Location: Cumberland Gap to Chattanooga
The Cumberland Trail passes through the Cumberland Mountains between Norris Lake and the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. It traverses both Frozen Head State Forest and the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. Eventually, it will be connected to the trail system of the Big South Fork NRRA, which will also connect it to the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail.
The Cumberland Trail became Tennessee’s 53rd state park in 1998, when it was named for Justin P. Wilson, the state comptroller and former commissioner of the TN Dept. of Environment & Conservation. Wilson donated a significant tract of land to make the trail possible.
Stretching from Cumberland Gap National Historical Park to the end of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the Cumberland Trail is Tennessee’s only linear state park. Although it isn’t yet entirely complete, it will eventually stretch more than 300 miles, covering the length of the state from north to south.
Currently, about 210 miles of the trail have been completed, including the Cumberland Mountain segment that traverses the Cumberland Mountains, as well as the Smoky Mountain segment, the Frozen Head segment, and the Obed Wild & Scenic River segment, which also fall into the Cumberland Mountain region.
A great hike
Although the entire length of the Cumberland Trail has not yet been completed, hikers can currently hike all the way from LaFollette to Wartburg uninterrupted — through Cove Lake State Park, the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area and Frozen Head State Forest.
The hike features significant elevation change, climbing to the tops of the mountains — including near the peaks of Smoky Mountain, Frozen Head and Bird Mountain — and dropping into the valleys to trek alongside streams and lakes.
For an interactive trail map, including current hazards and closures, see here: https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=762f5151ba8045b2b076c0455f37179a&extent=-86.8081,34.9055,-82.7514,36.8174