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Sewanee Perimeter Trail

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Sewanee, Tennessee

Sewanee Perimeter Trail is a 21.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Sewanee, Tennessee that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. 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: 21.5 miles Elevation Gain: 1,922 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

views

NOTE: As of April 2020, visitors will not be able to park at the trailheads.

hiking
27 days ago

Very well marked. Did it counterclockwise, as suggested in other reviews - def recommend. Didnt do offshoots and it took us 8.5 hrs hiking at a good pace - 11am - 7:30 pm. Beautiful scenery with different trees, foliage and rock depending on which elevation you are. Spotted a few mountain laurel blooms.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

can’t recommend this enough. once I learned state parks were closed due to corona, I was beyond distraught because hiking has been my one escape through all of this. I am so THANKFUL for trails like this that are privately owned and accessible still. Thank You. Only saw 4 other people. it is open technically, but you can’t park at the trailheads- find somewhere to park nearby or on campus. Make sure you visit “the caves” on the map- simply breathtaking. Incredible scenery, waterfalls, & quietness. wish the trail was a bit wider, but for the most part it is cleared at least. When going to the caves, you will have more trouble climbing over/under/through fallen trees ( I have no idea why so many obstructed the path there) but it is so WORTH IT! you can change the difficulty of this trail by doing whichever length suits you as well- ended up doing 11 miles total, like a out and back trail.

hiking
muddy
rocky
3 months ago

After being isolated at home, due to COVID-19, this trail was the perfect escape from reality. The winding paths, dripping water, and whistling wind provided a serene haven from the stresses of society. While this particular trail is quite lengthy, I decided to start around the memorial cross and turn around- instead of finishing completely. This venture helped me to reconnect with nature, and I would encourage all to take advantage of this local beauty.

Part 3 section

hiking
5 months ago

Part 2. Gate 5-8.

hiking
6 months ago

long day but worth it! my GPS....

Super nice trail looping around the college on the rim of the plateau. My measurement was 21 miles with maybe 1/4 mile of inadvertent detours. Marked reasonably well with a couple of exceptions. The most significant of those being Morgan steeps. Pay attention for blue blazes at every junction and you will e fine I parked at the big cross and went counterclockwise. Others say park at university gates and do the same. If you are doing a day hike then I agree with that as you finish on the easiest stretch. I did an overnight and silver you can’t camp backcountry you have 2 options. A shelter, very nice, at 8 miles counterclockwise from the cross. Other option is kings branch (I think) there is a group camp with some scout built tables and a fire pit. I’m not sure if this is a sanctioned site but I took it as such and camped there, which was about 14 miles from my starting point leaving me 7 to finish up the next day The trail is not difficult at all with very few areas I would even l moderate. The rain made it a bit slick with the leaves but all in all a great hike

recorded Sewanee Perimeter Trail

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

This is one of my favorite hikes I have done in the middle TN area. Definitely counterclockwise is the way to go. I lost the trail a couple of times at the beginning because there was snow on the ground but after a couple of miles I got a hang of checking the map to make sure I was on track. The views are gorgeous and it is so nice to walk out in the woods for hours and hardly see any people! The trail does run right by some residential homes for a short stretch so be mindful/respectful of that, but it didn’t bother me at all because the views were spectacular. Will definitely be doing this trail again now that I have a better grasp of the trail system there.

hiking
9 months ago

We have hiked all over! Colorado, California, Canada, France. I have to say, this was an amazing hike and a wonderful day!! We started and ended near Gate 7 counterclockwise. Beginning at 6:45am. Stunning morning. Lows 66, high 83, all sun blue skies but well protected by lots of shade throughout route. Got a little hung up at Proctors Hall not sure of having to scramble the rock wall and crawl through the hole! Spent 30 minutes scampering back and forth a bit to find the trail before discovering the hole is the way through! Stopped 30 minutes for lunch halfway point at the Forestry Cabin. Beautiful and clean spot. We did plant 2 gallons of water at 2 spots to refill. All said, could have easily finished in 8 hours. Hardly passed a hiker, a couple of very courteous mountain bikes. Encountered several morning deer, one black snake and a tiny green one. The one hiker we passed reported a timber rattler that I was thankful not to have met! The most spectacular 20.1 miles!!

running
10 months ago

Great trail and it came from a recommendation from the Trail and Ultra Running FB page. Excellent recommendation as the trail was in great condition and reasonably well marked. I missed a turn on the way back, but that was my .5 mile detour problem. I started where the giant cross is and went to the left on the Perimeter Trail. Went out 6 miles and made a u-turn to head back to my truck. Some some friendly hikers, bikers and fellow trail runners. Being from the St. Louis area, I would liken the trails we have just to the west of the city. Nice morning in the woods and would highly recommend the trail for newcomers to hiking and trail running!

The Perimeter trail is a great trail but unlike the AllTrails description it is NOT an 18 mile hike. As of 8-24-2019 the full trail since the reroute is 21.5 miles! There are several places where the trail is need of updated or better marking. I've hiked the trail multiple times so when I did it again on this trip I decided to record GPS waypoints for every place that the trail made a turn or intersection. You can download this recording and use it to guide you. I suggest that most people should park at the University gates parking area and hike counter-clockwise. This puts you going downhill into Shakerag Hollow right at the start and finishing up on the flat, paved portion of the trail (shared with the Mountain Goat trail) when you are tired. The comments on my waypoints assume this direction of travel. Also note that the path shown by my waypoints in this recording is correct. The dashed lines of the trail shown in this app are not correct in many places. So even if it appears that the recording is off trail in some places that is not the case. There are places along the way where you might be able to obtain and filter water, but they are seasonal and you should NOT depend on them in dryer times of the year. You should carry at least 4 liters of water (assuming you drink one liter about every 5 miles). Be sure to carry snacks and a lunch as well. Hiking poles are recommended as they will help you keep your balance and make it easier. Bug spray and sun screen are recommended. Also be sure to bring a headlamp in case you finish after dark. The only restroom is an outhouse that is 5 miles in at the shelter. The trail is moderately difficult in a few places, but mostly just a long beautiful hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail. Beautiful scenery, amazing rock ledges and boulders, ancient trees. I echo the comments below about the trail at at least three KEY turns is inadequately marked (we hiked counter clockwise, starting at the Cross). Other than that, though, a great day.

hiking
Tue May 07 2019

YSR 4eva!

hiking
Mon Apr 22 2019

This is an excellent trail that is mostly well marked, however I'd recommend bringing printed maps that show closeup details of the trail and road intersections (with trail names as well as road names shown). At some intersections it is difficult to determine which way this trail goes unless you can identify the cross trail and road by name. The app version of the map can be difficult in this regard as it tries to recenter and zooms out when you are trying to get this level of detail. There were plenty of places where you could collect water for filtering (this may be seasonal) but plan on bringing at least 3 liters of water. The trail is moderately difficult with only a few places that require extra care. I'd suggest that you go counter-clockwise and start at the University gates parking area instead of the Cross. This will take out the long descent into Shakerag Hollow right at the start (instead of at the end when you are tired) and you will finish on the flat, paved section of the Mountain Goat trail. Once you get back to the parking area there is a 600 ft connecting trail over to the parking area. If you think that you won't finish before dark, be sure to bring your headlamp.

hiking
Sat Apr 06 2019

Well-marked and varied terrain. Lots of off shoots to make the journey as long or as short as you want. Encountered a number of hikers along the way. I second and third the "bring a lot of water". Temp sprung up to 80 today and I wished I'd brought more.

hiking
Tue Feb 19 2019

Great day.. I'm always so happy to discover what I didn't know I could do...

hiking
Thu Jan 03 2019

Awesome trail!!

hiking
Sun Sep 16 2018

Hiked the entire loop today. Would say the trail is fairly easy but the distance makes it hard. We clocked better than 20 miles via GPS. Parked at the Memorial Cross and left out at 8:15am. We halted and did lunch and a hammock nap at Dotson’s. Trail is well marked and quite well maintained. Took a second break at the cabin. Pretty views all along the perimeter on the west side. I can imagine these would be prime at fall time. The most difficult part of the trail is def Shakerag Hollow which we did on tired legs since we chose to hike this loop clockwise. It was a steady descent for a while then straight up to the University Gates. We followed the trail along the greenway and again through the woods back to the cross by 6:30 pm. Just in time for a beautiful sunset! Take plenty of water/electrolyte replenishment for this all day trek.

hiking
Tue Jun 05 2018

Only did a section of this trail but it was awesome and I want to go back and enjoy the rest of trail.

hiking
Fri Mar 16 2018

Great trail with beautiful overlooks most of the way in winter and spring. wildflowers. waterfalls. creeks. lakes. rock formations. Plenty of side trails if you have time. Moderate trail overall for this area due to the length . It is fairly easy in some areas. Sewanee is a great place to hike and just be. The campus is beautiful. Trails well kept and marked.

hiking
Thu Dec 21 2017

For something rated as moderate, it sure was hard. My timing and course direction may have had something to do with it. I started at the big cross. I then proceeded to go clockwise, which I was told might be backwards. Someone I hiked with told me about going the other way and how climbing up to the hole in the rock was difficult. I submit, for the record, that climbing down that rock, when it's really wet out, is much more of a PITA. Especially if it's your first time there. Going clockwise from the cross kind of just throws you in it. Face first. This first bit was difficult. I took lunch at the cabin about 12 miles in. It kind of leveled off there for a while after that, then I hit Shakerag. By then I was in desperate need of a long break that I didn't take. I slowed down quite a bit here. Had to. If I remember right, it was pretty smooth after Shakerag, level paths, bike trails etc. It took me a shade over 7:15 to go all the way around. Not bad for a first time, I guess. To those that like to punish themselves, I'd recommend doing what I did. Though you may want to avoid wet days for crawling down out of that rock face. Can easily be done in a day if you watch your pace.

hiking
Sun Dec 10 2017

Really cool trail with varying terrain. The trail is dog friendly, so we started with our pup at memorial cross and headed west. There were huge boulders that we could navigate without our dog getting hurt, so we had to turn around and drive to Morgan’s Steep to bypass that section. Looking forward to coming back and completing the whole thing.

Thu Nov 16 2017

Having trouble finding the "Horror hole" past Armfield Bluff.

hiking
Fri Sep 01 2017

Easy trail, but interesting

Thu Aug 31 2017

Ysr

hiking
Tue Aug 08 2017

Nice hike with Scout Troop 489 in February 2017. Only hiked a portion of the Western Section but our 5 miler turned into ~10 since it was such a pretty day and we didn't do a great job of orienteering (we're better at it now). Basically went from Gate 4 on Breakfield Road, around to Armfield Bluff, King's Farm, Audobon Lake, Elliott Point and back to Gate 4. Enjoyed eating lunch at King's Farm. Even ran into (or she into me since she was the one running) a friend from high school. Great hike. Here's a link to a nice resource on the area: https://www.sewanee.edu/media/student-life/explore/Sewanees_Ten_Best_Day_Hikes.pdf

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