Bearwaller Gap Hiking Trail

HARD 88 reviews

Bearwaller Gap Hiking Trail is a 9.8 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
9.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2132 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
15 days ago

Beautiful views

hiking
15 days ago

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.

hiking
16 days ago

trail running
16 days ago

The toughest trial I have ran.

hiking
16 days ago

1 month ago

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
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

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.

4 months ago

4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

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

hiking
5 months ago

Hell of a hike! Took me about three hours just to get from one trailhead to the the other. It was a very slow hike.

Spiderwebs covered the trail, so I got about 200 yards in taking about 15 spiderwebs to the face before I decided I needed to wave a stick in front of my face the whole time.

Tons of parts were overgrown and the trail was difficult to find at times. Looks like there is very little trail maintenance.

However, I thought it was an awesome trail. I would definitely suggest doing this in early Spring or Fall though.

Also, I didn't pass anyone so if you are hiking alone I would be cautious!