South Cumberland State Park - Monteagle, TN - Tennessee State Parks

 
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Welcome to South Cumberland State Park
South Cumberland State Park is located within four different Tennessee counties: Grundy, Franklin, Marion and Sequatchie. The park is composed of approximately 25,539 acres in nine separate areas and boasts some of the best hiking and backcountry camping in the region. The Fiery Gizzard Trail is a 12.5 mile long one-way trail that connects the Grundy Forest and Foster Falls. Hikers may observe nature, swim in Fiery Gizzard Creek, see spectacular rock formations, cascading streams, waterfalls, rocky gorges, panoramic overlooks and lush woodlands. This trail has been rated by Backpacker magazine as one of the Top 25 in the country and should not be missed! The Savage Gulf and Stone Door areas of the park offer approximately 55 miles of hiking to remarkable vistas, waterfalls and historical locations such as the Stage Coach Road. The Great Stone Door is an impressive cliff line overlooking the Savage Gulf. It gets its name from a crack in the cliff that runs from the top to the bottom that looks like a door left slightly ajar. This is one of the many ways to access the gulf below. Many of the trails are perfect for wildflower hunts as the hiker traverses the different environs of the top of the plateau and the deep gulfs. Carter Natural Area is part of a unique 18,000-acre enclosed-valley sinkhole aptly named Lost Cove. Dense forests, clear streams the striking Buggytop Cave entrance, one of the largest cave openings in the state, are a few of the features found here. Sewanee Natural Bridge is a beautiful sandstone arch that overlooks Lost Cove and is an easy hike from the parking lot. Grundy Lakes, a day-use area near Tracy City, provides swimming, picnicking, fishing, hiking and a view of 19th century coke ovens. The visitor’s center has interpretative exhibits and provides information on each component of the South Cumberland State Park and is a great place to picnic before beginning the adventure. Also located just outside the visitor’s center are various recreation fields (Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Horseshoes, Tennis, and Baseball) and equipment can be rented for free from the front desk. South Cumberland State Park has four picnic pavilions for larger parties that can be reserved in advance. There are also eight other small picnic areas with grills located throughout the park. Camping at the Foster Falls Campground and backcountry camping are popular activities at South Cumberland. There are more than 100 backcountry campsites scattered throughout the park. These are primitive, backcountry sites and hiking is required to reach all of them. Reservations are required for all camping, and can be made online. To stay up-to-date with the latest park news, announcements and programs be sure to follow us on Facebook. A variety of videos about South Cumberland are available for viewing on the Tennessee State Park You-Tube Channel. Titles include: Rock Climbing, Butterfly Bonanza, Camp Discover, Forging the Fiery Gizzard, Fiery Gizzard, Protecting a TN Treasure and Hike 'Em All.

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BIRDING
Open country birds such as Indigo Buntings, Field Sparrows and Eastern Bluebirds are among the many species seen here. Birding of the deciduous forest canopy during migration is facilitated from some of the Savage and other units spectacular bluff line overlooks.

FISHING
Four small lakes at Grundy Lakes in Tracy City range from one to sixteen acres in size and provide bank and wade fishing for trout, bass and bream. A one-acre lake with similar species is located on the Meadow Trail near the visitor center.
Personal boats are not permitted in the lakes. Boats and fishing are not permitted on the Collins Scenic River section located within the State Natural Area boundary.

HIKING
From peaceful walks through a meadow full of wildflowers to a trip back in time to a coal mining area to breath-taking overlooks of the Cumberland Plateau, South Cumberland is a wondrous hiking destination featuring waterfalls, vistas, historical areas and some with old growth trees. There are over 90 miles of hiking trails available at South Cumberland ranging from easy to strenuous with varying environs. The park is divided into three Ranger Districts, each with its own ranger station/visitor center and each district offers numerous opportunities for enjoyable hiking options.
Visitor’s Center:
Meadow Trail Hike - 1.3 mile easy, round trip hike with views of wildflowers, wildlife, a pond and berries; can you identify what the trail used to be before it was a park? Ask a Ranger for the answer!
Grundy Lakes:
Lone Rock Trail - An easy 2.3 mile roundtrip hike circling the Grundy Lakes. Set time aside to explore the coke ovens and to enjoy the views of the lakes in this historical area. Ask a desk attendant for a brochure on the ovens.
Fiery Gizzard Trails:
Grundy Day Loop - This moderate 2 mile roundtrip hike will take you past multiple waterfalls, ancient trees, and plenty of enjoyable swimming holes.
Sycamore Falls Loop - A moderate, 3 mile hike that drops off the top of the plateau and brings you to some interesting geologic formations and waterfalls. Don’t forget your bathing suit to take a dip in the refreshing Sycamore Falls swimming hole!
Climber’s Loop - This 2 mile roundtrip hike takes you along beautiful cliff line and along the base of towering bluff walls. Oh, and the picturesque Foster Falls is located on this hike!
Raven’s Point Loop - A difficult 10 mile trek into some of the more remote areas of the Fiery Gizzard. Please allow adequate time to make this hike (and of course to see the many springs, sinks, caves, overlooks and waterfalls). Meet this trail by way of the Fiery Gizzard below Sycamore Falls and be sure to check out the Raven’s Point spur trail.
Foster Falls to Small Wilds - A 5 mile out-and-back hike that will take you past waterfalls and some pretty cool overlooks.
Buggy Top:
Buggy Top Trail - A moderately difficult 4 mile roundtrip hike to one of the largest cave openings in Tennessee. Watch your footing as you descend into Lost Cove and rest at the opening of the cave before heading back up. Bring lots of water.
Savage Gulf Trails:
Savage Day Loop - This easy 4.2 mile roundtrip hike is a perfect afternoon outing for those looking to view the gulf and Savage Falls.
Stone Door Hike - This easy 2 mile out-and-back hike is a must for all those first visiting the park. The Great Stone Door and the cliffs are not to be missed by anyone!
Suter Falls Hike - A difficult 2 mile out-and-back viewing Suter Falls, rock shelters, and high bluffs.
Horsepound Falls - A difficult 5 mile out-and-back hike perfect for those looking for a unique waterfall, overlooks, and lush wildflowers in the spring.
Big Creek Rim - An easy 7 mile roundtrip hike overlooking some great views and of course the Stone Door!
Big Creek Gulf and Rim - A difficult 9 mile roundtrip visiting waterfalls, sinks, overlooks and wildflowers.
Greeter Falls - A moderate 1 mile out-and-back visiting the beautiful Greeter Falls as well as some smaller waterfalls and historic sites.

INTERPRETIVE PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
Throughout the year interpretive or recreational programs are offered by staff or volunteers of South Cumberland State Park. The greatest number of programs are offered during the summer but participants are welcome during all seasons. These programs vary from year to year but may include: interpretive hikes/walks, canoeing, introductory rock climbing, animal shows, instructional classes, start gazing, creek critter surveys, etc.
While visiting South Cumberland be sure to take advantage of the programs being offered. Many are geared towards children while others may be geared primarily to an adult audience. Detailed descriptions of offered programs can be found at the park’s Facebook page or on our events web page.
South Cumberland also offers some annual programs and events including the Friends of South Cumberland sponsored Trails and Trilliums event, Savage Gulf Marathon and the Fishing Rodeo. For more information about these, please call the park or check the event web page.

PICNICKING
South Cumberland is a perfect haven for those wishing to take their meals outside. Picnic tables are available at all trailheads except for Buggytop and the Sewanee Natural Bridge with some sites having access to grills. The Grundy Lakes area has picnic tables spread around the lakes and near the beach site allowing for a quick transition from swimming to freshly prepared meals!
For those needing a little larger set up for parties or gatherings there are two shelters that can be reserved online or by calling the Visitor’s Center. The Grundy Forest Pavilion is a recreation of an old CCC pavilion and is located at the Fiery Gizzard Trail Head in the Grundy Forest. Water is available in the bathrooms and a grill is located next to the pavilion.
The Visitor’s Center Pavilion has access to bathrooms, a grill, water spigot, as well as various recreational sports areas.

RECREATION FIELDS
Located around the Visitor’s Center are numerous sports fields for planned gatherings or just a spontaneous family outing. These sites are occupied on a first come-first serve basis and limited equipment can be rented for free from the Visitor Center before 4 p.m. Available sites include: 1 basketball court, 1 beach volleyball court, 2 tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and a baseball field.
Located at the Grundy Lakes area is a workout area and a basketball court, equipment cannot be rented from the Visitor’s Center for these areas.

SWIMMING
While there are no swimming pools at South Cumberland there still exists numerous opportunities to escape the heat of summer. One of the most popular destinations is the Grundy Lakes area, located just four miles from the visitor’s center. A man-made beach is perfect for lounging in the sun or for spreading out a water-side picnic. Also at the site is a swim-up dock for the sun bathers and jumping children. Please no glass items in the beach area.
For a little more adventure, one can venture to one of the many waterfalls that can be found along the trails. These areas are wonderful opportunities to escape beneath the forest canopy and cool off in cold creek waters. There are no lifeguards on duty at any swim areas. Please swim with caution and check with a ranger about uncertain conditions. Please, no jumping from falls. Many of our waterfalls may look enticing but the water beneath the falls is shallow and often there are submerged dangers such as rocks and trees.

CAMPING
Rates: $8 — $45
Taxes and fees are not included. Rates subject to change. $5 reservation fee per site is non-refundable.
FOSTER FALLS CAMPGROUND - Open to Vehicles - Reservations Required
The Foster Falls campground has 26 rustic campsites ideal for tents or small trailers. The Foster Falls Campground is the only camping area in the park where guests may park a car and/or pop-ups next to the campsite. The campground is open year-round. All sites have a fire ring and a picnic table. Most sites are wooded, offering some shade and have a level, gravel surface. A few are on a slight incline. There are no water or electric hook-ups but a restroom and heated showers are available. No gas generators are allowed at the Foster Falls Campground.
BACKCOUNTRY CAMPING - Reservations Required
South Cumberland boasts over 90 miles of backpacking trails with 93 campsites, eight group sites and one rustic lodge, the Hobbs Cabin. These campsites are located within 12 designated back country campgrounds across the Fiery Gizzard and Savage Gulf trail systems. South Cumberland encourages visitors to reserve your campsite early to ensure you have a site upon arrival. Remember, follow all park rules and be prepared to have a rewarding backcountry experience.
All campsites are limited to four adults and two children. Children are defined as ages 13 and younger. Site capacity information can be found under site features on the campsite reservation page. Please look closely at your campsite's capacity when reserving.
Each site has a designated fire ring. Hiking is required to reach the sites, although a few sites are available at only 120 yards from the parking lot. Water must be filtered from natural sources or carried in, be sure to check with the ranger stations about water availability. A pit toilet is also available at each campground.
South Cumberland has primitive group campsites at most Savage Gulf campgrounds. These sites can accommodate from 30-60 campers, depending on the site and location.
The Hobbs Cabin is a beautiful rustic cabin with fireplace that can house a group of six people.

PAVILIONS
Rates: $20 — $40
Taxes and fees are not included. Rates subject to change.
South Cumberland State Park has four picnic shelters/pavilions that may be reserved for your next event or gathering. Depending on the shelter, the maximum capacity ranges from 25 to 50 people. The shelters are equipped with picnic tables, a grill, and access to restrooms. Depending upon the shelter, access to trails, swings, tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, basketball court or a ball field are nearby.
Full day shelter reservations may be made online or by calling the park.
Picnic shelters or pavilions may be reserved online up to one year in advance with a paid reservation fee. There is a cancellation fee for picnic shelter or pavilion reservations cancelled eight days or more in advance of the reserved date. Reservations cancelled seven days or less in advance of the reserved date forfeit all paid fees.

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Location

Address
11745 US-41
State/Province
Zip Code
Latitude
35.26
Longitude
-85.79
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RVPoints Rating

1 reviews

South Cumberland State Park
Overall rating 
 
4.9
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5.0
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