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Backpacking & Day Hiking

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Savage Gulf Natural Area to the Great Stone Door
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Nov 19 2005  9:00 am >> N/A
Registration Opens: Mon, Jan 1 2007 12:00 am
Registration Cut Off: Wed, Nov 16 2005 11:59 pm
Event Duration:per itinerary
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Trip Leader(s):
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:12
Minimum Group Size:4
Number Registered So Far: 7 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


Hopefully some fall colors will remain for this place that has plenty of scenery with or without them. After we arrive and park in the overnight lot and are permitted, we hike 4.2 fairly easy miles in mildly rolling terrain, to the Alum Gap campground. There are views of the Great Stone Door, on the way (a mile in), and several scenic views into the Big Creek ‘Gulf’, Tennessee’s name for a valley surrounded by the South Cumberland Plateau the Savage Gulf resides in. After arriving and setting up camp, in the group campsite, if a large enough group goes. We will then day-hike to three increasingly beautiful waterfalls, the last one very large, reached by going down a tall spiral staircase; on a mile and a half trail, each way, before returning to camp before dark; which is unfortunately so early these days.

On Sunday, after waking up and having breakfast, we will hike down into the Big Creek Gulf, past the Big Creek sinks where Big Creek just disappears into a ‘sink’, a limestone drain plug, typical in the Gulfs here, and Tennessee plateau topography in general. Then we make out way further on a side trail to Ranger Falls, a beautiful waterfall that also falls into a sink. This 2.3-mile trail (one way) is a good moderate climb going back to our campsite. Once there we will break camp, backpack out, and hopefully have time to stop, on the way back at Mary’s diner, near intersection of highways 108-56 north, for a good filling meat and three vegetables meal they do so well.

NOTE: There will be a mandatory pre-trip meeting at REI perimeter Thursday before the event. Also very importantly, Drinking of alcoholic beverages is strictly against the rules of the Savage Gulf campgrounds. If any are to be brought in and consumed, they must not be labeled or easily visible as such. Liquids like white wine (or other) in colored container will disguise it and be OK; The park Ranger has a back road he drives in and checks all campsites in the evening for such consumption (without fail). So, any we bring in must be inconspicuous and minimally consumed. I don’t want to be thrown out or banished (put on their guano list), from this place which has so much beautiful wilderness to offer.

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
Good hiking shoes or boots, I quart or liter of water minimum. Trail snacks for the walk in, lunch to be eaten either at campsite or on the waterfall trail-time dependent, one trail dinner and breakfast of some sort for Sunday morning. Please wear clothes and rated sleeping bags appropriate for the weather; (currently the lows in the evenings are low to mid 40’s and highs in the low to mid 60’s; which I will update the group on at Thursday, at the events mandatory pre-trip meeting at REI-perimeter. Trip leader will carry water filter for groups water, a medical kit and we will hang food in varmint bags before retiring for the evening (Bears are not around the Gulf, but raccoons are). Bring hot chocolate, tea or liquids to keep body warmer in the evening and to help warm up in the early morning. Weather is likely to be cool, so bring warm clothes in layers, if needed; and properly rated sleeping bags. Hopefully we’ll be able to find enough wood to build a nice fire to eat dinner and talk around; always an enjoyable highlight to any evening after hiking.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:Beersheba Springs, Tennessee Park and ride only-exit 271 is several miles north of the I-285 perimeter (2 exits past exit 268, the I-575, I-75 north split; Barrett parkway is exit 269; then Chastain Road is two miles further. Once off the exit, turn right, and almost an immediate right, at light, onto access road, just past KSU extension college, on the right, is the CCT park and ride lot. From the park and ride lot, we will travel north on I-75 until we reach Chattanooga, Tennesee and travel west on highway I-24 and shortly get to exit 155, to Jasper, TN. Then we travel north on highway 41, outside of Jasper through Tracy City and north several more miles to the Stone Door Ranger station, close to Beersheba Springs; where we pick up paperwork and permit to stay at the Alum Gap campground.


Are Dogs Permitted? No.

Will this event occur rain or shine? Not in terribly heavy rain or inclement weather, such as snow or extremely cold temps.

NOTE: Please be considerate of others. If you sign-up and cannot attend, please e-mail the trip leader, so others that may be on a waiting list may attend.

E-mail the trip leader to be put on a waiting list if the trip is at the max number of attendees.
* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cost Includes:Shared gas expenses 7-8 dollars and cost of dinner; 7-8 dollars max.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.