Bearwaller Gap Hiking Trail

HARD 129 reviews

Bearwaller Gap Hiking Trail is a 10.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Carthage, Tennessee that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
10.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,201 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

hiking
9 days ago

First time I have walked the trail and had no idea it was as close to me as it was. It has rained for a week so the trail was often full of water and or running water down the trail in a number of places.

The trail is hard mainly because of the many elevation changes and long uphill sections. There is also a sign missing that tell you about the optional uphill section of rerouted trail and because the trail there is so new it’s very easy to loose your way.

But beautiful lake views, stone walls, and old building piers along the way is a great reminder of pre lake property owners who scratched out homesteads on the hills overlooking the Cumberland River.

Know the trail splits and it takes longer than you think it will and you will enjoy the gem of a trail.

13 days ago

Nice trail with great lake views. The trail appears to be the primary drainage route so it is very wet and muddy following a rain. There is a good balance of climbs and descents and some interesting rock formations and a nice waterfall.

hiking
16 days ago

Bearwaller Gap is a really fun and rewarding trail. The first part is pretty technical, watch your footing. Especially if it is wet, icy, or muddy. After that, it's pretty straight-forward, and the trail is marked really well.

Be safe and enjoy!

1 month ago

amazing trail if your up for a challenge

hiking
1 month ago

Wow. For me, it earns its hard rating. Did the down and back. In the morning cold and foggy, afternoon sunny. Almost like two different hikes. Only saw one other hiker the whole day. Offers up, down, water, outhouse, about all you could want. Kicked my butt.

2 months ago

Great hike

backpacking
2 months ago

Great trail for day hike or overnight backpacking trip.

hiking
2 months ago

Very fun trail, very secluded for the majority of the trail. Not well maintained however so you have to go off trail sometimes, not a trail for beginners.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike. I will definitely do this trail again. However, it is confusing at the beginning. But once your in about 1/2 mile it’s very easy to follow the trail.

4 months ago

Trails were not maintained very well. It would have been super easy to get loat, trails are marked by blue dots on trees.

4 months ago

Love this trail. Although there are places that are somewhat overgrown and full of chiggers, the trail overall it's great. Not to difficult in my opinion, but had some good parts that were challenging. Have been twice in the last 3 weeks.

hiking
5 months ago

Bear Waller Gap Trail is one of my favorites. It is a challenging trail in places. I usually do a full length both ways. I suggest starting at Defeated creek entrance if you plan on a round trip. if you only want to do one way or are a beginner, I would suggest starting at the overlook and having a ride to return you to your vehicle.

hiking
6 months ago

Me and my friends had a lot of fun hiking this trail! I highly recommend going off the beaten path when you see the opportunity for a good view. However, be very vigilant in keeping an eye on the trail markers, it will take sharp turns and leave you lost if you aren’t careful. I wouldn’t recommend taking young children on this trail because parts of it are difficult and very steep.

hiking
6 months ago

Not a great trail. It is overgrown with no real views. Also, not a lot of people hike this trail, so prepare to battle some spider webs. We did see some deer though

hiking
7 months ago

A great hike near Nashville, lots of elevation and scenery. Trail was well marked and maintained, but I did find a number of ticks after the hike.

7 months ago

Awesome trail for backpacking.

hiking
7 months ago

This trail needs maintenance badly. My friend and I decided to hike it spur-of-the moment today. I hike all 12 miles of this trail 2-3x a year. I expect it to be weedy and overgrown when it is late summer.

Well, it is only mid-May and it is already overgrown. In 2 weeks, parts of the trail will be covered. Bearwaller needs "friends" or rangers with weed-whackers. My friend and I turned backed after going out from the picnic/camping/marina area trailhead to the 2.5 mile marker. It was just too dang weedy.

Yeah, there are nice overlooks and the trail gives you a workout, but it isn't worth the weeds. I took 2 ticks off of my ankles when we got back to the car. When I got home to Nashville, I discovered 3 more tiny ticks on my socks and 2 more stuck in my skin. I sprayed bug spray with Deet on myself before I did the hike, but it didn't do the job.

If you hike this trail, be prepared for overgrowth and ticks. Wear long pants and use bug spray. I personally will not hike it again until maybe late October.

backpacking
8 months ago

8 months ago

I didn’t like this hike at all - beginning is all descent and flat for first mile. Not well maintained, unfortunate given other positive reviews!

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike, awesome views, satisfying waterfall! Had a blast with my dog out here

10 months ago

Great hike! It’s a real workout

10 months ago

Superb hike! Wonderful views of the lake. The path could use some maintaining and the blazers could be more frequent.

hiking
10 months ago

This is one of the better hikes near Nashville, hands down. This one is not for beginners as it consists of a lot of elevation. Really some great views over the Cumberland. Will revisit in the coming Spring.

hiking
Friday, December 29, 2017

Great views of the lake

hiking
Sunday, November 26, 2017

Beautiful views

hiking
Sunday, November 26, 2017

I have hiked this trail many times and in many seasons, and there is one patch that has always been difficult to follow. My daughter and I hiked this trail the day after Thanksgiving. We got a late start, so we knew that we couldn't do the whole trail which is around 10 miles (5 miles there and back). We began at the Defeated Creek Campground. Almost immediately you come upon a boulder garden that makes for many good photo opportunities. Then the trail gets narrow and starts climbing. When you get to the top, you get a choice of 2 trails to connect with the main one. One is labeled "Easy," and the other is labeled "Difficult." We took the Difficult one. It was a very steep descent, made even more difficult by the slippery, slide-y leaves. Hiking poles definitely helped. We proceeded down to a dried up little waterfall close to the inlet (looks like the first "v" on the map). It is a pretty little nook, where we stopped and ate lunch. The next part of the trail goes along the lake. In the summer it was hugely overgrown and weedy. Not so in the winter. The next part of the trail climbs to an overlook. Very scenic and worth the climb. We stopped at the overlook and turned around, because we didn't want to be on the trail in the dark. Much of the trail is covered up by leaves, so you have to depend upon the blazes. Some areas are very well blazed, but others are not. Coming back, we decided to take the "Easy" route...both of us agreed that the "Easy" route was harder than the "Difficult" route! Why? Poor blazing. The blazes are blue dots (2 dots=Easy trail; 1 dot= Difficult). On this portion of the trail, which is maybe a quarter-half mile, many of the dots are severely faded. The Easy trail has lots of switchbacks. Again, you cannot see the trail at all under the leaves. You have to keep a close eye on the dots. Do not talk to your hiking buddy or lose focus here. If you get off the trail, you will be on the side of a steep, slippery slope. Also, make sure to get off the trail while you have adequate daylight. At this time of the year, I would not get off one minute later than 4:00 p.m. The blazes are just too hard to see in fading light. Overall, I love this trail and its geographical diversity. Just be prepared for an unclear patch of trail. Also, we stopped by the visitors center and got a nice colored map. The brochure says that the "trail is a moderate hike for the majority of the distance. However there are some steep changes in elevation." This is true for people who are in good shape and can handle 10 miles of regular ups and downs. I would not advise it for someone who isn't an experienced hiker. Those who are inexperienced should find it fun, but challenging.

trail running
Saturday, November 25, 2017

The toughest trial I have ran.

Friday, November 10, 2017

This trail has amazing lake views from the beach to the cliffs and someone has gone out of their way to blaze (blue) as many trees along the trail as possible. Only advice I can give you, is if the road looks like a tempting way to get back to the marina parking lot, Don’t do it unless you must! The trail is easier than the road! Overall it was one of the most fun hikes I’ve had. Tons of deer. Tons to look at.

hiking
Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Rating as 4 stars because of how undermaintained the trail is.
My wife and I come here quite often with our toddlers (they hike it too). I'll start by saying that we only hike from the Defeated Creek trailhead and, because the children walk too, are limited with how far we get. When we carry the kids, we have gone to the first major bend in the trail at one of the small inlets.
The only challenging part we've encountered is in the first half mile, during which the trail steadily gains elevation, forks between easy and hard trails, and suddenly descends down to the river bank. In fact, the only hard part about the hard trail is the downward scramble you have to do. For the first year coming, we didn't even know the hard trail was the hard trail and did it with the kids on our backs. This trail did teach me the amazing properties that hiking poles bring to hiking. It has 5 star views all year. Expect to see plenty of deer (read: watch your dogs) and the diverse flora throughout.
But be warned! Wear shorts so you can see ticks before they imbed in your skin. There is no shortage of the tiny blood suckers and they are sneaky. Also, the trails have many fallen trees that block the trail in certain areas. Skirting around them is easy though. At some points the grasses hang onto the trail (probably where I keep picking the ticks up), but it isn't a big problem if you like more primitive trails. Apparently there is a backcountry camping area. We will be backpacking it soon if this is true.
It's a must hike trail and we love it.

hiking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

My friend and I just completed this trail. FYI...it's NOT 9.8 total. It's 9.8 out and 9.8 back. The trail is nicely marked, but overgrown. We were making funny noises to scare away any snakes (but we didn't see any). There are some random mile markers that don't appear to pertain to the trail so don't go by those. This app is much more accurate for mileage purposes.
I would like to say that she and I are both on a weight loss journey and we did the whole damn thing!!!
There was another guy who said we would have a hard time doing it without boots and a trekking pole, but we did it in tennis shoes and with a stick to knock spiderwebs out of the way

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