Stone Door at South Cumberland State Park

South Cumberland State Park Stone Door

We recently took a quick trip to South Cumberland State Park and hiked to the Great Stone Door. This was a an fairly easy 1.6 mile out and back hike. The Great Stone Door at South Cumberland State Park and together with the Savage Gulf Area they make up about 55 miles of hiking with amazing views, overlooks, waterfalls, and historic locations.  Our hike to the Great Stone Door at South Cumberland State Park took around 2 hours including the time we spent at the overlook and going down into the gulf. Please note: this post may contain affiliate links.

Great Stone Door


Great Stone Door at South Cumberland State Park


The trail was well maintained.  It was mostly smooth and level with a few areas where tree roots or rocks had to be navigated.  Even those obstacles were pretty minimal.  The scenery along the trail was impressive.  Occasionally, you get a small glimpse into the valley below and get that much more excited about reaching the overlook.

Great Stone Door Trail South Cumberland


Once you reach the overlook area of the Great Stone Door you have a few options.  There are two bluffs you can step out on to view the valley below.  Both overlooks offer amazing scenery, and it would be difficult to choose one.  I recommend stepping out on both of them. Although walking out on them can be a little panic inducing if you have any problem with heights like me.


Stone Door Trail South Cumberland State Park


We sat on the edge of the bluff and let the breeze rush past us.  It is an amazing feeling looking out over the valley and just being still.  I could have sat there all day, but there was more trail that I wanted to explore.  Next to the Stone Door Overlook, is a huge crack in the rocks that gives the area its name.  This gap has a stairway leading down to the gulf.  We had to check it out.

Stone Door Stair South Cumberland


After we explored below the bluff a little we decided it was time for lunch and headed back to the car for a short break.

We rested for maybe 30 minutes and decided that the sign by the ranger station announcing Laurel Falls was only 287 yards away was too interesting to pass up.

Laurel Falls




Most of the 287 yards to the falls from the ranger station are down a long series of stairs built into the hillside. As long as you pace yourself going in and out the steps are not to bad.  Unfortunately Middle Tennessee has not had much rainfall lately and the falls were dry.

Laurel Falls SOuth Cumberland

The view was still beautiful and I can’t think of a better way to spend a day in the fall.  The weather was perfect, the leaves were at their peak, and everyone we met was friendly.  Since the water was gone we walked over to where the falls normally flow to look back at the observation deck.

Laurel Falls Stone Door South Cumberland


South Cumberland State park is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  After our recent trip to Fiery Gizzard and now this trip to the Great Stone Door I am blown away by what this park has to offer.  I plan to spend a lot more time there in the coming months.

Enjoy one more shot from Stone Door!

Great Stone Door


What are your favorite hikes in Middle Tennessee?  Have you been to Stone Door? Where else should we go?  Let us know in the comment section.

Stone Door

36 Comment

  1. So much beauty! I would love a chance to hike here.

    1. It is a beautiful place! I’m fortunate to be fairly close to it.

  2. I have been reading so much about Tennessee lately, and when I read the title of this post, I thought of the Lord of the Rings or some other giant door leading to a magical world. I would love to climb up that secret stairway between the crack in the rocks. Just beautiful!

    1. That staircase is a workout coming back up!

  3. We are planning on going to the Cumberland Plateau next year when we go to TBEX. Hopefully, some friends will be taking us on some wild caving trips while we are out there. Your post and pictures were beautiful and we can’t wait to see it in person.

    1. You will have a blast. There is so much to explore in the area!

  4. I love looking out over bluffs, makes me feel like an explorer. Tends to make my friends a bit nervous how close I get to the edge though! Love the photos.

    1. Thanks! There is something about peering over the edge!

  5. Looks like a nice hike!Great views, never really considered discovering this area on my trip to the US. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  6. What beautiful scenery–it reminds me of hikes I’ve taken near Julian in California and in the Cascade mountain range in Washington. I think hiking is one of the best pastimes for fall…temperatures are cooler, and the fall colors add so much!

  7. wow…that trail looks so amazing with such picturesque scenes….

  8. This looks like an amazing hike. I will have to make a stop there on my next journey through Tennesee on my way to North Carolina.

  9. Wow that’s so beautiful. I love going on hikes whenever I visit a new place

  10. Wow!!! Absolutely gorgeous 🙂 I live in NC and may have to make a trip to TN soon! Beautiful pictures!

    1. It is definitely worth the trip!

  11. I haven’t heard of this place but it looks like a great place to hike. Love all the photos! This would be any hikers dream.

  12. This looks absolutely beautiful, as if there wasn’t already enough places on my bucket list for the US haha.

    Lisa |

  13. Beautiful!!! It looks so peace. I have never been but your photos and how you’ve painted your experience has me convinced that it should be on my list.

  14. Wow, this looks like an amazing hike. I bet it looks stunning during Indian Summer and seeing the changing colors over the rolling hills.

  15. I’ve been wanting to visit Tennessee! I’ll have to check this out when i go! Thanks for sharing!

  16. I am not a big hiker, but this looks so peaceful and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I am continuing to be very impressed by North America’s parks and how well they’re maintained. I love nature and whilst not a huge keen hiker, love to amble around and appreciate the sights and sounds.

  18. Great views here! The sort of experience that reminds me why I love hiking 🙂 The colours of the foliage and the sheer rock faces are particularly beautiful.

  19. fantastic scenery. The US is so big, I am always discovering new awesome places

  20. These photos are beautiful! I’m also from Middle TN I have never been to most of the places you mention. I obviously need to broaden my horizons!

  21. This is such a cool place! The views are what every hiker’s wanted.

  22. I haven’t been to this state park, but it reminds me a lot of the hikes I been on in Northwest Arkansas. I need to plot out some time to spend getting to know Tennessee better.

  23. Whoa..Looks like a nice park! Various things to see there. I would have visited there if I knew about this place when I was in Tennessee back then.

  24. South Cumberland State Park looks awesome. It looks like a very challenging trail but it’s worth it. The scenery looks beautiful.

    1. Surprisingly, this trail is not incredibly challenging! These amazing views are fairly easy to get too 🙂

  25. Great Stone door looks like a great place to hike. Glad you had fun. I’m going recommend it to my friends living in the area. Keep writing.

  26. That looks like a fantastic hike through a very scenic park. I had no idea that Tennessee is so beautiful since I don’t really know much about Tennessee. The looks outs are great but not sure how close to the edge I would get. We’ll be sure to check out Great Stone Door whenever we get to Tennessee.

  27. I love a walk/hike though the woods – but I couldn’t do too many of those stairs! The photography is stunning. Really, REALLY beautiful scenery.

  28. What a beautiful place to visit! That stairway looks amazing, and i totally see why you couldn’t pass up visiting the falls too.

  29. I have never been in Tennessee but hopefully someday I will. This hike looks beautiful. I love being in the nature and hiking, and this would be something I would absolutely love to do. In such a great weather too! Looks so much fun.

  30. That place is really beautiful. We would love to hike someday.

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