North rim and North Plateau Loop Trail

MODERATE 32 reviews

North rim and North Plateau Loop Trail is a 17.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Palmer, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

17.5 miles
1522 feet

dogs on leash





nature trips

trail running






wild flowers





old growth

over grown



washed out

There are camp sites along route at various locations. Easily maintain ~3mph throughout the hike. At the very end of the North Rim is a breathtaking scenic overlook, otherwise there are not many features that are of commentary value.

14 days ago

My dog and I backpacked the entire loop over 3 days/2 nights. This trail does not contain a lot of sustained steep uphills or downhills, so it feels mostly flat. The trails are well-marked and the bridge crossings are fun. Most of the really spectacular views are on the western side of the trail. After about 9 miles, I don't remember any views worth mentioning, but it was nice meandering through the forests. We stayed at Hobb's Cabin one night and then Dinkey Line campground the next night. Hobb's cabin was a bit of a disappointment. The bunks were really designed for children, not adults. I was able to sling my hammock up inside the cabin so I slept comfortably, but had I no had my hammock, I would have opted to sleep on the picnic table outside, or the floor rather than the bunks. The spring at Hobb's cabin was difficult to filter from because it is not very deep. A better place to filter water is either one of two streams prior to reaching the cabin (2 miles away if traveling clockwise, about 0.5 miles away traveling counter-clockwise). Hobb's Cabin is very dark inside, even during the day, so I wish I would have brought a couple of candles. Fires are allowed in the cabin, but you need to collect your own firewood and the windows need to be left open or you'll smoke yourself out. The next night we stayed at Dinkey Line campground. Water for filtration was pretty close, but spring fed, so a bit of a challenge. There was LTE service (Verizon) at Dinkey Line. This was good, but hearing the sounds of traffic on nearby highways kinda made it feel not so much like sleeping in the backcountry. I only gave 3/5 stars as a backpacking trip because I like to camp really close to water sources and prefer more privacy when camping backcountry. It felt like the campsites would lack privacy on a busy weekend.

20 days ago

Great trail! Beautiful views and nice campsites along the way.

21 days ago

Great trail. BTW at nearly ever rock outcropping I had a strong Verizon signal. Great to know I had comms since it was the first overnight trip with my little boy.

4 months ago

It's always a go to

8 months ago

We hiked this with my son two weeks ago and camped at hobbs campsite. The views are amazing on the rim side. The trail is well marked and we even had park rangers check on us once we arrived at the campsite later that evening. There were numerous creeks on the hike which we loved, as it was a hot weekend. I would definitely bring bug spray as the mosquitos were awful at times every time we stopped! Also, we saw snakes and a lot of lizards so be cautious. We loved this hike it was very memorable! Will definitely do it again!

8 months ago

Did the North Rim Trail out and back. About 15.6 miles round trip. Hands down one of the best trails I've ever hiked in TN. Fairly easy with the length being the main reason it's considered moderate. Well marked and well maintained. Nice campsite at the far end. A few gentle ups and downs. Several small bridges across creeks and muddy bottoms. Two awesome swinging bridges early in the hike. But the best sections are the multiple gulf overlooks. Great places to relax, recharge and take incredible photos.

8 months ago

North Rim fairly easy. Lots of overlooks. Hike to Hobbs Cabin and stay the night or double back (or take the plateau hike back). About 9ish miles to Hobbs Cabin.

8 months ago

The bluffs provide a nice view of the gulf and great spots for snacking and relaxing. I did this trail in late winter, I imagine it's very pretty in the spring.

9 months ago

Did the Savage Day Loop to the North Rim and then North Plateau trails in mid February. The Savage Day Loop is a nice easy hike with some bridges and the option for a short detour to see Savage Falls. The North Rim was a great trail, fairly level with a lot of incredible views from the bluffs. I really enjoyed Hobbs Cabin at the end the the North Rim, its a good place for a lunch break and a rest. The North Plateau trail is ok, but there isn't a lot of variation. The whole trip is around 18 miles. I did it as a day hike, but it would have been much more enjoyable as an overnight at the Hobbs Cabin campsite.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Great Hike. The trail is very well marked. We were under the impression it was a loop we could finish in a day, that was incorrect though. It's about a 2 mile hike from the Savage Gulf parking lot to the start of the North Rim trail. You could easily hike out to the cabin and stay the night and finish the loop on the North Plateau trail the next day. We just had not prepared for this. Beautiful views of waterfalls and the rim. Highly recommend it!

Friday, January 08, 2016

My 21y son and I did an overnight point-to-point starting at the Savage Gulf Ranger Station (Palmer, TN), took the North Rim Trail and camped at Hobb's Cabin. The next morning we hiked the Connector Trail to Stone Door.

Day One:
Dropped of a car at Stone Door and drove to the Savage Gulf Ranger Station. It was an easy 8+ mile hike to Hobb's Cabin Camp. We passed Suter Falls and had lunch with our feet hanging off one of the many scenic overlooks. When we arrived at the Hobb's Cabin site back in woods we had fresh spring water and ample fire wood. There was a light rain at dusk and a hint of snow about 19:00. We refilled our water for breakfast and the next day’s hike out and up then called it a night settling into our bunk hammocks
Day Two:
Breakfast, coffee and repacking was not bad because it started to warm up as soon as the sun peaked though.
This is where I woke up. Immediately after leaving Hobb's you pick up the Connector Trail headed West and start dropping through the rocks. Fallen leaves and lack of foot traffic to clear them added a degree of difficulty on the hike to valley floor. The Connector Trail is 6.7 miles to the 1 mile ascent up and through the Stone Door. The Connector Trail has enough ups, downs and rocks that help you appreciate level footing. The River (or River bed depending on the water level) bridges added some fun. I am a kid at heart and like the springy ones. By the time we reached the Stone Door ascent I was feeling it. Hours of following the 21yo jack-rabbit son of mine made the climb out a dozy. I reached the top and felt like I had finished a crossfit workout. He of course was spry and talking food, love that kid. Recovering quickly we loaded the car headed back to the Ranger station to retrieve the other ride and headed home.
I love backpacking almost as much as spending time with my kids. Savage Gulf and the South Cumberland are a great place to do both. We keep going back.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

My hike started at Stone Door Trail, to the Connector Trail, the North and South Rim Trails, the Stage Coach Trail and back up the Connector and Stone Door Trails. This 30 mile plus loop is very difficult especially in the summer time. The only sure water is located in the springs at Hobbs Cabin and Schwoon Springs. The Rim Trails are very nice with great overlooks. The Gulf trails are very difficult, with rock hopping on slick boulders for many miles. Bridges are also dangerous with very slick planking. Hobbs, Savage Falls and Sawmill Camp sites are very nice and can make the distance manageable. I did this solo and don't suggest it was a smart idea. There are too many opportunities to get hurt due to falls. Probably the loop is best hiked in the cooler months.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Took a ranger-led hike on this trail. The ranger was great - very informative. It was a couple of years ago, but if I remember correctly it took us about 6 hours including a lunch break.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Great views along this one. Stayed the night in Hobb's cabin and returned back along same trail. Hiked this one by myself but returned two weeks later with a friend and took North Rim Trail to the Connector trail over and out through the Stone door.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The North Rim trail is loaded with overlooks, creeks, and small waterfalls. It is a little more difficult than the North Plateau trail but has more to offer as far as scenery.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Great trail anytime of year, lots of great views and overlooks. Today was my third time on this trail and a because of the lack of leaves I was able to view waterfalls from the overlooks I;ve never seen before.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Certainly the most difficult section of South Cumberland State Natural Area, the Connector Trail offers hikers the ability to truly test their stamina in the backcountry. Because this section is in the interior of the park and links other main trails to one another, be prepared to already be a bit worn down when you get to this point. Have LOTS of water, pace yourself and take frequent breaks to both enjoy the vast beauty of the area and to give yourself a rest.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This portion of South Cumberland is absolutely gorgeous. Depending on the time of year, water sources may be scarce, so plan to carry in enough with you. If you get far enough into the interior of the park on the North Rim side, and if you're luck enough to arrive first, you can stay at Hobbs Cabin, a cozy cabin with 4-6 bunks on the walls, a fire pit out front and an outhouse nearby. The trail itself leading to the cabin is fairly easy with only a couple of short-lived rough patches. Be prepared to gaze across South Cumberland from atop the North Rim and enjoy great views from various overlooks and bluffs.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I hiked this trail Stone Door ranger station to Savage Gulf ranger station with a shuttle car waiting at the other end. The trail is an awesome but demanding, since I hiked rim, gulf to rim I enjoyed the way way the terrain changes. The way out of the gulf is steep, rocky and has features found nowhere else in Savage Gulf. If you want to burn a few calories try this route.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Good trail. My wife and I did this as an overnighter and stayed at the Hobbs Cabin campsite. I would rate this trail as moderate and plan to take my brother and his wife here this spring. FYI there is an outhouse at the campsite and places to filter water.

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