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Savage Gulf

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									                               Savage Gulf
        Background
           Savage Gulf is a Class II Natural
 Scientific Area. Development is limited to
 footbridges, trails, and overlooks. This makes
 Savage Gulf a great place to go backpacking
 and rock climbing. If a troop is looking for a
 great place to get away from civilization and do
 some serious backpacking, this is the place.
           The gorges in Savage Gulf, locally
 known as gulfs, are located in the southwest
 corner of the Cumberland Plateau. These gulfs
 were formed eons ago when inland seas
 advanced and retreated across Middle
 Tennessee. Together with the help of the seas,
 streams eventually carved steep canyons in the
 edge of the Cumberland Plateau in the shape of
 a gigantic crow’s foot. Today, we know this
 crow’s foot as Savage Gulf.
           Savage Creek, Big Creek, and Collins
 River flow through the gulfs today. These
 streams begin at the rim of the gulfs and drop      The Great Stone Door
 roughly eight hundred feet over five miles.
 Beautiful waterfalls are scattered throughout                  After hiking 0.9 miles from the Ranger Station, hikers arrive
 Savage Gulf such as Greeter Falls, Ranger Falls,    at a beautiful overlook that has a crack in the cliff face. The crack is
 and Savage Falls. Once the creeks reach the         roughly ten feet wide descends one hundred feet into Big Creek
                                                     Gulf. The overlook features views of Big Creek as it weaves its way
 floor of the gulfs, they disappear into sinks at
                                                     through layers of rocks and disappears from view at different points.
 various points and flow underground before
                                                     At the Stone Door Overlook, the Stone Door Trail has a junction
 reappearing in their creek beds. Both Collins       with Big Creek Gulf Trail and Big Creek Rim Trail.
 River and Ranger Creek have waterfalls that                    The Big Creek Gulf Trail descends through the crack and
 disappear into sinks.                               into the gulf. This trail follows Big Creek and features two very
           The trails are as rugged as the           steep elevation changes, boulders and rocks blocking the trail. This
 waterfalls and creeks are beautiful. Some of        is a very demanding trail that will provide a rigorous challenge for
 the easier trails stick to the woods and the rims   novice backpackers. After four miles the trail ascends out of the
 of the gulfs. The trails in the woods are           gulf, and a junction occurs at the Alum Gap Camp Area. This junction
 sometimes completely hidden by leaves during        connects Big Creek Gulf Trail, Big Creek Rim Trail, Laurel Trail, and
                                                     Greeter Trail. Greeter Trail passes Boardtree Falls before arriving at
 the fall so skill with a map and compass may be
                                                     the steep gorge that Greeter Falls descends into. The trail splits; one
 necessary. The trails on the rim are the easiest
                                                     section leads upstream to Upper Greeter Falls. This is roughly a
 to follow because the gulfs make easy               fifteen to twenty foot drop that is spectacular. The other section of
 reference points. Navigation near the floor of      the trail descends into the steep gorge that the fifty foot veritcal
 the gulf is easy as well because many times, the    drop of Lower Greeter Falls spills into.
 trail will follow a stream that serves as a good               The Big Creek Rim Trail is a moderate trail that follows the
 reference. Some of the better-known areas           rim of Big Creek Gulf. Along the trail, hikers can find overlooks that
 have drive in access at Ranger Stations. Enter      provide spectacular views of the gulf and the creek. After 3.2 miles,
 the North Rim, the Big Creek Rim, the Big Creek     the trail ends at the Alum Gap Camp Area. While this trail provides
 Gulf, and the famous Stone Door.                    beautiful views, it does not provide the hiker with quite the experience
                                                     that Big Creek Gulf Trail does.

Savage Gulf
(931) 924-2980
South Cumberland State Recreation Area
Route 1 Box 2196                                         22
Monteagle, TN 37356
    The North Rim
           The North Rim of Savage Gulf has some moderate
trails and provides access to one of the tougher stretches of
terrain within the gulf. The 4.2-mile Savage Day Loop is a
fairly easy trail to hike due to a lack of any major obstacles
obstructing the trail or any major elevation changes. From
the Savage Day Loop, Scouts can access the Savage Falls
Overlook and the Rattlesnake Point Overlook. Savage Falls
has a nice plunge pool that may be a good swimming hole;
however, an adult should evaluate all swimming holes and set
up a safe swim area.
           The North Rim Trail is a moderate trail that is
approximately 6 miles long. The North Rim trail branches off
the Savage Day Loop and follows Savage Gulf and Lick Creek
Gulf. This trail crosses one suspension bridge and fords Lick
Creek. A few minor elevation changes and one nasty elevation
change may prove difficult for an inexperienced backpacker.
There are a few places along the rim where boulders make
hiking difficult. The trail leaves the rim periodically, but it
quickly returns and provides breathtaking views. Navigation
is very easy on the North Rim Trail because the rim of the gulf
provides an excellent reference point. The North Rim Trail
ends at the Hobbs Cabin Campsite, and hikers are allowed to
stay in the historic Hobbs Cabin if they receive permission
from the ranger. From the Hobbs Cabin Campsite, hikers can
access the North Plateau Trail as well as one of the most
difficult trails in the gulf, the Connector Trail.
           Hikers that are looking for a break from boulders and
cliffs will enjoy this walk through the woods. After crossing
a suspension bridge, the North Plateau Trail branches off to
the right from the North Rim Trail. This trail does not follow
the rim of the gulf and lacks any significant elevation changes.
After a few stream crossings and several miles, the trail ends
at the Hobbs Cabin Campsite. There are no navigation
references, and at times, the trail can be completely obscured
from view by leaf litter. It is recommended that anyone hiking
the North Plateau Trail have at least some skill with a map and
compass.

                                                                              Flashback
                                                                            “I remember when the troop had hiked the
                                                                    North Rim the day before, and we were returning
                                                                    to the Ranger Station by way of the North Plateau
                                                                    Trail. On Sundays the troop always has a church
                                                                    service, but we were in a hurry. The Scoutmaster
                                                                    gathered the troop at an overlook and said, ’For
                                                                    today’s sermon, look out there. Isn’t it beautiful?’
                                                                    He pointed at the northern end of the gulf and said,
                                                                    ‘Look down that way; it gets even better. Let’s go
                                                                    boys.’ Then we headed out.”




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