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Lower Loop Trail

HARD 82 reviews

Lower Loop Trail is a 12.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Pikeville, 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 but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 12.9 miles Elevation Gain: 1,958 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

As of 5/19/19, the Lower Loop Trail is closed due to the swinging bridge being washed out. For updates, visit this site: https://tnstateparks.com/parks/activities/fall-creek-falls

hiking
17 days ago

This trail is way over grown. Biking it wasn’t even possible, and I wouldn’t even want to hike it either. Thorn vines tore up our legs and we had to turn around about 200 yards in. 7/5/19

hiking
bridge out
bugs
over grown
24 days ago

Hiked the Lower Loop trail to backcountry area 2 on 6/27-6/28. The suspension bridge between backcountry 1 and 2 is washed out but the trail itself is still open. The trail was great until passing the suspension bridge over Piney Falls. It became more over grown and many large trees were down across the trail. The backcountry site itself was great! Very secluded and quiet and had a well for pumping water. I would do the loop again if the suspension bridge was replaced so I could hike the entire loop.

hiking
closed
2 months ago

Trail closed as of May 2019. Nothing is posted until around 4 miles in

hiking
bridge out
3 months ago

Our first backpacking adventure as a family The trail head and directions were a bit sketchy especially through the nature center area. About four and half hours in we thought we might have bitten off more than we could chew but we soon reached backcountry site 2. Campsite was nice and well water worked great. Our hike out the next day was much easier without the firs timer jitters. Overall was a great experience !

hiking
blowdown
bridge out
washed out
4 months ago

This would have been a great trip. Except the suspension bridge at the half way point is down, and no one at the park has thought to put up a sign at the trailhead, or even online for that matter.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

Hiked this trail today. It kicked my butt. I hope I can walk tomorrow. Had a great time, but the boulder field and then the hike up the steep mountain wiped me out. We made it back to the parking lot but it was after dark. Plan extra time for the boulder field so that you have enough time to complete the hike. Note, no pictures of this in on AllTrails (maybe somebody can get some when they go through). Well marked. Great water falls. All-Trails was a great help a couple of times where we lost the trails. Good idea to bring a phone charger so that you can use your phone to help navigate if you miss a turn or can't find the blaze.

6 months ago

We did this hike as an overnight backpacking trip and really enjoyed it. It was challenging especially in the areas where you had to scramble over the rocks. Had a little difficulty following the trail markings at times. Beautiful park!

backpacking
8 months ago

Had a great overnight backpacking trip along this trail over the weekend. Car camped on Friday and 7 miles in to campsite 2 on Saturday. 8 miles out Sunday morning back to the parking lot (we went off some side trails adding to what would have been ~6 miles on Sunday). Would definitely recommend going counter clockwise. Hiking down into the gorge and back up the other side is the biggest stretch of elevation changes. If you're going clockwise you'll have this nice long ascent for the tail end of the hike. Going counter clockwise lets you get all that out of the way near the beginning when you should be fresher. Campsite 2 has a well pump for water. Still recommend filtering the water but it is very convenient. Outhouses were fine to use. Clean enough, considering. Definitely recommend site 2 over 1, it is much closer as a half way mark. The trail can be a bit difficult to find when you get closer to the nature center. Lots of fallen trees over the trail and parts were not very clearly defined. Not a big deal though, just had to take a quick minute to find a marker a few times. I saw other reviewers taking a star off their rating because of this. I don't think it was that bad. Still a five start hike in my opinion. 100% recommend this for overnight trips or long day hikes. Will likely be back

hiking
8 months ago

A good workout in the middle, with longish hikes on rough trail on either side. In the middle, the left (clockwise) is rock scramble, the right (counterclockwise) is terraces and steep angles. You'll get a great ascent either way.

hiking
8 months ago

If you are looking for a solid overnight hike with friends I would check out this trail. We parked at the Overnight Trailhead parking and proceeded along the lower loop trail. There is a segment where you will take the paw paw trail to the remaining lower loop. As others have stated, doing this loop counter clockwise is the way to go. I would encourage anyone who is doing this loop to start here and follow the lower loop trail to campsite 1 and then down into the gorge. The gorge is absolutely treacherous so take your time here. The mileage to Campsite 1 is super flat and very quick, the gorge should take about as much time as the hike to it. On the other side of the the gorge that crosses Cane Creek, you will find Campsite 2. That is the campsite you want for your overnight trip. The hike out is about 7 miles and gets pretty dicey towards the Nature Center. Just follow the white blazes the entire time. It is very hard to find the rest of the loop, but stay with the Nature center on your left and you'll see the rest of the trail. The last 2 miles basically follows the road and pretty much sucks. Campsite 2 has a working water pump and some dilapidated outhouses. It has great areas for hammock camping and open meadow tent camping. I would have given it 5 stars if it weren't for the terrible break down of the trail near the Nature Center.

backpacking
9 months ago

Overall this is a great backpacking loop. There is no log book at the trailhead, apparently if you don’t book a site, they don’t know if you’re out there. We started at the overnight lot and hiked to campsite 2 passing campsite 1. The first 3.5-4 are super easy to campsite 1. This took us about an hour and a half. We hung out at the bottom of the gorge for a while as all the waterways were rushing with water after a week of rain. The ascent up the gorge kicked our a$$. This definitely makes the trail a hard trail if you’re doing it with a full pack. Campsite 2 comes at the perfect time and I thought everything was well marked to campsite 2. There are two outhouses at campsite 2 along with a well that we used iodine tablets just to be safe. #3 is the best campsite I would say at campsite 2. From campsite 2 to the overnight lot was overall pretty easy. The reason I rated this a 4/5 was because the trail markings became sparse after hitting the fall creek falls area and especially the nature center. The nature center is under construction and we had to guess where to go. There was also an area where you had to go on the road that wasn’t clear before getting back to the trail. We ended up just taking the road back to the parking lot. Overall a great trail, I would probably pack lighter for that ascent in the gorge as it took almost as long to go that last mile as it did the first 5. Overall my Fitbit said 6.17 miles in 4:15 to campsite 2 then 7.22 miles in 3:57 to the parking lot.

hiking
9 months ago

There are several areas of the trail that are difficult to follow due to fallen trees. A few fallen trees were trees that once marked the trail but the blazes were on the ground- not very useful. I would recommend doing this clockwise, so start on the paw paw trail part and then continue. It’s rough for a one day but kind of easy to split into two days. If you go clockwise and stay at the last campsite you’ll get about 10-11 miles in and only have about 2 to hike out. Those sites are backcountry 1 I believe. The section of the trail near the nature center is closed but you should be able to circumnavigate this, or just begin the trail at the nature center instead of the overnight loop trail head

backpacking
Monday, July 09, 2018

Great Trail, very scenic and well marked. Great for backpacking! The only section of the trail that needed improvement is around the third suspension bridge that crosses over the cascades. It was very crowded and a lot of litter. Overall a great experience and I would highly recommend this Trail.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

**HEADS UP: The lower loop trail is partially broken up due to renovating the Nature Center. Instead of taking the Overlook trail, take the Woodlands trail instead. Otherwise an awesome trail. Hiked this one day and the Upper Loop the next. Enjoy and LNT!

backpacking
Sunday, June 10, 2018

Nice trail, very bland in sections but worth it for the views around the rim. The center bridge is a little iffy, boards are looking their age. The hike down and back up is the only hard section but it is very steep. Great overnight trip. 6/8 -6/9

backpacking
Monday, June 04, 2018

My Wife and I did this trail as beginners and I have to say it was the best hike of our lives the trail is very well marked till you get closer to the falls and nature center which are closed and no one at the camp check in told us but we finally made our way out breath taking views we took a few other trails on to get the full experience needless to say if your planning on this hike definitely go counter clockwise the climb up after the rope bridge crossing the river is very steep much easier to descend than ascend but all in all if your wanting to go backpacking this is the trip to take

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

a great trip for experienced backpackers

hiking
Saturday, April 28, 2018

I have completed this hike twice. Both times hiking the first day to campsite #2. The gorge before you get to campsite #2 is difficult. I did come across a rattle snake on the first time around when descending the gorge to the suspension bridge. So BEWARE! The suspension bridge is a great place to take a rest before ascending up the gorge. Campsite #2 is great. There is a water pump and does work despite what the website says. There is two main water sources until campsite #2 so there will be plenty of chances for water. Day two was a lot easier and the elevation was pretty level. This is were you will see all the scenic waterfalls. This is were you will encounter more public traffic AND A SPIDER WEB OF TRAILS that got us lost at the end towards the Nature Center. You must follow the trail down to the suspension bridge. After the suspension bridge, walk directly across to the parking lot to the Paw Paw trail along the tree line, then back to the parking lot to your car. This is a very rewarding trail and I absolutely loved it. Wear good shoes and follow the trail signs the best you can. This hike seem a lot longer than the miles stated!

backpacking
Sunday, April 22, 2018

We did this hike in April. If you go counter clockwise then campsite #2 is pretty much the halfway point. That’s where we stayed. It’s a pretty nice area, and there is a well there, but we still filtered the water just to be safe. The only really difficult part of the entire loop was hiking up out of Cane Creek gorge. It wasn’t all that bad, but it was fairly steep in some spots. Altogether you cross 3 suspension bridges on this loop, so that’s cool.

hiking
Friday, April 20, 2018

First time on this trail. Went because it said it was hard. It says overnight, but is easily done as a day hike by anyone with enough time or experience. My total time on trail was 5h20m. Honestly, the trail is pretty boring, and just mileage, with the exception of the gorge (which in spring was gloriously flowery) and the falls (which, ya know, are falls) A word of advice I either missed or wasn't there. To hike the upper and lower loop, they want you to have a permit from the camper check in. No cost involved, just some paperwork for your dash and to keep on your person. It's basically like the sign in sheet at your usual trail head, only requires more effort. They say it's for safety, it was just a 15 minute delay to me. To get to the check in, overshoot the last left and drive straight until you see a building with camper check in on it. Just past the last left, on the left, is a friends of the park depot. They have maps and other souvenir type things. Got a magnet for my efforts there.

backpacking
Saturday, March 24, 2018

backpacking
Sunday, December 24, 2017

Great trail that got me hooked on backpacking. Amazing views of the falls, great campsites with plenty of water available along the way. I love the suspension bridges. Great two day backpacking/camping adventure. Definitely some tough elevation changes.

backpacking
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

This is hard trail due to hiking out of the gorge into back country campground 2. It wasn't very scenic except for the falls. I did enjoy the hike, I didn't get to finish it because I took a wrong turn. Apparently several blazes and signs have been stolen and many hikers take a wrong turn. I also blame this on the crappy map they give you, and the women in the office have no knowledge of the trail! The ranger had to pick us up. He was very helpful and said they are working on putting up new blazes and he has had to pick up several other hikers. I felt defeated because I wasn't able to finish. The camp sites are nice...bring a saw or hatchet! I recommend staying at the second site. I will come back in the spring to do the whole trail. I was about 2 miles short. You will take 3 suspension bridges, after the third, you will get on the paw paw trail..this is where we made our wrong turn.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Fairly easy hike except about 1.5 miles in the middle where you are just climbing over boulders.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

It was a great hike! What 4 miles I got to do... I broke my ankle and had to be carried out. I liked it though and plan to go back.

backpacking
Monday, October 23, 2017

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