Another weekend and another state park marked off on our goal of seeing all of the Tennessee state parks. This time we headed south east to Savage Gulf State Park so we could hike to the famed Great Stone Door. Savage Gulf is Tennessee’s newest state park. At one point Savage Gulf was a state natural area that fell under the care of South Cumberland State Park. But with how large of an area this is it needed its own designation.
Because this area is so large there are multiple places to enter. We entered through the north entrance after getting turned around a few times by the other entrances. We began the walk down a paved trail which took us to the Laurel Gulf Overlook. Already we could tell that this trail was going to give some beautiful views of those rolling hills of Tennessee.
Just past the overlook, the trail turned from pavement to dirt. Lines of roots created natural steps up the path. We passed a wizened old tree that must have grown around a large rock and when the rock was dislodged it left a big gap in the tree. This trail was a moderate hike just under 3 miles there and back.
We came to the crossroads of the trail where going left would take you to another overlook and going right would take you down through the Stone Door. We opted to go through the door first and then come back to the overlook.
Immediately the trail took on a mystical feeling as we took the stone steps past a twisted tree and into the crevice of the rock walls on either side. The steps seems to keep going down long past when you would expect them to. The steps are not uniform so be sure to take them slowly so you don’t see the rocks up close and personal.
On reaching the bottom we looked back up the steps. There are far more steps than you would guess from either the top or the bottom. It is only while you are in the middle do you realize just how long this path through the rocks is. From the bottom you can see the rocks resemblance to a door that has been left slightly ajar.
From the bottom of the Great Stone Door, the path continues down towards the base of the gulf. But we decided to go back up through the door to then see the overlook. We just loved the stairs in the rock and the absolute sense of wonder it gave to the hike.
On reaching the top we crossed the bridge which led us to the overlook. Nothing but green hills as far as you could see in every direction. There are some state parks that want to visit in every season and we are already making plans to come enjoy these views in the fall and hopefully in the winter if there is the rare snow fall. No matter the season, this park would be stunning.
We have really loved our goal of seeing all the state parks and Savage Gulf and the Great Stone Door is now firmly on our top 10 of favorite state parks that we have seen.
For some other of our favorite rocky places check out these:
Thanks for coming along on this hike to the Great Stone Door in Savage Gulf State Park. May stony paths lead you to spectacular views.