Hiking in the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge. (Photo: Bob Butters)

The North Chickamauga Creek State Natural Area is currently closed until further notice.

This closure includes all areas of the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge including the Blue Hole.

According to Cumberland Trail State Park officials, this closure is due to construction in the area and is to ensure public safety. All public visitation, including camping and hiking, is prohibited. Violations of this closure will be subject to towing and citation.

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Park staff appreciate the response and concern for the area closure and are providing the following details to clarify any confusion.

  1. The area closed includes the section of trail from Stevenson Branch Campsite to Montlake Road (including the North Chickamauga parking area).
  2. The area from Barker Pounds Rd at the Barker Pounds Trailhead to the Stevenson Branch Campsite is open. However, if you travel south past the Stevenson Branch Campsite you will be in the closed area and subject to citation. So the public is advised not to use the Barker Pounds access as a back way in, as there will be patrols in the entire area.
  3. The closure is due to electrical and water installation work for a ranger station to be constructed in the area. There is no bridge work in the area at this time. The closure is for public safety which is of utmost concern. Having people in an active construction area presents a high danger risk.
  4. Estimated time is 2-6 weeks from closure, which was effective May 9th.

The ultimate goal is to always have the park open and provide a safe and enjoyable experience. In this case, safety must take precedence; park staff asks for your understanding and patience at this time.

As the nearest ranger station for Cumberland Trail State Park is currently in Cumberland County, rangers in the southern segment do not have a base to operate out of, which means no place to store rescue equipment, maintenance equipment, host events, etc.

The Cumberland Trail is also a park still under construction and not complete. Whereas most parks are located in one physical location the CT stretches for over 300 miles north to south. Constructing ranger stations and other infrastructure are some of the next steps needed to get closer to completion; such as building shelters, camping areas, and more fleshed out recreational opportunities.

Once completed, this ranger station will make storing equipment and dispatching staff to build shelters, rescue missions, etc. more efficient. This is another step towards the goal of making the Cumberland Trail a premier destination.

If you have any questions feel free to call the main park office at 423-566-2229 (Monday-Friday 8am-4: 30 pm ET).

Look for updates and view a map of the closed area at the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail  Facebook page.

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