• Cumberland Trails Conference Overlook

The Cumberland Trails Conference

Trailbuilders for the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park


Cumberland Trails Conference Mission Statement

The mission of the Cumberland Trails Conference is to serve as an advocate for the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Park (CTSSP) as a scenic foot trail, and to conserve natural resources and promote rational development within the counties surrounding it so as to preserve their natural beauty and intrinsic value for posterity. In doing so, we work in these regions.

  • To provide trail construction assistance to the CTSSP as requested and to participate with government and non-government organizations in local communities in the construction and maintenance of both TDEC approved access trails to the CTSSP and other trails not having access to the CTSSP.
  • To provide financial and volunteer assistance to the CTSSP in support of its responsibility to acquire land, design, construct and maintain the Cumberland Trail.
  • To promote the development, awareness and utilization of the CTSSP as a scenic foot trail.
  • To develop and maintain standards for trail design, construction and maintenance.
  • To promote the preservation of natural, cultural and historical heritage.
  • To promote educational and recreational opportunities relative to the CTSSP and other trails.
  • To assist local communities in acquiring approvals from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) for trail access to the CTSSP.
  • To provide financial and volunteer assistance to local communities in the planning, land acquisition, and design of trails.

Cumberland Trails Status

  • North Chickamauga Creek Segment: Gates Open 7 am – 7 pm M-F : 9am-7pm Sat/Sun
  • Laurel-Snow Segment: Gates Open 7 am – 7 pm M-F : 9am-7pm Sat/Sun
  • Head of Sequatchie: Open Saturday & Sunday 9 am – 5 pm CDT
  • All Other Areas:   Following the 7 am to Sunset policy set forth by Tennessee State Parks

12-18-2020: Laurel-Snow State Natural Area Closed Friday 12/18/2020 (NO CAMPING OR PARKING): Road Improvements – Will Re-Open Saturday 12/19/2020 at 8am ET (barring issues – which will be announced by the Cumberland Trail State Park).

The Cumberland Trails Conference Trail Crew has completed the construction portion of the section of trail between Black Mountain and Ozone Falls State Natural Area.  This section is not officially open until the Tennessee State Parks blazes the trail and puts up signage as well as a Kiosk.  This section of the Cumberland Trail will be open soon!

11-30-2020: **Closure** | Frozen Head State Park Boundary North to Arch Mountain: Downfall has made the trail impassable at several points. Navigating around the obstructions is dangerous. Map of Closure: https://ctsst.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=ae4ff34c7bc742e7a6c6e5b738f65c2c

Connects to Lawson Mountain…which has the following warning. 

11-30-2020: The Lawson Mountain Section of the CT is in poor condition. Be prepared to use GPS navigation. A form of GPS navigation is available on the Cumberland Trail Interactive Map Here: https://ctsst.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=ae4ff34c7bc742e7a6c6e5b738f65c2c  

Please exercise extreme caution, plan your trip, and do not continue (& turn back) if you lose site of the trail or blazes.

11-30-2020: Tank Springs Shelter (No Longer Exists) | A fire has destroyed the Tank Springs Shelter in Campbell County roughly 3 miles south of the Tank Springs Trailhead in LaFollette towards the Devil’s Racetrack in Caryville – a roughly 11-mile stretch.

Trail Updates

The following is open for feedback until February 19, 2021.

Tennessee’s Statewide Parks, Recreation and Conservation Plan 2030 will outline the recreation, parks, and conservation priorities for the State of Tennessee for the next 10 years (2020-2030). Tennessee must prepare plans for outdoor recreation needs every five years to be eligible for funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), so that is an important component of this plan. The statewide plan is still in the formation stage and we are asking for your opinion on the draft initiatives attached as well as your input as to the needs and interests that you consider as priorities for Tennessee the next ten years.

The plan can be found here.

Please click here to provide your feedback.

The stretch of trail from Black Mountain to Ozone Falls is now open. Click here for interactive map (includes area, trailheads, parking, etc.)

The Suck Creek bridge off Hwy 27 (near Mushroom Rock) in Prentice Cooper State Forest is washed out.

Staff are looking at possible options with an indefinite timetable for repair at this time.

The Nemo Bridge to Break-A-Way Bluff  segment of trail has continuous maintenance issues due to its topography – staff are working in the area but blowdowns & other issues are common even after recent cleanings. Please exercise extreme caution, plan your trip, and do not continue (please turn back) if you lose site of the trail or blazes. If you see issues report them at cumberland.trail@tn.gov or 423-566-2229 (M-F 8am – 4:30pm ET).

What is the Cumberland Trails Conference?

The mission of the Cumberland Trails Conference is to provide paid and volunteer labor, equipment, supplies and vehicles to design and construct the Cumberland Trail under the auspices of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The continued development and construction of the Cumberland Trail is accomplished through a working relationship between the Cumberland Trails Conference (CTC), the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Park, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.  The CTC, private corporations, foundations, individuals, and others assist TDEC in raising funds for land acquisition, providing maintenance, and further developing the Cumberland Trail.

The Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail State Park operates a professional trail crew mostly in the north sections.

The Cumberland Trails Conference also maintains a professional trail crew that works twelve months a year.  Additional labor comes from thousands of hours of volunteer service provided through the CTC, including through the CTC BreakAway, a college Alternative Spring Break program.

CTC is a non-profit 501-(c)(3) membership organization.

About the Cumberland Trail

The Cumberland Trail is an ambitious hiking trail project under development in East Tennessee.  This extensive trail is being constructed and maintained largely by volunteers from Tennessee and across the nation. Efforts are organized and managed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).

Building the Cumberland Trail is a grassroots effort, driven by communities along the trail, government agencies, hiking clubs and a broad network of individuals. This successful private/public partnership is a model often cited to demonstrate the power of volunteerism and public/private partnerships.

When completed, the Cumberland Trail (CT) will extend more than 300 miles from its northern terminus in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky to its southern terminus at the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park located on Signal Mountain just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee.

As of November 2019 over 210 miles of the trail are open for hiking. And work continues. Another 17 miles are complete but not open. These sections are waiting for bridges, final parking arrangements, signage or official opening dates.

Estimated completion date for all trail segments on currently owned state land is late 2021.

Alternative Spring Break

CTC Breakaway

Crucial to the construction of the trail is the participation of college students.  The CTC is a host site for the national Alternative Spring Break program.  Since 1996 college students have constructed over fifty miles of trail or nearly 25% of the open trail.

Help us build the trail

Donate to CTC

The Cumberland Trail has been and continues to be constructed largely by volunteers from many walks of life. This volunteer construction effort is managed by the Cumberland Trails Conference (CTC), a non-profit organization supported by tax deductible donations from supporters like you.

Cumberland Trail Segments

The scenic footpath follows a line of high ridges and deep gorges along or near the rugged, eastern edge of Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau. The trail offers a unique wilderness experience and many scenic views, waterfalls, landscapes, gorges, wildlife, and widely varying flora. As a remote, back-country trail, it meanders through eleven Tennessee counties, on lands managed by Tennessee’s Departments of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), and Tennessee Forestry.

There are more than 50 trail heads for the 12 Segments and 28 Sections of the 210 open miles on the Cumberland Trail.

Below the map are links to these 12 segments with their trail sections.  Click on the  links to get maps to sections of each segment.