South Cumberland State Park is located within four different Tennessee counties: Grundy, Franklin, Marion and Sequatchie. The park is composed of approximately 30,845 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.
There are over 90 miles of hiking trails available at South Cumberland ranging from easy to strenuous with varying environs.
Buggytop is an impressive wild cave reached by a two-mile hike from the parking area to the cave entrance. If you have never visited Buggytop, it is recommended you join park staff on a ranger-led cave trip to familiarize yourself with the cave.
South Cumberland State Park is home to several very popular climbing areas: Denny Cove, Foster Falls, and Stone Door.
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. There are no lifeguards on duty at any swim areas. Please swim with caution and check with a ranger about uncertain conditions.
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.
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.
Open country birds such as Indigo Buntings, Field Sparrows and Eastern Bluebirds are among the many species seen here.
FOSTER FALLS CAMPGROUND
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.
This site is open to vehicles.
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.
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.
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