Summary: Head west from the parking lot and cross over the bridge this will take you to the Leatherwood Ford Trail then precede north as you follow the Cumberland River. After a mile and half you will cross a bridge over Fall Branch, take a moment for a peaceful rest. From here the trail ascends into the woods in route to Angel Falls Overlook. I rated this hike as easy, which much of it is, but you are about to navigate the only rough part, which involves large rocks and the only significant elevation change of the hike. You will soon see the overlook protruding from the landscape. The trail will go behind the overlook, take your time going between the rock formations, when you come to a intersection go right now on the Grand Gap to the Angel Falls Overlook which will provide some great views of the BSF Gorge.Continue your hike on the Grand Gap Loop Trail. This is a 6.8-mile trail that will follow the rim as winds it's way back to the intersection of the Leatherwood Ford Trail.
Trailhead: From Oneida TN. Take 297 West turn left on Leatherwood Ford Rd then right into Leatherwood Ford Trail parking lot.
****BIG SOUTH FORK NATIONAL PARK**** (Lat:36.47705 Lon:-84.66862)
Trail Guides for Angel Falls Overlook/Grand Gap Loop:
100 Trails of the Big South Fork: Tennessee & Kentucky
by Russ Manning (Mountaineers Books)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Big South Fork NRRA 423.286.7275
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Bobby Trotter, who has posted 74 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Daniel on 1/10/2007
This was my first backpacking trip and as such has become my favorite place to go back to. I personally prefer the winter hike the best because the trails are bare and you have a good view from the trail almost the entire time. I've also been during the spring/summer and enjoyed it almost as much, but the brush is considerably thicker at that time.
Reviewed by David on 12/5/2005
I enjoyed the hike very much. The first two miles are relatively flat and an easy walk and warm-up along the river. The incline of approximately 450' is pretty uniform and has some nice views. The top of the climb is worth the effort with great foliage, and of course the spectacular views from the overlook. I did the hike on a chilly overcast day in December, and am looking forward to a return trip in the spring and fall. This instantly became a favorite.
Reviewed by Evil J on 7/26/2004
Big South Fork is truly a gem. This particular hike is ok, but for those of you looking for solitude, like me, I recommend coming into the overlook from the John Litton Farm trail instead of the Leatherwood Ford area. You will run into less day hikers and less screaming children. The view is spectacular. There two overlooks, I prefer the more Southernly positioned, because it is on the "corner" of a ridge and has a more panoramic view. Sidenot...Angel Falls kinda suck. Real let down. They should be called Angel Cascades. The total elevation drop is only about 6-7 feet over 3 or 4 levels. Another let down in BSF is Slave Falls...which should be called Slave Trickle. I love BSF, but for falls, you should go to South Cumberland or FCF.
Reviewed by Brandon on 4/11/2004
I hiked from the trailhead to the overlook and back, and it was worth every bit of the six miles. Only the mile going up the hill after crossing the Fall Branch was the slightest bit of trouble. I wouldn't recommend taking any children, though, as it is a 100 foot drop at the overlook. As you look out, you are higher than the buzzards and get a great feeling. I would go every day if I could.
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