Explore the most popular trail running 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.

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

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.

This was really good for getting back into the hiking groove. It has a good amount of altitude increase to make it challenging but it isn't just incessant. All around an enjoyable hike.

on Middle Creek Nature Loop

hiking
2 months ago

great hike! not as strenuous as some with amazing rock houses and well made trail.

on Twin Arches Loop Trail

hiking
2 months ago

a beautiful area! hiked down to Charit Creek Lodge then looped back out through Jake's place. total 5.5 mi.

Best hike of the year so far. The abundance of rain had every rockhouse waterfall rolling. Very well maintained trail, very well marked. We listened to the reviews and went clockwise on the loop. Great advice!! Pictures really can't do this hike justice.

Love love this loop. Amazing views. Beautiful.

hiking
3 months ago

Moderate. Well blazed & maintained. Hiked counterclockwise. Begins easily through mixed forest. Descends to creek side past a few rock houses. Long rolling section along the water is very pretty/peaceful. A bridge is out along the creek but no trouble going around. Leave creek w moderate uphill. Finishes on the road w approx. .5 mi back to trailhead. Bit of a drive to get to this trail but worth it.

Easy. Well marked. Trail in good shape. Close to 3.5 mi. A lot of bang for your buck-many stunning rock features and small waterfalls on a short hike. Don't miss this one. Go soon after or during rain.

Easy most of the way on well maintained riverside trail. Moderate section beyond the bridge up to Devil's Cave & switchbacks up to the lookout. Historical bridge. Nice waterfall just before the bridge & really special waterfall .2 before you get to the cave. Cave is a neat geo feature. Leatherwood lookout just ok but the loop features a nice forest hike with small falls. 8 miles.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked this as combo with Angel Falls Overlook Tr. "Lollipop"out & back ,12.4mi. Most of the hike was easy with short moderate section on ascent to the Overlook. Well marked & maintained. Bridge over Fall Branch is broken but useable. Many good waterfalls & interesting rock features. Mult. superb overlooks. Mile section from Fall Branch crossing up to the plateau was outstanding. A lot to take in/enjoy.

This is a great trail with some good views but the best part is the Arches of coarse and the rock out crops are a sight also I think in one place saltpeter was mined lots of holes drilled in the rocks the part that follows the creek was peaceful but a little muddy loved it I rate it moderate

Referring to the larger loop hike (about 5 miles), this was a great trail and hike. Well maintained and the arches are great. But even more, the bluffs and rock formations all along the latter portion of the loop were breathtaking. The loop goes last the northern arch, descends down to a beautiful creek, passes the lodge, then slowly ascends to the southern arch. A lot to see along the way on this moderately difficult trail. Well worth it;

Easy trail but also gorgeous views along the western ridge. Very cool place to see the canyon, the forest and numerous views of the river far below while also logging some hiking miles.

Awesome cliffs, easy hike

hiking
5 months ago

Pretty good Family friendly trail. The hill climb may challenge the youngest hikers (pre-teen) but is not too bad overall. Lots of rapids to view and a couple waterfall areas if recently rained. Great camping.

Easy to moderate hike, that parallels the river for the majority of the hike. Not too much of an incline and plenty of spots to stop and take in the scene of the rushing water. The waterfall isn’t anything major and you could almost pass it up when there hasn’t been a lot of rain but was still a lovely addition to this soothing trek.

Beautiful.

Beautiful easy hike... some amazing campsites right along the river...

Great little hike. Good vistas from the top of the arches. The loop trail has some pretty amazing trees as well.

hiking
7 months ago

Possibly the best dayhike in Big South Fork, which is saying something in an area filled with good dayhikes. Arches are fantastic; try standing at the south end of either arch to get the best lighting for a pic. Passes numerous large rock shelters en route to Jake's Place (a pile of rocks, all that remains of a house) and Charit Creek Lodge. Soda and snacks may be for sale at Charit Creek Lodge, which also offers overnight lodging. Some climbing is required, but trail is mostly well-graded with good switchbacks.

Also, be aware that there are 2 loops starting at this trailhead that are sometimes called the Twin Arches Loop. A short 1.2 mile loop only goes over and around Twin Arches, while a longer 4.7 mile loop also takes you to Jake's Place and Charit Creek Lodge. This page is supposed to be about the longer loop, but some of the user reviews seem to be about the shorter one. The longer loop is the better hike if you have the time, conditioning, and energy, but of course the shorter loop is a better choice if you only want to see the arches.

This trail is NOT 4.7 mi, it is a short trail 1.2mi with switchbacks you can pick up more legs if you want, still a very worthy but short hike!

hiking
7 months ago

We did the loop trail, about 1.2 miles. The arches are fantastic, and one even has a cave. There are steep stairs, so keep that in mind if you are hiking during rainy weather.

Middle Creek trailhead is a 3.4 mile loop for hiking. It is well marked, and has rock houses along the trail. There is one spot where you need to do a little rock navigation. No area to really stop and have lunch. Beautiful scenic road from Monticello. No GPS.

hiking
8 months ago

Loved this trail. The rock transformations were awesome.

Nice trail, beautiful and picturesque. There were some decent primitive camp sites. I wish we would have taken our kayaks. There were bathrooms, picnic tables, and charcoal grills in the parking area.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike for new hikers has a few hills to push through but nothing major for those in moderate or better fitness. Nothing to complain about, nothing to brag about.

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail that runs right along the river for the majority of the length of hike. Also there are many great campsites along the trail!

backpacking
10 months ago

Great trail, beautiful scenery...

hiking
10 months ago

Easy hike if you just go to twin arches. A natural of wonder of Mother Nature.

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