Event Information
Intermediate Backpacking: Fall Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls
Saturday, Jan 20, 2018
Take your backpacking skills to the next level and join us for an overnight backpacking trip at Fall Creek Falls!
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Join Team Lightning for a winter intermediate backpacking trip through Fall Creek Falls State Park. As its name suggests, this trail features breathtaking waterfalls, picturesque overlooks, and many beautiful suspension bridges!

When: Saturday & Sunday, January 20th - 21st (carpool at 7:30am, trailhead at 10:00am)
Where: Fall Creek Falls State Park
Pikeville, TN
Cost: Free

Distance: 12.8 miles round trip (optional side trails to base of falls and overlooks)
Estimated Hike Time: 5 hours each day
Estimated Drive Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced. Bbe prepared for rough terrain and rope bridge crossings.  There is an 800ft decent down to cross Cane Creek over a suspension bridge and then 800ft back up, all within 1.5 miles.
Trip Leader: Lee Fowler & Jerud Colbert

Group Size: 8 participants
Children Policy: This is an 18+ event
Dog Policy: Friendly dogs who have experience hiking over 8 miles and have camped overnight with strangers are permitted on this trip.


Itinerary subject to change based on trail conditions and weather.

Day 1:
7:30 a.m. CST, Meet at carpool location (details in confirmation email) 
9:30 a.m. CST, Arrive at FCF State Park, register at the nature center and fill out window tags
9:45 a.m. CST, move cars to the maintenance parking lot area at the north side of the park
10:30 a.m. CST, begin the lower loop trail, the first day is only slightly more than 5 miles.
4:00 p.m. CST, arrive at campsite. Set up camp, relax, and campfire!  

Day 2:
8:00 a.m. CST, depart camp and head towards the trail head.
1:00 p.m. CST, arrive back to parking lot and depart to Nashville. (Optional group Lunch/ Brunch on the way back)
4:30 p.m. CST, arrive back at carpool location.

Team Lightning practices Leave No Trace guidelines. Follow this link to see what you can do to keep our trails clean and safe. Please check out the Backpacking Checklist available on the Resources Page.


Length: About 8 miles to campsite (Day 1) and 4.5 miles back (Day 2)

Detailed Description: The trail is rated challenging but it is fairly flat until you reach Cane Creek Gulf (day 2). There is an 800ft decent down to cross Cane Creek over a suspension bridge and then 800ft back up, all within 1.5 miles. There is a waterfall about ¼ mile shy of the campsite down a branching trail that is worth checking out and also a place to filter water assuming its running. The trail remains fairly flat the rest of the way, we will cross creeks/ streams, they are all bridged. There is a side trail to Millikan’s overlook (.5 miles) that is worth the effort. At 9.5 miles you reach the Fall Creek Falls area. An additional .5 mile side trail will take you to the base of the falls. Continuing down the overnight trail, we will intersect the Woodland Trail and the Gorge Overlook Trail. We will follow the Woodland Trail back to the Nature Center while passing Cane Creek Falls Overlook. We can spend time at the nature center and Cane Creek Falls a short distance away. Leaving the Nature Center we will follow the Paw Paw trail. A little ways down we will pass the Cable Trail, a 200 yard trail down the base of Cane Creek Falls and Rock House Falls. If the water level is low enough we can also go to the top of Rock House Falls before we get to the Cable Trail. Once we are on the Paw Paw Trail, it will take us back to the car; the Cable Trail and the top of Rock House Falls are challenge by choice. At 11.2 miles the Paw Paw Trail will fork the left branch is .5 miles longer but will take us to several overlooks. We will connect to the final leg of the overnight trail at the back of the Paw Paw loop and it will take us to the parking lot.

What to Bring: Participants must provide their own backpacking gear and food. A checklist can be found on the Team Lightning Resources page. Dress appropriately for the weather conditions and anticipate 10 degrees cooler at a higher elevation.


This event is FREE, registration is required! Confirmation email will be sent upon registration!