Explore the best trails near Pikeville with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Great Trail...Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau hiking at it's best. Very scenic with many great views of the waterfalls within Fall Creek Falls State Park. Great suspension bridge creek crossings throughout the trail. Trail was very well marked and easy to navigate. The gorge crossings between Campsite #1 and Campsite #2 is the most challenging section of the trail...the rest of the trail is smooth sailing. It took my group 9 hours to hike the entire trail allowing plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, take pictures, and a extra long lunch break. Have fun...it's well worth the effort.
Appalachian Trail Thru Hiker,
Georgia to Maine 2007
I love the trail! It is clearly marked and somewhat challenging, which is perfect for a quick hike that you want to get the blood flowing :) The scenery is superb and goes right over fall creek falls. I like how it circles around the top so you can see directly across from where you once were; it's neat!
One of my favorite trails, maybe for the distance. It definitely has moments to show you what you're made of! For the most part it is very well marked, but getting down to the gorge, things change. I spent an hour looking for blazes to continue, but couldn't find the trail on the other side. Needless to say I went back the other way. They definitely need to work on setting the trail up down there, but there's such a variation of scenery and it all holds its own beauty making it one of my favorite trails! I hope the next time I attempt the trail it's marked clearly, I'll take someone with me too to help search.
If you are considering hiking this trail, please take this review into consideration. It is going to be lengthy, but it is information you need to read before hiking this trail. I recently backpacked this trail with my parents last month (October 2016). After our experience on the trail, I felt passionate about giving a recent, accurate, unbiased review of this trail. Understand that I am an experienced hiker---my idea of hiking is 20 mile day hikes at high altitudes in the rocky mountains.
Prior to our hike, we had to stop at the nature center to get overnight permits. Campsite #2 was full, so we were told we had to stay at Campsite #1 (about 2.5 miles in on the supposedly 13 mile trail). We were given a map of the trail. I am 26 years old and have great vision, and could hardly tell what was on the map. It was hand drawn, no mileage markings, nothing truly helpful on the map other than the general outline of the trail.
To get to the trailhead, we drove a couple of miles down a road leading away from the nature station. The grassy parking area for the trailhead was behind a ranger housing area. We started on the trail. It was grown up in some areas, but not too bad. The trail was easy and flat and winded through the woods. Soon, we crossed the road that we were driving on earlier. The trail continued through the woods. Very flat, easy hike. There was a small foot bridge that crossed over a dried up creek bed. The foot bridge was a nice little sight considering there hadn't been much scenery other than trees, trees, and more trees.
After about 2.5 miles, we came to a sign that said "campsite #1". At the sign, the trail forked, and it was not clear which way the actual campsite was. We continued on up what was the main trail about a tenth of a mile and came up on some other campers. We assumed this was the campsite and we found a secluded spot to camp. The sights were not labeled or anything. You could just tell where people had camped before. The campsite was a nice, flat, woodsy area for camping. There was no water available at this campsite, but there was an outhouse.
The next day, we got up early and continued on. We knew that it was only about 2.5 miles to campsite #2, and figured we would be reaching it pretty soon. So far, there had been no signs on the trail informing you of mileage, so we were using the campsite as a gauge.
Shortly after leaving our campsite, the trail started to descend into the gorge. The descent was very steep. I had to be very careful not to slip. I am 26 years old and in shape, and I almost lost my footing several times. It seemed like it took forever to reach the bottom of the gorge because we were being so careful with our footing. When we reached the bottom it was rocky, and the trail was VERY poorly marked. There was a pretty cool suspension bridge that went over a large, dry creek bed. We continued on. I can recall about 5 or 6 times where I, along with my parents, had to literally spend several minutes looking all around, searching for a trail marker. We were also baffled because it seemed like we had gone AT LEAST 2.5 miles, and were wondering where campsite #2 was. We figured it was pretty close and continued on.
We began our ascent out of the gorge. Just like the descent, the ascent was VERY steep. Again, it was very poorly marked. There was a time where it looked like trail ended. There were NO markers anywhere. There was another couple of hikers behind us and we all literally had to walk around for 5 minutes trying to figure out where the trail was. I could have easily gone in the wrong direction, and almost did. Once we found our way, we continued hiking up very steep, slick inclines.
After we finally made it to the top, the trail flattened out again and winded through the woods, similar to the beginning. We kept our eyes out for campsite #2, but still hadn't come across it. We left campsite #1 at around 7:30 that morning, and it was around 12:00. Regardless of how steep the trail was, there is no way that it took us that long to hike 2.5 miles. We were definitely starting to feel slightly concerned, knowing that there was still about 8 or 9 miles to go considering we had not even reached campsite #2 yet.
So, we walked, we walked, and kept on winding through the woods. Where is campsite #2??? We had to have walked for another HOUR AND A HALF before we got to campsite #2, and by this time we were walking quite briskly knowing that we didn't want to get stuck on the trail at night. It was about 2:00 by the time we reached campsite #2. Now, how in the world had we only covered 2.5 miles since 7:30 in the morning? THIS IS NO EXAGGERATION.
There was a water spicket at campsite #2. There was no sign about the water, so we assumed it was clean. It was. Campsite #2 did not look as nice, but it is a flat area good for camping. The trail continued on through the woods on what I think was a dirt bike trail. Nothing scenic. Just more woods. I wa
This trail is poorly marked, has a dangerous spot where you have to get on to the road and traffic is flying by and could easily be a spot for injury. There are a few overlooks, some are tricky to maneuver to get to the overlook, I would say it is moderate difficult at that part of the trail. Very shady and mostly flat walking. Several trails converge on this trail and markings are poor at best. It is a popular trail and will see lots of other folks on this trail.
Laura M. on Lower Loop Overnight Trail
Definitely isn't a hard trail. We started in at 3 and hit our camp site at 5. We camped between site 1 and 2 at the suspension bridge. Lots on firewood and the sound of the river/creek all night was fabulous. The next day the hike was much longer. Quite a scramble to get from our site to camp site number 2. Confusing trail twists at times but nothing to get overly excited about. Getting back to the parking lot was a bit confusing. We ended up going to nature center and walking the road but it was pretty scary with hardly a shoulder and speeding vehicles around the curves. Would definitely do it again.
Hiked this trail with a few friends last october. Fall foliage was beautiful. The hike was mostly through the hardwood timber forest, had hoped to hike the lower loop with the falls however due to arriving later in the day the lower loop trail was already reserved for other hikers. Nice vegetation and sparse wildlife were seen along the hike. Upon reaching the split where the trail begins its massive loop we took a left. It was a bit strenuous at times with a heavy pack on. The highlight of the first day was reaching the suspension bridge over cane creek and spending some time playing in the water. Stayed at Campsite #2 for the night. Enjoyed a nice campfire and sharing stories with friends. Hike out the next day seemed much easier. All in all a good hike. Not as exciting as it would have been to hike the falls, but anytime away from the rush of everyday and time in the woods with great friends is always a welcomed treat. Broke the camera or would have posted pictures.