Explore the best off road driving trails in Tennessee with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
This trail has some awesome, dynamic vegetation. Great scenery. The walk once you are down the initial hill is pretty leisurely. I knew there was creek crossings, but I was expecting normal trails' rock-hopping across creeks - No. You are nearly knee-deep through the 9 creek crossings each way. You either need a creek-crossing dedicated shoe (and change at each creek) or use a shoe with mesh outer and nylon socks which drain well. The cliffs are very rewarding and you have a smartly placed overlook before you get to the cliffs to wet your appetite.
I would compare this in difficulty to the Angel Falls Overlook trail. If you are a hiker or in good shape, this isn't too difficult. I completed in just under 2 hours of moving time.
GORGEOUS trail!!! We did the full trail in about 4.5 hours including stopping to hang out and enjoy the scenery occasionally. The trail is supposed to be 2.9 miles from beginning to cliffs and then an additional 2.9 back, but my gps actually read 6.5 miles total at the end. It's labeled "hard" for a reason. The entrance/exit of the trail is VERY STEEP and narrow. The creek crossings weren't very difficult as the water was kind of low, but it is absolutely necessary to have proper footwear.
I wore chacos and my feet are shredded. My friend wore closed toed Keen's and she was fine. I've worn my chacos on many wet/dry hikes and never had any issues, but this one was a beast. The water is too high for regular hiking boots so be sure to come equipped with a good quality wet/dry hiking shoe. We saw tons of people in flip flops, soaked squishing sneakers, strappy sandals and I hurt for them. They were miserable. Trust me, INVEST IN APPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR.
Once you get to the bottom of the steep portion of the trail, it's very easy to navigate. Beautiful streams, open meadows, a waterfall, incredible rock formations, lovely forest areas...there's an amazing variety of scenery on this trail. But back up...holy geez...ROUGH. They provide a few hiking poles at the top of the trail but go quickly, so I would also recommend trekking poles, especially for the challenging climb back up. Bring PLENTY of water and snacks and enjoy!!!
We had a great time hiking the trail and seeing the beautiful windows and the waterfall. Recommend good hiking shoes - you will get wet crossing the creeks. The exit was quite a climb. They do provide some walking sticks which helped but I would take your own if you have one just in case they are all gone.
Hiked the trail today 4/14/17. Beautiful day, great hike. I have hiked most trails in middle Tennessee, and this ranks as one of the most beautiful outside the Smokies. It is amazingly diverse, from dry ridge top, to wet canyon and creek sides, to overgrown meadows, to hemlock grove, pine forest, and great views on top of the Window cliffs.
My strong advice is that this trail was made for trekking poles, and good sturdy Chacos or Keen closed toe sandals. The 3/4 mile descent and exit into the gorge will test your balance and stamina. I walked in closed toe Keen Newport H2s and cringed at folks in wet boots and flip flops, working on blisters and smashed toes. You will get your feet wet with 18 creek crossings; no bridges, just cable crossings. The trekking poles come in real handy for these.
The real distance from parking lot to cliff-top and back is right at 5.8 miles round trip per my GPS. Give yourself a good three to four hours to hike the trail and linger at the side of the creek or waterfalls. The wild flowers are amazing and I look forward to spending a day in the gorge wandering the creek and using an ultralight rig for small mouth. Just remember you have a hard climb out at the end. Take plenty of water, as least two bottles.
Hiked in on opening weekend. For those of you who remember hiking and camping in this area before it was a park then you might be mildly disappointed that the natural beauty is a bit sanctioned off. The days of trespassing are over and it's fortunate that it is being preserved. Fragile limestone prevents you from climbing and getting a close view of the windows. Only one small area is accessible. The rest of the trail is a moderate hike. Wear shoes you can get soaked. There are 10 water crossings with guide cables and deep water in the spring. The trail loops in and out of beautiful stream side views and dense forest. Trillium, Iris, Foamflower, Phlox, Columbine, Maypop, Dogwood, Redbud and more were spotted blooming in the spring. Definitely a good day hike for those who like a few hours of moderate challenge.
Love the new trail. Cross the creek 9 times each way. Mileage is off on here. Total mileage is a little over 6 mikes. No dogs are allowed on trail. Trex poles are helpful and there are some at the beginning of the trail for now. Hopefully people won't steal them.