Photo: Sarah Dunlap

From short, leisurely strolls along the river to multi-day trips through the heart of the Big South Fork backcountry, a network of trails in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area offer hiking opportunities for everyone. From waterfalls and overlooks to rock houses and cliff lines, the trails provide access to a number of scenic vistas. Hundreds of miles in all, the trail network is expansive with trails ranging from easy to challenging. See www.nps.gov/biso.


The mapped trailheads aren’t all the trailheads available in and around Scott County, but are a good start for hikers unfamiliar with the area. Click each trailhead for a brief description, directions and more.

Download: Hiking and equestrian trail map (PDF, 8.2mb)

John Muir Trail

John Muir’s travels took him across the Cumberland Plateau in the late 1800s, where he made note of the beauty of the region. Today, the John Muir Trail extends from the historic O&W Bridge to Pickett State Park, covering 44 miles in total. (A separate portion of the trail extends from Burnt Mill Bridge to the Honey Creek Loop Trail in the southern portion of the park but has not yet been linked to the larger segment.) The trail requires about four days to complete.

More: A continued look at trails in the Big South Fork NRRA  |  » A continued look at John Muir’s trek through BSF Country

Backcountry Camping

For those extended overnight trips, hikers will find plenty of suitable camping spots along the trails. Some choose to bring along their fishing tackle and catch their supper from the streams (a Tennessee fishing license is required). An Backcountry Camping Permit ($5) is required and is available from the Bandy Creek Visitors Center or from several merchants in the vicinity of the Big South Fork.

The Cumberland Trail

The Cumberland Trail is being built in segments and will eventually extend 300 miles from Cumberland Gap National Park in Kentucky to Chattanooga National Military Park at Signal Mountain just outside Chattanooga in southern Tennessee. To date, 175 miles of the trail have been constructed. The trail traverses part of the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. See www.cumberlandtrail.org

Resources: Trail map: QuickView | Download (PDF, 1.0mb)

Brimstone Recreation

The 20,000 acres privately managed by Brimstone Recreation, LLC are best known as a destination for off-road vehicles. However, hiking is permitted on the property as well, offering scenic views of the Cumberland Mountains. See www.brimstonerecreation.com.

» Explore Deeper…