BSA Troop 328

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

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Savage Gulf Backpacking

On the weekend of October 16-18 the troop went go on a 3 day / 2 night backpacking trip to Savage Gulf. The Savage Gulf State Natural Area (now part of South Cumberland State Park) encompasses the Collins River, Big Creek, and Savage Creek gorges (locally known as gulfs) as well as the surrounding plateau. Within the park, these streams descend more than 800 feet off the plateau and have carved sheer cliffs out of the layered sandstone. Our route will follow along the North rim of the Savage Creek gorge which has the best views and is pretty easy hiking. Check out the color coded trail map to see out route. The hike on Friday is outlined in orage, the Saturday hike is in blue, and the hike back to the trailhead on Sunday is outlined in yellow. We returned through the forest along the adjoining plateau and did not descend into the gorge. So there was no real elevation change over the entire three-day trip. The hikes tuend out to be a little longer than I estimated using the distance tool in Goole Maps. It was 8.5 miles form the trailhead to Hobb's Cabin, then 5.8 miles from Hobb's Cabin to the Dinky Line campsite, and finally 3.5 miles back to the trailhead. We met at Kern UMC at 7:00AM on the morning of Friday, October 16th (it was the last weekend of fall break). We had 13 scouts and 5 adults (1 scout and 1 adult joined up with us on Saturday) on this outing. We were on the road by 7:20AM and we got to the Savage Rager Station trailhead around 9:30AM (EDT). After organizing our gear, we headed out on the trail around 10AM. The trail was in good shape was well marked so our scout trailblazers had no trouble following the map. This part of the trail followed along the rim of the gorge. The views were awesome. We stopped for lunch at a nice overlook around 1:00PM and and finally got to the Hobb's Cabin campsite around 5:00PM. Becuase of the level terrain we were holding a good pace but it still took us 6 1/2 hours (not counting lunch) to hike the 8.5 miles. We setup camp, had dinner, and enjoyed a nice warm campfire. After setting the bear bags, we all turned in not long after dark. Saturday morning, we got up and had a leasurly breakfast before packing up for the hike to Dinky Line. The trail continued for another half mile or so along the rim and then turned back through the forrest across the plateau. We got to the Dinky Line campsite around 3:30PM with a 1/2 hour stop for lunch. We setup camp, scouted for water, and collected firewood before dinner. The scouts had a little too much free time on their hands and most the them had turen savage before dinner -- think "Lord of the Flies" but less organized. See the photos. After dinner we had another campfire, hung the bear bags, and went to bed. We tried to get an early start on Sunday morning, but were only marginally sucessful. The hike out was again very plesant. Our trail blazers finally missed a turn so the path followed more of the Friday route than we had planned, but the total distance was about the same so there was no harm done. We got back to the trailhead aroung 11:30AM and had lunch before loading up in the cars and heading home. We arrived back to the church around 2:30PM.

Large Color Coded Trail Map
Trail Map
Packing Checklist

Click here to see the awesome video of the hike that David Laffoon put together.

Savage Gulf Ranger Station Trailhead -- Friday Morning

Getting our gear toghther.

Mr. Eidemiller brought doughnuts!

Lined up for a headcount before we head out on the trail.

The kiosk at the trailhead.

On the Trail Friday Morning

This is where we plan to stop for lunch.

Lunch break on Friday

Looking back at the overlook where I took the photo of our lunch spot.

Back on the trail Friday afternoon

We noticed this sign about 30 yards off the trail. It reads "No Tresspassing American Lunber Co."
We finally reached the spur trail to Hobb's Cabin when we camped Friday night.

Friday Night at the Group Campsite at Hobb's Cabin.

We passed Hobb's Cabin on our way to the camping area.

The scouts are trying to get the fire started.

Camp on Saturday Morning

The scouts did a fair job of hanging the bear bags the night before.

Saturday Morning on the the Trail

Lunch on Saturday

Camp Saturday Night at Dinky Line

Only the finest facilities were at the Dinky Line campsite.

After all the chores for seeting up camp were done, the scouts started to turn savage. There must be something in the water around Savage Gulf!

Camp on Sunday Morning

On the Trail Sunday Morning

We made it back to the Savage Creek Ranger Station!

At Ranger Station on Sunday

We had lunch before loading up the vehicles for the ride home.