First, when stopping by the visitor center, see if there are any projects that need volunteers. Trail cleaning, building and other small parts of big projects are excellent ways to pay back for the experience of being able to enjoy our trail systems, at South Cumberland and beyond. If adding a day to the trip to help out isn’t possible, then at least pack out any trash found along the trail and make note of big issues such as blown downs or the trail being washed out. The rangers are worked hard and a heads-up can help them prioritize what needs to go on the list next.
Overnight backpacking with teens
Collins Gulf Loop
12+ mile loop (using Stagecoach Road and a short section of the Connector trail as a connector) starting from Collins West (Suter and Horsepound Falls are on this loop)
Savage Gulf to Hobbs Cabin, Connector Trail to Stagecoach to South Rim loop
A 2-night trip detailed here
With the exception of a stretch on the Connector Trail and the .8 mile Mountain Oak Trail, the above combined with the trips in the tweens section, that’s all of Savage Gulf!
Fiery Gizzard Trail 12.3 miles one way
Not an overnight, but still an awesome trip, the ranger-led day hike to Lost Cove Cave, which end for the year in October and don’t start back up until March or April to allow the caves to be used as winter hibernation for bats.
This is a 5+ mile RT hike along Buggytop (4.2 mile plus the cave) and the trail itself is really pretty with little creek crossings and an overlook before the big drop to the cave mouth.
Check the state park website upcoming events page or follow them on Facebook to see when the next ranger-led hike is planned!
Ranger-led hikes, canoeing at Grundy Lake, seasonal wildflower and mushroom hikes, native animal talks and stargazing with telescopes are just a few of the many activities at South Cumberland State Park. It will only take one visit to see why this is one of my favorite places in the southeast!