Savage Gulf State Natural Area - Tennessee


May 3, 2013
Waterfalls. Lots and lots of waterfalls.
I visited this area last fall during a dry period and didn't see a single drop of water anywhere. We've had a very wet spring this year, so after a few inches of rain and a short window of nice weather I drove the 5 hours south from Lexington to backpack the Big Creek Gulf/Big Creek Rim Loop. Overall about 12 miles of hiking with side hikes, 4 waterfalls, scenic views and very few people...weekdays are the ticket here, weekends can get very crowded.
I booked my backcountry camp for the Alum Gap campground, started at the Stone Door and headed down to Ranger Falls first. Last year a completely dry creek crossing, and dry waterfall. It drops directly into a sinkhole, so there's no outflow.



Over waist deep, shrinkage factor of 9 out of 10. Worth it though, Ranger Falls is a beauty.

Big Creek. Rarely flowing, most of the water disappears into sinkholes. Karst country.


Fly Poison


Greeter Falls

Greeter Falls and the sketchy staircase

Greeter Falls

Upper Greeter Falls

Laurel Falls

Evidence of past cultures...

I see you spring...finally some green! Stone Door Overlook


Area trail map...
Last edited:
I'll stop slackin'.
Beautiful. Hard to believe that those falls are not dependable.

Karst was a blast from the past when I studied karst topography.
I was able to finally make it to Savage Gulf in December, very interesting area and not many people, of course the highs were right about 30 and the lows were in the teens, that tends to keep people away :) I'll bet it is a zoo in the summer.

I posted a couple photos in the waterfalls thread
Yay! Waterfalls! Always make me so happy. :)
Thanks for the share, glad to hear it wasn't that crowded, seems like it would be, even on weekdays.
@wsp_scott great shots! So much to explore down there. Fiery Gizzard is next on the list.
Love those shots of Copperas Falls too.
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