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Maps & Trail Information
Still a work-in-progress, the Cumberland Trail is a remote, north south, footpath that passes through 11 Tennessee counties and two time zones on the eastern escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau. Once completed, the trail corridor will be contained on public lands. As of the end of 2016, 210 miles are open for hiking and other outdoor activities. The trail is divided into 12 different segments. Between these segments, land acquisition for the proposed trail corridor is an on-going process, so gaps in the trail route do exist.
Target date for completion of trail within state owned land is late 2019.
The Cumberland Trails Conference, along with Tennessee’s Department of Environment and Conservation, other government agencies, and private organizations are all diligently working to acquire the needed land and close the gaps. The open sections are all uniquely different and allow hikers access to remote areas preserved for their natural or scenic beauty that cannot be otherwise accessed.
The enabling legislation for the Cumberland Trail designates it as open for foot traffic only. Horses and motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Hiking the Cumberland Trail
For hikers interested in over-night camping, regulations vary depending on the land managing agency. Some back country sites have been established that require registration, while in other areas camping is allowed anywhere but Leave No Trace practices are encouraged. Please see the rules and regulations for the particular section of trail of interest. As with most remote back country, water sources, all drinking water should be treated. See our LINKS section for the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail web site.
Day hikers can access the CT at one of more than 30 trail heads spread out over 12 segments. Each segment, and each section within the segment, is detailed to the right with trailhead directions, maps, GPS data, description and photos.
In addition to providing quality outdoor experiences and supporting tourism, the CT brings opportunities for conservation education and the protection of natural and cultural resources. Tennessee’s hiking trails are a prime attraction to the most visited parks and provide numerous opportunities for environmental and cultural education. The CT brings watershed and view shed protection, greenway corridors, and wildlife conservation to this rich ecological region. Located in an economically challenged region; the Cumberland Trail provides both recreation and viable renewable economic opportunities to the communities of the Cumberland Plateau. Furthermore, the Cumberland Trail is a major component of the Great Eastern Trail. Once completed, this trail will provide hikers with an alternative to the relatively crowded Appalachian Trail.
The map below shows open trail, trail under construction, and proposed trail. For detailed descriptions of each segment, click the links to the right (listed north to south).
(Editors Note: In 2016 a major project was started to update maps and trail descriptions. In places descriptions are more up to date then maps. In other places trail has been rerouted to eliminate road walks or new parking areas have been added. This is a monumental project so please be patient.)