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Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

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J F M A M J J A S O N D

214 mi 345 km of trail 14 Runs

Gems 2 Gems Easy Trails 22 Trails Intermediate Trails 59 Trails Hard Trails 7 Trails

Boasting miles of scenic sandstone bluffs and river gorges, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area protects the natural beauty of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. Covering 125,000 rugged acres of the Cumberland Plateau and spanning the states of Kentucky and Tennesee, the park is rich with history and nature, and the land has been developed to provide visitors with a multitude of recreational opportunities. Enjoy the views of pristine streams and impressive chimneys, arches, and cliffs that have been carved from the sandstone of the plateau.

To learn more about Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
Visitor center hours vary by season. Note that the park spans two time zones. To see current operating hours, visit the park's website.
  • Headquarters Building: Open 8 am to 4:30 pm ET, Monday through Friday.
  • Bandy Creek Visitor Center: Open 8 am to 6 pm ET, Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. Open 9 am to 5 pm ET during the winter. Closed on Christmas.
  • Crossville Visitor Center: Open 9 am to 5 pm CT, weekends.
  • Rugby Visitor Contact Station: Open 9 am to 5 pm ET, weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.
  • Helenwood Visitor Center: Open 9 am to 5 pm ET, weekends.
  • Blue Heron Interpretive Center: Open daily from 9:30 to 3:30 ET, April 1 through October 1.
  • Stearns Visitor Contact Station: Open 9 am to 5 pm ET, weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.

Fees & Passes
There is no entrance fee to Big South Fork NRRA. However, there are several types of user fees. To learn more about these additional fees, visit the park's website.

Visiting Tips

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Some facilities are closed or have reduced hours during the winter.

Camping & Lodging

Camping:
Big South Fork contains five developed campgrounds, including two equestrian camps. The various campgrounds offer a range of amenities and more information can be found here.

  • Bandy Creek Campground (TN): 96 hook up sites. 49 non-hook upsites. 2 group sites. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
  • Blue Heron Campground (KY): 45 sites. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
  • Bear Creek Horse Camp (KY): 23 sites. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
  • Alum Ford Campground (KY): 6 sites. Sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Station Camp Horse Camp (TN): 24 sites. Reservations can be made online or by calling (931) 319-6893.

Lodging:
Charit Creek Lodge is located in the Station Camp Creek drainage and offers a full range of amenities including cabin and dormitory rentals, meals, restrooms and showers. Access to the lodge is by foot, bike, or horse only. For more information or to make reservations, visit Charit Creek Lodge's website or call (865) 696-5611.

Food & Drink

There are no restaurants located within the park, but there are a variety of dining options located in the nearby towns. For more information on dining options in the Big South Fork region, click here.

Other Activities

The recreational opportunities in Big South Fork are seemingly endless, and visitors can choose from a long list of ways to explore the park and the surrounding areas. From hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and kyaking, there are many ways to explore all that the park has to offer. Be sure to check out the amazing mountain biking and rock climbing in the area. If you are looking for further recreational opportunities nearby, the Obed Wild and Scenic River, Dale Hollow Lake, Historic Rugby, and a variety of local state parks offer visitors additional opportunities to explore this great area. Visit Big South Fork's website for more information.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

Gems in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area - 2

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gem Favorite Crack in the Rock

Crack in the Rock

(2) Stearns, KY
gem Favorite You wouldn't ever know you were on top of the arch, until you get off of it.

Twin Arches

(4) Oneida, TN

Runs in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area - 15

Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Runs

Favorite Secluded Falls
Difficult

Honey Creek Loop

4.2 mi 6.7 km • Loop • 565 ft Ascent 172.29 m Ascent

(26) Huntsville, TN
Favorite This fantastic section of the trail runs behind Yahoo Falls.
Intermediate

Yahoo Falls Loop

1.1 mi 1.7 km • Loop • 176 ft Ascent 53.5 m Ascent

(9) Whitley…, KY
Favorite Runners navigate a bridge crossing at the intersection of Lick Creek Trail and the Sheltowee Trace.
Difficult

Yamacraw 50K

34.1 mi 54.9 km • Point to Point • 2,837 ft Ascent 864.76 m Ascent

(4) Whitley…, KY
Favorite The Big South Fork from the Angel Falls Overlook.
Difficult

No Business 100 - Counter Clockwise

104.8 mi 168.6 km • Loop • 9,779 ft Ascent 2980.59 m Ascent

(3) Stearns, KY
Favorite Angel Falls Overlook offers a stunning look at the Big South Fork Cumberland River.
Intermediate

No Business 100

101.6 mi 163.5 km • Loop • 8,884 ft Ascent 2707.72 m Ascent

(1) Jamestown, TN
Favorite Inside deep rock house
Intermediate/Difficult

2019 NB100 Training Camp: Day 1

21.6 mi 34.8 km • Loop • 2,391 ft Ascent 728.74 m Ascent

(2) Oneida, TN
Favorite The Big South Fork from the Angel Falls Overlook.
Difficult

No Business 100 - Bandy Creek Training Run

28.8 mi 46.4 km • Point to Point • 2,746 ft Ascent 837.1 m Ascent

(1) Oneida, TN
Favorite Spectacular view from one of the overlooks.
Difficult

Yamacraw 10K

6.4 mi 10.3 km • Out and Back • 904 ft Ascent 275.64 m Ascent

(1) Stearns, KY

Trails in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area - 74

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3.9 mi 6.2 km #1Twin Arches Loop Trail
Intermediate
Oneida, TN
Intermediate
3.9 mi 6.2 km Oneida, TN 19 
0.9 mi 1.5 km #2Twin Arches Trail
Intermediate
Oneida, TN
Intermediate
0.9 mi 1.5 km Oneida, TN 10 
0.9 mi 1.4 km #3Kellogg's Crack Loop
Intermediate
Huntsville, TN
Intermediate
0.9 mi 1.4 km Huntsville, TN
1.0 mi 1.5 km #4Honey Creek Overlook Access
Easy/Intermediate
Huntsville, TN
Easy/Intermediate
1.0 mi 1.5 km Huntsville, TN
2.0 mi 3.1 km #5White Oak Trail
Intermediate
Huntsville, TN
Intermediate
2.0 mi 3.1 km Huntsville, TN
1.3 mi 2.1 km #6Allerton Ridge Trail
Intermediate
Huntsville, TN
Intermediate
1.3 mi 2.1 km Huntsville, TN
0.4 mi 0.7 km #7Cliffside Loop Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Whitley City, KY
Intermediate/Difficult
0.4 mi 0.7 km Whitley City, KY
0.4 mi 0.7 km #8Cox Branch Trail
Easy
Huntsville, TN
Easy
0.4 mi 0.7 km Huntsville, TN
0.9 mi 1.4 km #9Massengale Loop Trail
Intermediate
Huntsville, TN
Intermediate
0.9 mi 1.4 km Huntsville, TN
0.4 mi 0.6 km #10Marker Arch Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Whitley City, KY
Intermediate/Difficult
0.4 mi 0.6 km Whitley City, KY
6.4 mi 10.3 km #11Blue Heron Loop Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Stearns, KY
Intermediate/Difficult
6.4 mi 10.3 km Stearns, KY
5.2 mi 8.4 km #12Grand Gap Loop Trail
Intermediate
Oneida, TN
Intermediate
5.2 mi 8.4 km Oneida, TN
3.4 mi 5.5 km #13Middle Creek Nature Loop
Intermediate
Jamestown, TN
Intermediate
3.4 mi 5.5 km Jamestown, TN
2.2 mi 3.5 km #14Topside Loop Trail
Intermediate
Whitley City, KY
Intermediate
2.2 mi 3.5 km Whitley City, KY
4.4 mi 7.1 km #15John Litton Farm Hike Loop
Intermediate
Oneida, TN
Intermediate
4.4 mi 7.1 km Oneida, TN
2.0 mi 3.3 km #16Gentleman's Swimming Hole Loop
Intermediate
Huntsville, TN
Intermediate
2.0 mi 3.3 km Huntsville, TN
2.2 mi 3.5 km #17JMT: Honey Creek
Difficult
Huntsville, TN
Difficult
2.2 mi 3.5 km Huntsville, TN
4.1 mi 6.7 km #18Burnt Mill Bridge Loop
Intermediate
Huntsville, TN
Intermediate
4.1 mi 6.7 km Huntsville, TN
10.6 mi 17.0 km #19Laurel Fork Creek Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Jamestown, TN
Intermediate/Difficult
10.6 mi 17.0 km Jamestown, TN 10 
2.2 mi 3.5 km #20Angel Falls Rapids
Easy/Intermediate
Oneida, TN
Easy/Intermediate
2.2 mi 3.5 km Oneida, TN

Photos of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area - 144

Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Photos

Secluded Falls
Feb 18, 2020 near Huntsville, TN
This fantastic section of the trail runs behind Yahoo Falls.
Feb 21, 2017 near Whitley…, KY
Winter Evening Skies - The scene at the end of the Angels Falls Trail of Big South Fork River in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.
Apr 7, 2016 near Oneida, TN
Runners navigate a bridge crossing at the intersection of Lick Creek Trail and the Sheltowee Trace.
Feb 21, 2017 near Whitley…, KY
Just off the John Muir Trail, Beaver Creek Falls is fantastic in February.
Feb 25, 2017 near Huntsville, TN
Yahoo Falls cascades over the trail tucked into the shelter of the cave.
Mar 12, 2017 near Whitley…, KY
Little bit further up from the symbol/stone bench.
Dec 1, 2016 near Oneida, TN
Honey Creek Trail
Nov 19, 2015 near Huntsville, TN