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Cumberland Trail: North Chickamauga Creek Section

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Cumberland Trail State Park

Cumberland Trail: North Chickamauga Creek Section is a 13.2 mile moderately 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

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

forest

river

views

waterfall

muddy

rocky

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.

hiking
12 days ago

This was a really beautiful and PEACEFUL hike! However, the trail markers are not very defined or clear so paying attention to side trails will be important if you want to head to the Overlook!

hiking
18 days ago

Nice hike! It was not particularly remote - it ran along a river with lots of big groups playing music (Saturday) and houses on the ridge. However, the hike itself was quiet. We only saw one other group over 4 hours in the afternoon. The trail was well-kept and easy to follow. 2 of us were first-time hikers, and they had no problem. Pay attention: at about 3-4 miles in there are wood stairs on the right that are easy to miss. If you keep hiking and pass the stairs, you will run into lots of large, fallen trees in the path and the trail becomes overgrown. Just turn around and start waking back and you will notice the stairs on your left. Take them! The trail continues on top.

hiking
2 months ago

CLOSED

Very technical. Slippery after a spring rain. Cool caves

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
icy
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

hiking
muddy
6 months ago

Nice trail, a bit slick this time of year with all the fallen leaves, so take care. Cant wait to come back in the summer and do some swimming!

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

Beautiful scenery..... seemed in good shape to me. A little challenging but will definitely repeat.

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
9 months ago

Tough, tough trail that seems like it hadn't been taken care of in years. Needs work but certainly a challenge

hiking
over grown
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

About 2 miles in you hit an overgrown path of poison ivy. Recommend wearing pants lots of thorny bushes in that portion of the path. A few areas have small paths that you need to be careful they are like cliffhangers a misstep could take you downhill. The markings are white, about 5 miles in we decided to turn back because of heat and water levels. Beautiful views in some areas, water was nice and cool to put our buffs in to cool us off. The hike back I would say was physically harder than going in with the terrain. On the ten miles only one other person seen on the trail all day. We were training for an upcoming VA Xtreme Hike which made this a great trail to fit in

hiking
rocky
scramble
Wed Jul 03 2019

Once you get about 2 miles in, the trail becomes satisfyingly challenging. Beautiful views, scenic outcrops, multiple pools in which to swim. Wear real trail shoes. Do not bother with running shoes or sandals.

backpacking
rocky
scramble
Thu May 09 2019

Had a great time hiking this trail. We camped at the Stevenson Branch campsite which was gorgeous with it's waterfall, river access, and awesome stone benches around the fire pit. The hike definitely felt longer than the stated 4.5mi (one way) but maybe that's due to the lots of up/down. Lots of cars at the N Chick Creek Gorge trailhead, but the majority were there to enjoy the river and swimming holes; only saw a few day-hikers on the trail the first day and none on the way back.

hiking
muddy
rocky
Sun Mar 10 2019

Love this hike ! Not too challenging but challenging enough!

hiking
Sat Jan 26 2019

Beautiful trail, but after the second set of stairs and across the creek there is quite a bit of rock scrambling... just beware!

hiking
Wed Jan 23 2019

This trail is difficult but totally worth it for the views.

hiking
Mon Jan 14 2019

Hiked this yesterday in the cold and fog. It was indeed a challenging hike but worth it for the many elements and variety.

Sun Dec 23 2018

Hiked this trail a couple of weeks ago... stunning views and a moderately hard trail. Thanks to the CT for all of your hard work!!!

Fri Dec 21 2018

A lot of downed trees once you near the campsite. Hard but worth the views!

Mon Nov 05 2018

Started at the Jim Adams Wilderness spur leading to Cumberland Trail. Plenty of parking. Gravel, wide path for biking and hiking. Runs along Gulf and intersects with Bear Creek. Beautiful scenery from rock faces to autumnal colored leaves, waterfalls and swimming holes. Clear, blue to green water. Easy terrain first 2.5 miles, then starts uphill and grassy. Beware of frequent slippery tree roots. Some fallen trees to maneuver around, over, under. Great hike, so picturesque and uncrowded in Fall (sure it is a different story when hot!)

hiking
Tue Oct 30 2018

Fantastic trail. Thank you CT for all the trail work and your vision. Fall/winter late coming in 2018 and undergrowth just now fully clearing. Colors peaking in next 10 days or so. As fine a trail as we’ve hiked this year. And we’ve done many moderate trails in SW Utah, North Rim, part of PCT, and several in Joyce-Kilmer during 2018. The trail is challenging but not overly so. The gorge is fantastic. A treasure in our own backyard.

hiking
Tue Sep 25 2018

Loaded with poison ivy. Trail was overgrown and very narrow. Make sure if you have problems going DOWN steep areas you have a stick. We went about a mile and half in had to turn around because of it being overgrown with poison ivy. The river was really pretty though. Ended up walking back on the river bed boulders.

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