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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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