Explore the most popular trails near Carthage with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Carthage, Tennessee Map

Great hike. I will definitely do this trail again. However, it is confusing at the beginning. But once your in about 1/2 mile it’s very easy to follow the trail.

Trails were not maintained very well. It would have been super easy to get loat, trails are marked by blue dots on trees.

2 months ago

Love this trail. Although there are places that are somewhat overgrown and full of chiggers, the trail overall it's great. Not to difficult in my opinion, but had some good parts that were challenging. Have been twice in the last 3 weeks.

Bear Waller Gap Trail is one of my favorites. It is a challenging trail in places. I usually do a full length both ways. I suggest starting at Defeated creek entrance if you plan on a round trip. if you only want to do one way or are a beginner, I would suggest starting at the overlook and having a ride to return you to your vehicle.

Me and my friends had a lot of fun hiking this trail! I highly recommend going off the beaten path when you see the opportunity for a good view. However, be very vigilant in keeping an eye on the trail markers, it will take sharp turns and leave you lost if you aren’t careful. I wouldn’t recommend taking young children on this trail because parts of it are difficult and very steep.

Not a great trail. It is overgrown with no real views. Also, not a lot of people hike this trail, so prepare to battle some spider webs. We did see some deer though

A great hike near Nashville, lots of elevation and scenery. Trail was well marked and maintained, but I did find a number of ticks after the hike.

Awesome trail for backpacking.

This trail needs maintenance badly. My friend and I decided to hike it spur-of-the moment today. I hike all 12 miles of this trail 2-3x a year. I expect it to be weedy and overgrown when it is late summer.

Well, it is only mid-May and it is already overgrown. In 2 weeks, parts of the trail will be covered. Bearwaller needs "friends" or rangers with weed-whackers. My friend and I turned backed after going out from the picnic/camping/marina area trailhead to the 2.5 mile marker. It was just too dang weedy.

Yeah, there are nice overlooks and the trail gives you a workout, but it isn't worth the weeds. I took 2 ticks off of my ankles when we got back to the car. When I got home to Nashville, I discovered 3 more tiny ticks on my socks and 2 more stuck in my skin. I sprayed bug spray with Deet on myself before I did the hike, but it didn't do the job.

If you hike this trail, be prepared for overgrowth and ticks. Wear long pants and use bug spray. I personally will not hike it again until maybe late October.

5 months ago

I didn’t like this hike at all - beginning is all descent and flat for first mile. Not well maintained, unfortunate given other positive reviews!

Great hike, awesome views, satisfying waterfall! Had a blast with my dog out here

Great hike! It’s a real workout

Superb hike! Wonderful views of the lake. The path could use some maintaining and the blazers could be more frequent.

This is one of the better hikes near Nashville, hands down. This one is not for beginners as it consists of a lot of elevation. Really some great views over the Cumberland. Will revisit in the coming Spring.

Great views of the lake

Beautiful views

I have hiked this trail many times and in many seasons, and there is one patch that has always been difficult to follow. My daughter and I hiked this trail the day after Thanksgiving. We got a late start, so we knew that we couldn't do the whole trail which is around 10 miles (5 miles there and back). We began at the Defeated Creek Campground. Almost immediately you come upon a boulder garden that makes for many good photo opportunities. Then the trail gets narrow and starts climbing. When you get to the top, you get a choice of 2 trails to connect with the main one. One is labeled "Easy," and the other is labeled "Difficult." We took the Difficult one. It was a very steep descent, made even more difficult by the slippery, slide-y leaves. Hiking poles definitely helped. We proceeded down to a dried up little waterfall close to the inlet (looks like the first "v" on the map). It is a pretty little nook, where we stopped and ate lunch. The next part of the trail goes along the lake. In the summer it was hugely overgrown and weedy. Not so in the winter. The next part of the trail climbs to an overlook. Very scenic and worth the climb. We stopped at the overlook and turned around, because we didn't want to be on the trail in the dark. Much of the trail is covered up by leaves, so you have to depend upon the blazes. Some areas are very well blazed, but others are not. Coming back, we decided to take the "Easy" route...both of us agreed that the "Easy" route was harder than the "Difficult" route! Why? Poor blazing. The blazes are blue dots (2 dots=Easy trail; 1 dot= Difficult). On this portion of the trail, which is maybe a quarter-half mile, many of the dots are severely faded. The Easy trail has lots of switchbacks. Again, you cannot see the trail at all under the leaves. You have to keep a close eye on the dots. Do not talk to your hiking buddy or lose focus here. If you get off the trail, you will be on the side of a steep, slippery slope. Also, make sure to get off the trail while you have adequate daylight. At this time of the year, I would not get off one minute later than 4:00 p.m. The blazes are just too hard to see in fading light. Overall, I love this trail and its geographical diversity. Just be prepared for an unclear patch of trail. Also, we stopped by the visitors center and got a nice colored map. The brochure says that the "trail is a moderate hike for the majority of the distance. However there are some steep changes in elevation." This is true for people who are in good shape and can handle 10 miles of regular ups and downs. I would not advise it for someone who isn't an experienced hiker. Those who are inexperienced should find it fun, but challenging.

trail running
10 months ago

The toughest trial I have ran.

This trail has amazing lake views from the beach to the cliffs and someone has gone out of their way to blaze (blue) as many trees along the trail as possible. Only advice I can give you, is if the road looks like a tempting way to get back to the marina parking lot, Don’t do it unless you must! The trail is easier than the road! Overall it was one of the most fun hikes I’ve had. Tons of deer. Tons to look at.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Rating as 4 stars because of how undermaintained the trail is.
My wife and I come here quite often with our toddlers (they hike it too). I'll start by saying that we only hike from the Defeated Creek trailhead and, because the children walk too, are limited with how far we get. When we carry the kids, we have gone to the first major bend in the trail at one of the small inlets.
The only challenging part we've encountered is in the first half mile, during which the trail steadily gains elevation, forks between easy and hard trails, and suddenly descends down to the river bank. In fact, the only hard part about the hard trail is the downward scramble you have to do. For the first year coming, we didn't even know the hard trail was the hard trail and did it with the kids on our backs. This trail did teach me the amazing properties that hiking poles bring to hiking. It has 5 star views all year. Expect to see plenty of deer (read: watch your dogs) and the diverse flora throughout.
But be warned! Wear shorts so you can see ticks before they imbed in your skin. There is no shortage of the tiny blood suckers and they are sneaky. Also, the trails have many fallen trees that block the trail in certain areas. Skirting around them is easy though. At some points the grasses hang onto the trail (probably where I keep picking the ticks up), but it isn't a big problem if you like more primitive trails. Apparently there is a backcountry camping area. We will be backpacking it soon if this is true.
It's a must hike trail and we love it.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

My friend and I just completed this trail. FYI...it's NOT 9.8 total. It's 9.8 out and 9.8 back. The trail is nicely marked, but overgrown. We were making funny noises to scare away any snakes (but we didn't see any). There are some random mile markers that don't appear to pertain to the trail so don't go by those. This app is much more accurate for mileage purposes.
I would like to say that she and I are both on a weight loss journey and we did the whole damn thing!!!
There was another guy who said we would have a hard time doing it without boots and a trekking pole, but we did it in tennis shoes and with a stick to knock spiderwebs out of the way

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hell of a hike! Took me about three hours just to get from one trailhead to the the other. It was a very slow hike.

Spiderwebs covered the trail, so I got about 200 yards in taking about 15 spiderwebs to the face before I decided I needed to wave a stick in front of my face the whole time.

Tons of parts were overgrown and the trail was difficult to find at times. Looks like there is very little trail maintenance.

However, I thought it was an awesome trail. I would definitely suggest doing this in early Spring or Fall though.

Also, I didn't pass anyone so if you are hiking alone I would be cautious!

Friday, April 28, 2017

gorgeous lake view! i hike every week and to do the whole thing and back was brutal. definitely difficult. loved the challenge!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

tough hike and if it's warm out dress for the heat. but the views make it all worth it, and sneak off trail when you get close to the rivers. edge and have a nice spot to chill.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Beautiful trail! Trail snakes in and out near the river. Some difficult terrain uphill and mud but fairly maintained. Beautiful wildflowers spotted. Trillium, Trout Lilies, and Falling Stars. Trail is hard to spot from the road. Must turn off onto Scenic Overlook and trail is nearby. Definitely a fun day hike.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Trail clearly marked with blue paint. Some spots leveled out while others were aggressive. Views are awesome. We hiked roughly 2 miles in from the Bearwaller gap trailhead (not overlook end). Wear proper gear. Some spots are not for your average nature walker. Don't underestimate the split of easy and difficult paths. Difficult route is for slightly more experienced hikers. Can't wait to come back!

Awesome trail. Gorgeous views! I would rate it as moderate, not hard, but it's still a challenging hike. Pretty lite traffic. We hiked it in early March on a perfect day for hiking; maybe saw 10-12 other hikers the entire way. Loved it!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

BEAUTFUL views. My boyfriend and I love to go hiking and this one was one of our favorites. Lovely hilly area and the views were amazing. Don't under estimate it tho. Going down is fine but when you come back up it's a workout. I would love to come back again. Completely clean, trails well marked, bathrooms and just a beautiful view

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Great trail. There are a lot of hills to walk up and down with scenic vistas along the Cumberland River. Hiked it in mid-February. You can park overnight at either trail head. One point of clarification, the 9.8 mileage listed in the profile is the mileage for an out and back hike. If you were to hike from one trail head to the other it is approximately 5 miles. I camped at the eastern trailhead near the river and had the entire park to myself. It looks like it would be very popular during the summers for car camping, but it is also a great spot if you want a quiet night in the off season. There are also plenty of flat enough areas for backcountry camping along the way. There is a decent supply of water throughout the trail if you need to replenish.

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