If you haven’t figured it out by now, Savage Gulf is near the top of my favorite Tennessee hiking spots. There’s so much to see in this state natural area. But, many of the hikes are a bit more challenging and require a solid 6+ hours to complete. However, the Savage Day Loop is the perfect introduction to this area of South Cumberland State Park.
Clocking in right around 5 miles (if you include a little spur to Savage Falls, which is completely worth it), Savage Day Loop has wooded trails, two suspension bridges, Savage Falls (upper and lower), and a fantastic view from Rattlesnake point. It’s such a great payoff for a relatively easy hike.
The true Savage Day Loop doesn’t include Savage Falls, but it is a quick .3 miles from the trail and well worth your time. (You’ll see signs for Savage Falls. Then just go back the way you came until you meet up with the loop trail again.) There’s stairs to the bottom of the falls where you’ll get the full effect. But, as with any waterfall and river, it’s quite slippery and boulder-y when you get to the base of the falls.
There’s also a couple campsites if you are looking to camp in this area. There are a handful of sites a stone’s throw away from the Savage Gulf Ranger Station, Then, there’s some sites near the falls if you were looking to do a little backpacking.
So, if you’re looking for a perfectly easy day hike in what I believe is one of the best hiking spots in Tennessee outside of the Smokies, get on out to the Savage Day Loop. (And also maybe invite me along because I love sharing this trail with others!)
Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 45 min
Trailhead: Savage Gulf Ranger Station off of TN-399
Trail: Savage Day Loop plus Savage Falls add-on
Length of trail: 5 miles including Savage Falls, 4.2 miles without the falls
Link to trail map: Savage Gulf State Natural Area
Campsites: Savage Station and Savage Falls, reserve here
Overview: A great introduction to the Savage Gulf system with a waterfall, suspension bridges, and sweeping views of the gulf.