Crossing the Tennessee – Kentucky border, the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River cuts a 90-mile long gorge that was spared damming in 1974 when 125,000 acres were set aside by the federal government. The area is renowned for its Class IV rapids and 400 miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Seasonally, a concessionaire runs the Big South Fork Scenic Railway from Stearns Depot to the Blue Heron Mining Community, an outdoor museum.
Natural bridges, waterfalls, whitewater, train ride, trails, new film
The film shown in the 6 visitor centers was released in 2016 and provides an excellent overview of the area. You might want to ask for the subtitles to be turned on so you can understand the regional accents.
We enjoyed our 2-mile hike to Twin Arches (which are actually natural bridges formed by water). We look forward to returning to this park to explore its other trails and waterways, especially to see Wagon Arch, Yahoo Falls, and Devil’s Jump Rapids.
Of the two Twin Arches, North Arch (93-foot span) is easier to photograph than South Arch (135-foot span) because there are fewer trees in the way.
Summer, though the Spring Planting Festival (April) and “Haunting in the Hills” Storytelling Festival (September) offer many free activities.
None, except to ride the concessionaire-operated Big South Fork Scenic Railway.
The dirt roads we drove (Divide Road and Twin Arches Road) were passable for any vehicle.
There are many options, from full service Bandy Creek Campground in Scott State Forest to dispersed backpack camping along the trails.
Explore More – How deep is the gorge cut by the Big South Fork River?