Cumberland Trail: North Chickamauga Creek Section

HARD 147 reviews

Cumberland Trail: North Chickamauga Creek Section is a 13.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Soddy Daisy, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
13.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,474 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

forest

river

views

waterfall

muddy

rocky

As of June 2018, the trailhead parking lot is closed. From the Montlake Road Trailhead, Upper and Lower Loop Trails soon merge on top of the escarpment. The hiker will then encounter converted mining roads that make for easy walking; coal mining dominated this area at one time. A rugged descent then drops back into North Chickamauga Creek Gorge to ford Stevenson Branch. The trail then fords Cooper Creek just upstream of its confluence with North Chickamauga Creek and then climbs out of Cooper Creek Gorge. Headed west, you’ll pass along the forested slope above the escarpment. After crossing Panther Branch, the trail emerges from encompassing forest to intermittently enter and exit an adjacent second-growth mixed deciduous hardwood forest while skirting the edge of a clearcut (estimated to have occurred around 2005). Near the end of the hike, the trail intersects an old dirt road where the CT, when constructed, will continue southwest.

Terrible trail. Extremely challenging for dogs on a leash. Hard/difficult doesn’t accurately describes traversing rock faces on cliffside hikes. They did add stairs though!

12 days ago

Took my dog, and ran into trouble when I wasn't able to get her down the ladder. This was probably 4 or 5 miles into the hike. I was hoping to see the campsite since it is apparently one of the nicest on the Cumberland trail. Still a beautiful hike!

16 days ago

Great hike and a great place to go for a swim, would go back anytime. The farther down you go, the tougher the trail gets, nothing bad at all though. The parking lot is not closed anymore, we had heard that it had been closed most of the summer.

1 month ago

Most amazing views. Worth the hike, but it's a good workout.

The parking lot is now open as well as the site where the old cable crossing was....there's a freshly constructed bridge just down the creeks convergence.....

backpacking
2 months ago

In from Barker Camp. Was amazing. Little overgrown in places and some downed trees near the campsite.

3 months ago

This trailhead parking is currently closed for renovations as of June 5th, 2018

4 months ago

CT has the best trails in the south. Top notch trail work!

hiking
6 months ago

Gorgeous scenery with some challenge

7 months ago

Beautiful views of waterfalls and the north Chickamauga creek. Some up and down with branch crossings

8 months ago

Cold when I went. Needs more blazes on the descent to the campsite.

trail running
8 months ago

Spectacular trail run! I did a total of 7.25 miles out and back and would have gone farther but got turned around at a river crossing that was too high, so I’m not sure where the turnaround point would be to make this trail only 4.1 miles.... Anyway, I loved the variety of this trail; lots of ups and downs with waterfalls and cliffs; and the trail went from an old logging road, to rocky, to beautiful single-track through tall grass up top. Spectacular views too!

10 months ago

Have been coming here for years. Lots of swimming holes and hiking. Big effort in trying to clean up the park in recent years.

hiking
10 months ago

Visiting from Florida. Awesome hike. loved it!

10 months ago

Great trail for families, as much of it is wide and easily traversed. There are many awesome swimming spots and most are relatively easy to access from the trail. It is very rocky and some of the bank is very steep at the beginning. Cross the creek to continue to a great swimming hole , known as Party Rock by locals, but beware it may be less kid friendly if there is a crowd. (But not to worry, like I said there are many swim spots) . There is also a short loop to hike a little way down the trail that keeps you on the right side of the creek. Use caution when crossing the creek as it can be very swift after rains and walking through the water is not optional.

hiking
11 months ago

great scenery and fun trail, with options to explore along the way

hiking
11 months ago

Had a great hike - some of the climbing is pretty steep! Gorgeous waterfalls.

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail. Didn't make it nearly the full 16 miles but saw only a few people in the two hours spent on it. Stony, picturesque creek bed with gorgeous blue pools in some spots. Perfect time of year to see the leaves begin to turn

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hiked it on September 17, 2017. Did not make it all the way to Stevenson Branch campsite due to time constraints. Started at Montlake Road trailhead and made it about 3.3 mikes in before having to turn around. The trail is fairly clear up until you reach the bluff past the staircase. We hiked through thick brush and there was a lot of pollen that gave me an allergy fit. This section of the trail needs some major TLC. I plan on going back in the late fall (once pollen is gone)and thru hiking to the Barker camp road trailhead. The brier branch overlook is fantastic and The views on this trail are amazing. Wear long pants if you plan on hiking thru the Stevenson branch section.

backpacking
Monday, July 10, 2017

One of my favorites!

hiking
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Moderate my but. Made it .65 miles and had to turn back. Very steep and treacherous.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Great trail. Plenty of water and views. More moderate/advanced than beginner duels to some narrow passes and climbing. Really enjoyable full day.

Friday, April 21, 2017

good time, rough parking, lots of trash

hiking
Saturday, April 15, 2017

This trail was so much fun! We started out from the trailhead on the Soddy Daisy side and day hiked to the campground and back. The terrain varies greatly but the views are consistently beautiful. I went with my girlfriend (22) and my mom (57) and with a moderate effort and lunch stop it took us about 5 hours to do. We stopped at a serene little pool and soaked our feet for awhile as well. Moderately difficult hike but quite enjoyable for a semi-frequent hiker. There were several people on the first half of the trail (which is definitely easier) but then after that we hardly saw another human for a couple hours. It was lovely.

hiking
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

had a wonderful time except the river was pretty high so it was a little difficult to cross but the view is absolutely gorgeous

Monday, April 03, 2017

I love the Stevenson Branch campground, which is about halfway into this trail. We started on the North Chicamauga Creek trail and hiked all the way in to the Stephenson Branch Campground in late October. It's a good overnight backpacking trip. Nice and shady for most of the trail. There are some segments on the ridge that get more sun. The campground is next to the Creek right where some small rapids are, so it's very peaceful to sleep next to. A lot of the Creek was dried up when we went, but there was still plenty of running water at the campground to filter and repack.

My main note for this hike is that IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT LARGE DOG FRIENDLY. There are two ladders off of a ravine - one at the beginning of the trail and one just before the campground - that there is no way around. We had our Golden Retriever and Chocolate Lab with us that we can't just carry down a ladder. By the time we got to the first ladder, it was too late to turn around and make it back to the parking lot before dark, so things got a little sketchy and we had some trust building exercises. We all made it to the campground and back out alive, but we were pretty stressed out.

Other than those two obstacles, this is a very enjoyable hike - pretty steep in some areas but not overly exhausting. Also, the farther you get into this trail the fewer markers there are, so I would definitely recommend to print good trail directions.

Overall - We would do this again, just without the dogs.

Monday, April 03, 2017

We started at North Chickamauga to hike all the way to the Stevenson Branch campground. I really enjoyed this hike. The North Chickamauga Creek segment is very scenic and peaceful with the creek next to you. We hiked last October, and the creek was mostly dried up, so I would make a note to check before you take dogs so that you know how much extra water to carry in. Also, while the North Chickamauga segment is correctly listed as dog friendly, the Stephenson Branch segment is NOT if your dogs are large and you are not able to carry them down ladders. Make sure that you watch signs and turn back once the North Chickamauga segment ends.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Okay, so we picked a bad day to go for this trail because the water was too high for us to cross the creek. Instead, we choose one of the trails that is definitely a workout and a lot of up hill! We ended up loving it though!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

this trail was one of my favorite because it was one of the easiest to run.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Great! So beautiful

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