trail has forest floor, rock and wooden stairs with rails. A couple are very steep but just watch your step on the stairs. It is a moderate trail because of the stairs. About .7 miles one way. A lot of canopy over the trail that provides shade along the trail

The trail is actually 15.9 miles. Hiked it with scout troop and met up with several horse riders along the trail. Several areas were quite rugged and muddy.

WOW! We loved this trail. It is a tough hike and not recommended for beginners without the right gear. Hiking poles are a must and you need the tips for both rock and soil. Good hiking boots with ankle support and lots of water and snacks. Good to have water shoes and extra socks. Lots of water crossings. I wouldn't want to hike this after a hard rain!
Best to do counter-clock wise. Trail is marked well, but you do have to pay attention. Some of the directions are painted on rocks while the others are markers on trees. Lots of hiking up the creek, around, under and over boulders. Trees down in some areas and low hanging so watch your head. Also some wooden steps have rotted out, but the rebar is still there and easy to trip over.

If you are not in decent shape or have stability issues I would not recommend it.

Keep your eyes open for the wildlife. Enjoy the beauty and don't rush it.

Best hike iv done yet in the Tennessee/Kentucky area.

This trail rocks. Better marked than in years past but still moderately hard. A trail to take your time on & savor the beauty. Must rank as one of the best trails in East Tn.

This is certainly one of the best hikes in the region! One has to be in decent shape to complete the trail in 3 hours or less. Despite the rugged terrain the trail is well marked. Keep an eye out for bears!

Beautiful Waterfall!

hiking
2 months ago

One of the most beautiful trails I’ve ever done and it’s literally in my backyard. It’s definitely a more challenging hike and it takes a few hours if you like to check out the scenery. But man is it worth it. Waterfall and overlooks with caves, can’t beat it.

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

Loved it!

hiking
2 months ago

OMG! I hike every weekend and already done over 200 miles of trails since Jan 1 2018.
Been in Cherokee and the Smoky mountains and this is the best all around hike I’ve done. Charles Bunion and Leconte are better views but this trail in unique. Stopped counting at 15 falls, over 20 creek crossing, some very hard. U have to go thru small rock caves and the creek is part of trail, boots extra pair of socks a must, so worth it.
Colors of rocks and moss are mind blowing, if I die hope it’s hiking there put it that way. Leave dogs at home u less u drive to overlook, not for anyone who is afraid of creek crossings because there are so many. Have to use rope to climb down back part of trail.
Go Counterclockwise! Way easier!! You will see what I mean, otherwise will have wet feet.
Trail starts not where it says trailhead(that’s clockwise) it starts just passed parking lot up the hill. Way easier and The park rangers recommend this way on the website.
5 hours at least to do whole trail about 6.5 miles if u do overlook too.

Probably one of my most favorite so far! Loved walking down the creek and climbing on the rocks. Interesting dens for creatures to hide out in :0! Ladders to climb, rocks to stack, waterfalls to see! I think the trail was marked pretty good some areas could’ve been better, but isn’t that half the fun! :)) Definitely will be revisiting soon!

hiking
2 months ago

Echoing all of the other reviewers: this is a gem of a hike for this area! My boyfriend is not a hiker and I usually have to do a lot of teeth pulling to get him outdoors, but he loved this one so much he wants to come back and do it again--which is a HUGE success. It is such a fun, active hike with unique features, waterfalls, scrambling and creek crossings. I was a little worried about bringing our older dog because of the scrambles, but he loved it! We did have to pick him up a few times during creek crossings, but I think a more/younger active dog wouldn't need any assistance.

Do note: if you have a dog, you most likely won't be able to get to the overlook of the gorge from the trail. The only way up is a steep ladder, and there was no way the pup would have been able to manage. I luckily was able to go snag a peak while my partner waited with the dog, but it was a bummer it wasn't accessible for everyone. You can drive to the overlook by continuing past the Honey Creek Loop trail head, so if you can't do it while on the trail you could always go have a look before you leave--it's a lovely view.

The trail is fairly well marked, but there were a few sections where we got a bit lost and had to double back and find the markers again. Parts of this trail are marked only with the "Sheltowee Trace" markers, so don't be thrown off--it's the same trail.

I brought trail runners and trekking poles, and I think both were good choices. Your feet will definitely get wet past the ankles, so waterproof ankle boots aren't going to do you much good--they'll end up keeping the water inside your boot instead of out. The trekking poles really help with the stream crossings, so bring em if you have em!

This is definitely one of the best hikes in the middle Tennessee area. We'll definitely be back.

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.

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