Hiking to the Great Stone Door- Savage Gulf State Park {Tennessee}

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:

Zion National Park- Utah

Franconia Notch State Park- New Hampshire

Rock City Gardens- Georgia

Banff National Park- Canada

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.

26 responses to “Hiking to the Great Stone Door- Savage Gulf State Park {Tennessee}”

  1. Looks magical Meg, especially the natural steps created by tree roots. Do you go for the day or have an overnight stay.

  2. What a beautiful park, I can see why you’d want to return again and again. The stone steps look so inviting, but precarious too. Lovely photos, particularly your family photo; your daughter is growing!

    • The steps were really beautiful, but definitely a little precarious because they are all different sizes. There are a lot more steps than you realize until you’re only half way down them.

      She’s growing up so fast, it’s hard to believe! I feel like every day she’s grown since the night before. I just want to hold on to these moments with her forever 🙂

  3. I do like the name Savage Gulf State Park, sounds like a challenge I could sink my teeth into. There are some seriously dramatic views here Meg, from the view at Laurel Gulf Overlook to the crazy trees and the stones of the “door” itself. I would put this one on our list if we ever get to Tennessee, love the shot of the four of you at the end.

    • There’s a lot of great names around here…Savage Gulf, Fiery Gizzard, Warriors Path… the names are just as great as the parks! The views were incredible and definitely gave the best of those rolling hills of Tennessee I think. 🙂

    • We said the same thing like we had stepped into Lord of the Rings. The steps were just so cool through the rocks but I was surprised at just how long of a staircase it is. All the more reason to bring on fall! 🙂

  4. That’s a wonderful walk with a real sense of mystery and expectation! The woods look like something from a fairy tale with all those twisted trees 🙂

    • Between the twisted trees and the stone steps it absolutely felt like we had stepped into a fairy tale or Lord of the Rings. Definitely a new favorite place in Tennessee 🙂

    • I feel really lucky that we live so close to so many state parks like this. The views are of those rolling hills never cease to amaze me 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend!

  5. Really beautiful, that look out point has amazing views. I also love the tree roots, but most of all love that shot of the three of you (four including the dog) <3

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