Bearwaller Gap Hiking Trail

HARD 97 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
2201 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

hiking
1 month ago

Great views of the lake

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful views

hiking
2 months 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.

trail running
2 months ago

The toughest trial I have ran.

3 months 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
6 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.

hiking
7 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
7 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!

hiking
9 months ago

gorgeous lake view! i hike every week and to do the whole thing and back was brutal. definitely difficult. loved the challenge!

10 months ago

tough hike and if it's warm out dress for the heat. but the views make it all worth it, and sneak off trail when you get close to the rivers. edge and have a nice spot to chill.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful trail! Trail snakes in and out near the river. Some difficult terrain uphill and mud but fairly maintained. Beautiful wildflowers spotted. Trillium, Trout Lilies, and Falling Stars. Trail is hard to spot from the road. Must turn off onto Scenic Overlook and trail is nearby. Definitely a fun day hike.

hiking
11 months ago

Trail clearly marked with blue paint. Some spots leveled out while others were aggressive. Views are awesome. We hiked roughly 2 miles in from the Bearwaller gap trailhead (not overlook end). Wear proper gear. Some spots are not for your average nature walker. Don't underestimate the split of easy and difficult paths. Difficult route is for slightly more experienced hikers. Can't wait to come back!

11 months ago

Awesome trail. Gorgeous views! I would rate it as moderate, not hard, but it's still a challenging hike. Pretty lite traffic. We hiked it in early March on a perfect day for hiking; maybe saw 10-12 other hikers the entire way. Loved it!

hiking
11 months ago

BEAUTFUL views. My boyfriend and I love to go hiking and this one was one of our favorites. Lovely hilly area and the views were amazing. Don't under estimate it tho. Going down is fine but when you come back up it's a workout. I would love to come back again. Completely clean, trails well marked, bathrooms and just a beautiful view

backpacking
11 months ago

Great trail. There are a lot of hills to walk up and down with scenic vistas along the Cumberland River. Hiked it in mid-February. You can park overnight at either trail head. One point of clarification, the 9.8 mileage listed in the profile is the mileage for an out and back hike. If you were to hike from one trail head to the other it is approximately 5 miles. I camped at the eastern trailhead near the river and had the entire park to myself. It looks like it would be very popular during the summers for car camping, but it is also a great spot if you want a quiet night in the off season. There are also plenty of flat enough areas for backcountry camping along the way. There is a decent supply of water throughout the trail if you need to replenish.

hiking
Friday, November 25, 2016

We did an overnight trip. The campsite is great and had a spring.

hiking
Sunday, November 13, 2016

I loved this trail. We hiked it on Nov. 11, 2016. We dropped a car at Tater Knob Overlook and then drove a few short miles to the Defeated Creek Campground to start the trail, so we only did about 6 miles (the full trail, but not out and back). We saw 7 other hikers. It took us about 4 hours at a slow, leisurely pace (I had a baby 3 months ago). The biggest inclines seemed to be right off the bat through the stone garden to start and at the very end up to the overlook. There were lots of long flat sections. The trail is very narrow in places, but not a problem in the late fall/winter. It is also very wide in places, like an old service road. Since the leaves were off of the trees we had a view of the river for at least 85% of the trail, which was amazing. There is a GREAT overlook at about mile 2. The campsite is a nice stopping point for a snack and bathroom break at 2.5/3 miles in. There are awesome rock formations, interesting cave like holes, old stone walls and pillars from a former homestead, interesting plants (cactus-not expecting to see that) and enough ups and downs to feel like you're getting a good workout. There would be quite a few creek/water crossings, but we have had a really dry fall so they were all dry, as was the spring at the campsite. I can definitely see how the trail wouldn't be great when the trees/shrubs are in bloom though. The trail is quite overgrown, so I would stick to late fall-early Spring. The trail is market almost too well with blue spray paint blazes and some arrow placards and mile markers. I highly recommend the Timberloft Restaurant just off of I-40 in Carthage for your after hike meal. Happy hiking!

Friday, October 21, 2016

It was alright. took my kids some of the spots were hard for them.

hiking
Friday, October 14, 2016

It is overgrown to say the least which at first I thought was exciting and fun. It was also super neat to be so secluded and while on the trail I had a blast. After getting home from this trail was a different story. I had at least 20 deer ticks attached to me even though I wore pants. This is the type of tick that causes Lyme by the way and are about the size of a sesame seed. They are TINY and as someone with a bunch of freckles this was a pain. Then fast forward a day and all of sudden I can't stop itching. I thought I had a rash from something I must have touched. Investigated further and I had dozens and dozens of chigger bites. Spent an entire week itching like I had the chicken pox. So yes the trail was fun and to me not that hard but coming home from it left me with a bitter taste and I probably won't be going back anytime soon.

hiking
Monday, October 10, 2016

there's no loop so it's one long stretch and wow it was brutal. I go hiking quite often but honestly this was quite tough the hills are just up and down for most of the way. The place is absolutely gorgeous though on a beautiful campgrounds and I loved stopping at that Backwoods campsite that was pretty neat I would like to stay there sometime overnight. You will definitely have an amazing workout if you do the whole thing and back. would recommend this once in awhile but just plan better knowing it's going to take a while. It took me four and a half hours but I was walking fast.

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