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Big Creek Gulf Loop



7.5 mile 12.0 kilometer loop
91% Runnable


Ascent: 1,037' 316 m
Descent: -1,035' -315 m
High: 1,905' 581 m
Low: 1,142' 348 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 39% (21°)


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Trail shared by Zach Sutton

After descending a stone staircase into the Savage Gulf follow along the Big Creek & waterfall.

Zach Sutton

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers


See two amazing overlooks of the Savage Gulf on this run and experience a very unique stone staircase that traverses a crack in the rock. Additionally, you'll run along "Big Creek" with very cool features, particularly after heavy rain, and lastly, you'll see a sink with waterfall.

This route is a neat mix of boulders, trail, water, and woods. In April, the wildflowers are very awesome. I stop running this trail in May-August due to snakes, but still an awesome run and camping time in these months.

Need to Know

Bathrooms at Ranger Station.


Starting at Stone Door Ranger Station, the first 0.9 mile is frequently traveled to the two amazing overlooks of the Gulf and stone staircase that leads between a split in the rock formation. This trail descends for another 1 mile over boulders and rock where it levels out a the base of the Gulf. Left is the "Connector Trail" that takes you to two other loops in the Savage Gulf State Park. For the Big Creek Trail, you'll turn right at the "T".

This trail is now officially the Big Creek Gulf Trail. Although this trail is host to less rock and boulders compared to the other portions of the Savage Gulf State Park trails, they are still present, but a fun mix for a technical run.

The run cruises along the Big Creek, which often brings a cool breeze. After a few rolling hills, you'll cruise past one major sink with a waterfall. At mile 4, the trail hits Alum Gap hill and returns 800 feet to the plateau, steep and challenging with loose rock. As you ascend, a stream and another cool breeze comes from the left side and you know you are close to the peak. At the top, the trail becomes Laurel Trail and is a fast, non-technical, 3 mile woods run back into the Ranger Station and parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers in April.
Snakes May-August.

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Jun 2, 2018
Kimi deMent
Big Creek Gulf was great. Skip easy connector back on Laurel; return on Big Creek Rim (Stone Door Connector) instead. Add 3mi detour to Greeter Falls.

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 17 votes


  4.4 from 17 votes
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in Tennessee


150 Views Last Month
3,902 Since May 15, 2016



Second overlook.
May 15, 2016 near Altamont, TN
Panoramic from second overlook on top of Stone Door.
May 15, 2016 near Altamont, TN
The Stone Staircase to Stone Door with some April wildflowers.
May 15, 2016 near Altamont, TN
Stone Staircase through the Stone Door.  It's a steep trail down to the connector trail "T" from here. Stunning trail!
Dec 4, 2016 near Altamont, TN
First look out early morning.
May 15, 2016 near Altamont, TN
Big Creek crossing (normally dry) to Ranger Creek Falls Trail.
Dec 6, 2016 near Altamont, TN


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