Big Creek Gulf, Big Creek Rim, and Stone Door Trails Loop

HARD 145 reviews

Big Creek Gulf, Big Creek Rim, and Stone Door Trails Loop is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Beersheba Springs, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,541 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

Savage Gulf has multiple trail sections. This loop includes the Big Creek Gulf (BCG), Big Creek Rim (BCR) and Stone Door (SD) Trails to create a 9.5 mile loop. Savage Gulf is located near Beersheba Springs, Tennessee. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.

14 days ago

This trail is great. It has beautiful overlooks and cool natural features. It isn’t very hard either.
Also near the beginning of this trail, there is a short trail that leads to a waterfall. This trail is kind of hard but worth it.

21 days ago

great hike!

22 days ago

great hike!

hiking
25 days ago

Great trail with wonderful views! I was impressed with how well the trail is marked throughout the route. I would also strongly echo what others have posted - go clockwise (big creek gulf first) or else you are in for a very steep scramble at the end of 9 miles!

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail. The views are excellent. We did the full loop clockwise, which I would highly recommend. Going down into the gorge was very steep and rock filled. The gorge itself was lovely, and the river was flowing pretty strong. The way back up to the rim was not near as steep as the descent (again why I would recommend clockwise). Overall a good challenge but very doable if you are active.

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous, both along the rim and through the gorge. I started at Stone Door and hiked the loop clockwise, going down through the gorge first, and finishing the loop by hiking the trail along the rim. The trail through the gorge is difficult, trust the reviews and be prepared for uneven terrain and a strenuous climb out at the end. Also, watch your step. We saw 3 snakes while at the bottom of the gorge, and 2 of them were copperheads. Regardless, this hike is incredible, one of the best I've found among the dozen or so areas I've hiked through in TN. After emerging from the gorge, the hike along the rim is pretty easy and there are multiple overlooks that are ideal for taking in some stunning views of the gorge from above. This one is definitely worth the effort!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. The gulf will test your meddle a little. Took the trail clockwise saving the push up out of the gorge until after the creek trail. It will give you a great cardio workout, Was tougher than the climb down from the Stone Door area other than the rocks but they were not bad at all. Watch out for the climbers by the SD. Didn't want to put on water gear to cross to Ranger Falls. I will catch it next time. Creek was high and running fast. The rim is good but there is a lot of forrest time. Great overlooks just would love to have seen more. There was a group of Hawks hunting up and down the gulf flying right above my head. Really a great tough hike. I clocked in 10.2 miles and 1945 feet elevation. And 4 hours of moving time. (Take your lunch down at the creek bed you will love it.)

hiking
2 months ago

Went after about a week of steady rain and the river was roaring the whole way through the gulf. Fantastic views, lots of great spot on the rock bars to stop for lunch, and the falls were rolling.
Crossing to Ranger Falls was at least waist deep and pretty swift, so didn't get to see that. This trail earns its hard rating as BCG is pretty rocky. The climb down from Stone Door is bouldery but you can stay upright the whole way so not quite a scamble.
Very cool tough trail.

hiking
2 months ago

what an awesome hike! I decided to go counter clockwise so my first 3 miles were along the ridgeline; some great photo opportunities while on the ridge. the return was through the gorge and although it was just as fun, coming out was a bit tiresome with the extreme accent; the valley line would have been more enjoyable if I had come after a rain, because there was no water

hiking
3 months ago

Made a day hike out of this loop. Took clockwise route beginning with big creek gulf trail out of stone door. Views around the cliffs at stone door are some of the best around. Descent into the gulf was fairly technical at times with some large boulder scrambling, not too difficult though due to the short length. Added ranger falls trail at the base, nice lunch spot and good water source (worth it). Ascent out of the gulf up to the rim was a steady climb with a few steeper switchbacks and had fair share of lose rock, but again like the descent it is a fairly short run to the top. Made quick time of the flat and easy rim trail. Several nice lookout pointe along the way similar to those around stone door with similar views. Did this trail in 5 hours, plenty of time spent taking pics at bluffs and hanging by the waterfall. Water sources were available throughout most of gulf trail. Could see making this an overnight trip if adding greater falls or connector to Collins section. My fitbit clocked this trail a little over 11 miles, park map has it at around 10 (including ranger falls trail)Happy Trails

The trail was amazing today. We took everyone’s advise and went clockwise and glad we did. Thanks to all before us for that tip. Ranger Falls was beautiful and the scenic overlooks were amazing. Ended up taking us about 5 1/2 hours and right at 10 miles. We are totally sore and can hardly walk but had a great time and plan on doing again in the fall.

4 months ago

I did the trail this past weekend. Went in at Stone Door ( best heed everyone's advice and do likewise), and took the BCR back to the ranger's station. I made it a point to check out Ranger Falls, although it was running slow as expected. With the side trip to the falls, plus the extra couple of miles that the leg from the ranger's station adds, my pedometer showed just over 12.2 miles. I was going to wait til fall or winter when the views would be better. but a free Saturday was available so off I went. Not as tough a hike as the Fiery Gizzard, but tough enough to leave me plenty sore the next day. Believe all you read about the long climb out.....seemed like the uphill would *never* end! I'm 67, fairly fit, and hike regularly, but this trail will remind you for a couple of days of your experience. Will definitely go back!

camping
4 months ago

This was an awesome hike! We entered via the Stone Door Trail and continued on the Big Creek Gulf Trail and spent the night at Alum Gap campsite#2. The water source at Alum Gap (creek crossing 100ft down the GreeterFalls Trail) was dry so we actually had to go downstream about 30yds, until we found a small pool of water. The BCG trail is a beautiful trail with huge boulders. The last part of the trail that goes back up to Alum Gap is long and steep but worth every step.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice trail with some challenging uphill areas. The Stone Door was really cool and there were some great views from the Big Creek Rim. We started with the Stone Door, then Big Creek Gulf, and finished with Big Creek Rim. Unfortunately there was no water in the riverbed so we decided not to take on the extra mile to Ranger Falls...wasn't sure if it would be flowing. We were a group of 5 plus a pup -- the pup handled the rocky areas really well but it may a bit difficult for less experienced hiking dogs! With a few breaks it took us about 5 hours to complete the whole loop.

6 months ago

In my opinion, the Big Creek Rim trail hiked in conjunction with the Stone Door trail is the best hike in South Cumberland Park. The views are the best, it’s a great mix of challenging and easy, there are descents and climbs, great overlooks, and outcroppings for lunch or rest. In rainy conditions, you might have to ford a few creeks.

hiking
6 months ago

This is a great trail that is well marked and challenging at times. Lots of large rocky areas and great overlooks. Ranger Falls is a nice add on at the cost of an extra mile round trip.

6 months ago

Beautiful hike but be prepared or just stay on the rim.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful trail! Would highly recommend. My dog and I did the ~9 mile loop and we both really enjoyed it. I agree with the previous reviewer that you should walk through the stone door area FIRST otherwise you're in for an excruciating last mile or so. Be careful this time of year about ticks! My dog (who doesn't stick to the trail completely) had 3 or 4 on him after he was bathed that I had to pull off. He has a flea and tick collar too, so I can only imagine how bad it might have been without it. It took us about 4.5 hrs to complete: we kept a pretty good pace while walking but stopped momentarily in a few places to enjoy the view.

7 months ago

Great day hike if you are looking for something more challenging than a leisurely stroll. Allow enough time to complete your hike as necessary, the spur trail to Ranger Falls is a MUST. STRONGLY RECOMMEND starting with Gulf trail from Stone Door and finishing with Rim trail to allow time for recovery. Otherwise you will be making a steep ascent over rocks and some boulders to end your hike.

hiking
8 months ago

Moderate to difficult trail. I hiked this in a race day, so Big Creek Gulf was very well-marked, but I’m not sure it always is. Nice variation of terrain. I did it clockwise, so went down Stone Door first, then Big Creek Gulf (which was fun and loud from all the rain), then took the Big Creek Rim back, which was easy and flat after all the work in the first few miles. Highly recommend.

backpacking
8 months ago

Backpacked down Stone Door, along Big Creek Gulf trail and back up to Alum Gap campsite. Lots of rock hopping so the proper footwear is essential. Ranger Falls was gushing due to all the recent rain. You have to walk a bit to find firewood as it is picked clean around the Alum Gap campsite. Nice overlooks on the hike out along Big Creek Rim trail. Strenuous hike but worth it.

8 months ago

Went through Stone Door into the gorge. Very rocky, but once down there, wildflowers were everywhere! Beautiful The bolder filled creek was dry, but hiked to a Ranger falls anyway. It was running great, with a small rainbow at bottom. It goes underground, that’s why you see no water in creek bed. Going on along BCG Trail, I came upon another smaller waterfall. It also runs back underground, as does Big Creek, which you will see for the remainder of the hike out of gorge. Very rocky climb out to the rim. Rim trail has a few nice overlooks. I would rate this moderate, with steep climb at end. Don’t wear flip-flops!!

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful views, considerable elevation gains and descent. Tricky footing in some places over rocky trails especially when climbing or decending on the gulf. Take the extra .8 miles to see Ranger falls!

hiking
9 months ago

It was challenging for me as I haven’t done that distance in years. The views were fantastic- great time of year (early March) for some bonus waterfalls. Great sense of accomplishment after completing the loop!

10 months ago

great winter waterfall hike for ranger creek falls

10 months ago

Love South Cumberland!!

backpacking
10 months ago

A little bit of everything. Easy, fun hike with a LOT of great views. Some challenging areas (when backpacking)

hiking
11 months ago

Love this trail during winter months. Scenery is beautiful. Can be challenging in areas. Easy if you hike a lot and used to it. Take your time you’ll be fine.

hiking
11 months ago

I would agree with Paul Jacob that this hike could be rated as moderate if you hike regularly. While there are certainly strenuous sections and the mileage is up over 9 miles if you add on the extra 0.8 to Ranger Falls (highly recommend!!), the trail is super easy to navigate with all of the blazes and clear signage. Also, the uphill sections really aren't bad if you take the loop clockwise. I would think going counterclockwise on the loop would be harder as the trail ascending out of the Big Creek Gulf to Stone Door is steeper and rocky.

Since we did this hike during the winter, we were able to see Big Creek very well along the Big Creek Gulf trail, which was flowing beautifully in spots. The flowing water sections of Big Creek plus the spur trail to Ranger Falls made this my favorite section of the three sections on this loop.

Summary: If you're a regular hiker, this is a fairly moderate, mid-distance hike with some great scenery for the mileage. My wife and I were able to complete the loop in just under 5 hours. We highly recommend this one!

backpacking
11 months ago

Tough trail. Definitely go see Ranger Falls. Brutal climb up to Alum campground. Awesome views on the way out and the Stone Door is amazing

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