Explore the most popular hiking 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.

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.

on Savage Day Loop

4 days ago

this is the fourth time I've been to this trail. usually it's great but today the trail was closed due to dangerous conditions and fallen trees from a recent storm. We hiked anyway but encountered many obstacles that forced us off the main trail. We never made it to the falls due to impassable piles of large fallen timber, brush and branches. Heed the warning signs until they finally get the trail cleaned up and cleared again.

hiking
13 days ago

Very nice hike - fairly easy - just the distance. Waterfall is beautiful as is the overlook. Great walk for someone like me trying to get into shape and get some outdoor time. Was fun!

[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.

hiking
28 days ago

Great hike! Very beautiful and very well maintained trails. I went as soon as finished raining, so the trails were slick and muddy. Just be careful! To get the best bang for your trip, when you get to the part in the trail where it splits for the loop, go right first. You'll get a few overlooks, and by the time your turning to go back to the ranger station, there's the spur to go over to the waterfall - it's a great place to relax. If you have a hammock, there's a perfect area of trees and no brush at the base of the falls to set up. Then it's just over a mile hike back to the parking lot.

hiking
1 month ago

The falls are beautiful! Definitely a must see. The woods on the outer part of the loop are nice. Very easy relaxed hike.

We did not do the loop as outlined here because the campsites all along the North Rim Loop were full so we ended up hiking to Stage Road/Stagecoach #2, camping for a night, and hiking back out the next day. Savage Falls was a great way to start the day Saturday and end the day Sunday! Cold therapy on the joints and a great spot to eat. It was a fairly easy cruising-type hike. On the second half of the hike, branches of trail marked blue took us out to views along the way. Don't forget to reserve a campsite! In peak season, may need to do it 1-3 weeks in advance. Hobbs cabin looks like it books out months ahead for weekend nights. https://tnstateparks.itinio.com/south-cumberland

It is a beautiful hike perfect for a family hike!

Nice and mostly flat. Can def crank out some miles. Lots of blue blaze trails over to the gulf for some views. Some parts of the trail was like walking thru a green tunnel the foliage was so thick and green.

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...

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.

Hiked the entire loop 2 day/1 night. The trail is longer than marked- my watch estimated about 19 miles rather than 17.5. North Plateau is covered in thorns and seed ticks as a heads up. Water is kind of low right now at all the creeks and spring at the cabin. Good hike just wear long pants for the NP! North Rim is fantastic.

Hiked the North Rim trail to Hobbs cabin and stayed the night this past weekend. Took the plateau trail out. The NR trail needs some serious maintenance. Lots of trees down, brush and thorns on the trail. Got lots of poison ivy.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but it feels like the trail mileage is a lot longer than what the signs say. Over all, it’s a good endurance trail with great views.

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

Interesting trail to hike. Has 2 rope bridges which are fun. also a mossy waterfall. also the main waterfall which is pretty has 2 shoot offs the ridge. Saw a copperhead snake. well marked path. It was shady. also lead to rattlesnake point which is a great overlook.

Great hike, trail is in really good shape. Went with my 8 year old and it was about the perfect distance and difficulty doing the 4 mile loop for her.

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.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a rather beautiful hike with some falls just off the trail and a well maintained path. The campgrounds are nice, and I have stayed overnight here as well. I will say that some of the views were mediocre, and I would not recommend this for children, but for the most part I would definitely put this on your must-see list.

We just took a short hike to the water fall. The trail is rocky so have good hiking shoes and trek poles . Some place can be very slippery even when it has not rained in some time. Going in and coming back out has some changeling part of the trail but over all worth the hike down to see the falls.

My son and I did the Collins Gulf trail on a beautiful July weekend and spent overnight at Sawmill Camp backcountry camp. Instead of the loop we did down and back on this trail with full packs. This is a great variation of rock hopping, switchbacks and slight elevation forest trail. The elevation change was almost 1100’ over approximately 5.2 miles, most of which is in the front end from the trailhead parking lot. So down was not bad but back a different story.

This is a strenuous hike as plotted. I would recommend doing the loop rather than down and back if you do as a two day. Gulf trail down and rim trail back.

This is a nice, tough day hike. The trail is a great alternative to the busy stone door side of the park. I completed this on a beautiful Sunday in June, and I only saw two other hikers. Long sections include hopping over wet rocks, so it is slower hike.

hiking
5 months ago

Sharon Mugno and I did 6.5 miles in 2.5 hours and loved every minute of it. The trail was easy and beautiful. The trail was well maintained. We stayed on the South Rim. The canyon views and the rapids/falls were the highlight! Highly recommend this trail.

This time it was after rain. Slick rock field to start. Water flowing across places it normally doesn't. Good times. Saved a couple of hopefuls from making a mistake. They'd never done the trail, and had started at 2 for a clockwise hike. Boulders last. In the dark. Wet.

If this is your first time on the trail, don't start after noon, and please, take the boulder field first. That part's bad enough when you can see. Also, some of the stable looking stuff moves, so, yeah.

The least challenging, least scenic, and least trafficked trail in South Cumberland. On a positive note, it’s also the most serene. Little elevation change. The vast majority of the trail is in the woods on soil so it’s easy on the body. With little traffic all you hear are running streams and birds which is great. During rainy weather, it gets very muddy and parts of trail have standing water. Nothing a good pair of waterproof hiking books can’t handle, but wearing trail runners could result in wet feet. I wouldn’t make a trip just for this trail, but tied in with Stone Door and Big Creek Rim trails it make a 7.1 mile loop which is solid day hike.

Easy, short distance loop. It’s a little bit of a descent and climb back up but worth as this is a great waterfall. You can also step out onto the outer rocks of the waterfall to get close to the action (waterfall) which is a great photo opportunity.

hiking
5 months ago

Great easy hike. Next to no elevation but beautiful views!

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!

6 months ago

love this place. trail to falls is easy. very well marked.

on Savage Day Loop

6 months ago

Good easy loop with nice detour to falls. I did the loop twice because it was easy and quite.

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