Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Savage Gulf State Natural Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

we saw 2 bears

Great hike once again! This is my second time hiking this one and I love it even more now. Very challenging hike. We saw a large rat snake (harmless but huge!) hanging out pretty close to the trail, and a hiker we ran into said he saw a rattlesnake sitting in the middle of the trail close to the end... be careful!

backpacking
25 days ago

Hiked from Savage Gulf RS to the Stagecoach Campground for our first overnight backpack trip. As everyone has said, it's a fairly easy trail with several scenic overlooks. The sites in the campground were spread out nicely. We stayed at #10 which is the furthest from the water source. We learned a few things on our first trip. First and foremost, pay very close attention to terrain. I stepped on a rock and dislocated my ankle. Luckily we were about a mile away from camp. Second, there were a ton of ticks. It was down in the 30's at night, so I didn't figure we'd have a big issue. Well, we did. Use repellent. :) Overall, nice first outing (minus the ankle tragedy) to test our stamina and backpacking skills.

Hiked the North Rim Trail to Hobbs Cabin and back this past weekend (~10 miles Saturday, ~8.5 miles Sunday). Couldn't have asked for more perfect weather. Trails are well marked, there is plenty of access to water, clean campsites and excellent views.

Would highly recommend to backpackers of all levels looking for a weekend getaway.

Top of the gulf, in the gulf, swinging bridges, waterfalls. campsites, springs, history, and challenging terrain all add up to a great trek. Can’t ask for much more fun!

An overnight at Dinky Line Campsite is great for 1st time backcountry campers. Easy hike in on the North Plateau Trail so if you decide it’s not for you it’s a quick trip back out. Mountain Oak Trail will take you from Dinky Line to the North Rim Trail and will reward you with views of Savage Gulf.

Took the North Rim Trail to Hobbs Cabin to overnight there. Left Savage Gulf Ranger Station at 14:30 and chose this route as it was shorter than North Plateau and needed to arrive at camp before sunset. Was able to complete trip with approximately one hour of daylight left, but found this a strenuous hike with the fast pace and mostly being out of shape. Next day we completed the loop via the North Plateau Trail back to the Ranger Station. It was slightly longer than North Rim with no scenery but only one big climb and found this to be a good “recovery hike” after fast pace on North Rim the prior day.

Great challenging trail. With all the rain it made the water crossings a bit more challenging. Made for a slower pace.

My wife and I hiked the North Rim Trail to Hobbs Cabin campsite #3. There is a nice water source just down the hill behind the cabin. The next day we completed our loop via the North Plateau Trail back to the ranger station. It was a beautiful hike and one we plan on doing again.

Great hike!! Strenuous at times, but worth it!

backpacking
2 months ago

this large loop takes in most of what savage gulf has to offer. starting at stone door you hike west to greeters falls then back to alum gap for the first night. day two you hike into the gulf to ranger falls ending the first day at a camp site near Schwoon spring. on day three you work your way out of the gorge to a shelter at Hobbs Cabin. day four you walk along the north rim trail to savage falls where you can cut this trip short or spend another day or two walking back into the gulf then west till you ascend out at stone door.

this is a very strenuous hike. take extreme caution.

A great place to hike and get outside with so many trails you could hike for days. Awesome swing bridges to cross the rivers too. The view from the ridge was beautiful and we will definitely be back to do more hiking and possible campout in their several designated spots.

I only did half of this trail starting from Collins West Campground and ending at Sawmill Campground. I would deviate from this trail and follow the Stagecoach Road trail to Savage Falls Campground. This trail is a bit harder than others, but it offers some truly great sites. Collins West Campsite had a cliff where you could brush your teeth with a view before heading out for the day! Horsepound Falls offers a good break spot. Then there is Schwoon Springs right before you get to Sawmill Campground. This spot provides a fantastic hangout inside the cliff, hearing the water crash on its way down the rocks. Such a great sound to witness! This trail really does offer many features.

Great hike...always enjoy it

also great as an out and back to horsepound and suter falls in winter

3 months ago

can do as shorter 3.4 roundtrip to savage falls in winter is great as well.

This trail is not for the faint of heart. While it has some easy sections and some moderate sections. There are also some very strenuous sections as well. We hiked it clockwise and started with the waterfalls. I’m pretty sure no matter which way you go that last leg of each side of the trail will definitely test you. I hiked this with a 15 y/o and a 16 y/o and my kids and I hike pretty regularly but we woke up this morning all walking funny. It tests the legs out most definitely. But it is an awesome trail with lots of beautiful scenery. We didn’t get to see the views at the look out points because it rained off and on all day and we hiked in the fog a lot. But would definitely do this trail again but maybe next Time backpack it. Have fun everyone.

My dog and I backpacked the entire loop over 3 days/2 nights. This trail does not contain a lot of sustained steep uphills or downhills, so it feels mostly flat. The trails are well-marked and the bridge crossings are fun. Most of the really spectacular views are on the western side of the trail. After about 9 miles, I don't remember any views worth mentioning, but it was nice meandering through the forests. We stayed at Hobb's Cabin one night and then Dinkey Line campground the next night. Hobb's cabin was a bit of a disappointment. The bunks were really designed for children, not adults. I was able to sling my hammock up inside the cabin so I slept comfortably, but had I no had my hammock, I would have opted to sleep on the picnic table outside, or the floor rather than the bunks. The spring at Hobb's cabin was difficult to filter from because it is not very deep. A better place to filter water is either one of two streams prior to reaching the cabin (2 miles away if traveling clockwise, about 0.5 miles away traveling counter-clockwise). Hobb's Cabin is very dark inside, even during the day, so I wish I would have brought a couple of candles. Fires are allowed in the cabin, but you need to collect your own firewood and the windows need to be left open or you'll smoke yourself out. The next night we stayed at Dinkey Line campground. Water for filtration was pretty close, but spring fed, so a bit of a challenge. There was LTE service (Verizon) at Dinkey Line. This was good, but hearing the sounds of traffic on nearby highways kinda made it feel not so much like sleeping in the backcountry. I only gave 3/5 stars as a backpacking trip because I like to camp really close to water sources and prefer more privacy when camping backcountry. It felt like the campsites would lack privacy on a busy weekend.

Great trail! Beautiful views and nice campsites along the way.

Great trail. BTW at nearly ever rock outcropping I had a strong Verizon signal. Great to know I had comms since it was the first overnight trip with my little boy.

Don't pass up the Boulder Field.

This is a hard trail . Do not underestimate it. There are tough areas on either end but Very beautiful and plenty of spots to rest. Beautiful falls and ice formations in winter. Take your time and enjoy this beautiful park. grab your pack and go!

backpacking
7 months ago

My first backpacking trip. I started with my dog at the Ranger Station. Stopped at Savage Falls about a mile and a half in. Beautiful, but were on a time crunch to make it to camp in time. We hiked in to Stagecoach Rd Campground. Between 5 and 6 miles total. You need to leave the Ranger Station no later than 3PM to reach the campground before dark, and we left between 2pm and 3pm. A fairly easy hike if I wasn't carrying all my gear for the first time. We made it into camp right at dark, and thankfully managed to set up without too much struggle by lantern light. A very friendly campground neighbor had already gone and gotten plenty of water from the spring and shared it with us so I wouldn't have to find it in the dark. She said it was pretty precarious in the dark. A few decent overlooks, but all very much the same as another reviewer mentioned. Day 2, we took Historic Stagecoach Trail to the Connector (canyon) to Hobb's Cabin Campground. Day 3, we took North Rim back to the falls and then the Ranger Station.

Went back again. Started to rain with a mile left. Not a fun ascent out, but I'll be back. Ran with company this time. She was gassed leaving. Took too much water by far this go around. Guess it helped me keep a slower pace so I didn't outpace her too badly. What I do for fun is other peoples idea of torture. What is happening to me??? This thing is bad if you start too late. Possum Creek is still worse, but this is currently second place. Bearwaller soon. I have to know what it's like for comparison. Be careful once you hit the SR. The way down is sketchy, and the tiny rocks want to roll under your feet in good hiking shoes.

The trail is made up of hard packed dirt, loose leaf litter, some rock outcropping, pine needles and surface roots. I can see why this trail has a moderate rating because of the slight grades on the trail along with some rock outcropping and roots. Overall the trail was great and well maintained. My wife and I took to the trail late in the day and the last 3 miles was a race with sun down. We made back to the trail head and about 20 minutes later it was dark. Next time we will bring head lamps.
We really enjoyed the trail.

I liked this trail, overall, more than the Gizzard. Starts similarly, though even more treacherously, but is just as much of a workout. So far, South Cumberland has my heart as far as my home state parks go. Prepare as you would for completing the Gizzard and you should be fine.

hiking
8 months ago

Stunning views early on! The hike down was steep but beautiful. The creek bed was dry and the mosquitos/flies were out in full force. Lots of navigating on rocks and boulders. We saw a rattle snake near the end of the trail close to the cliffs. I'd love to go back when the leaves change and the creek is full of water!

It's always a go to

This was a great backpack trip. The whole trail is beautiful and pretty difficult terrain.

Good, challenging trail. We hiked it counter clockwise and saved Suter for the end. The east portion of CG was rough, so we tented at Stagecoach Road Campground instead of Sawmill as originally planned. The river and the sinks are great, and Horsepound is a great place to stop for a break. Suter is beautiful and a great way to end the trek.

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