Summer Swimming Hole Tour 2021
Join State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath and Assistant State Naturalist Holly Taylor for a multi-day tour of beautiful pools on park streams along the trails of South Cumberland State Park.
AUGUST SWIMMING HOLE TOUR
Based out of South Cumberland State Park. Our base camp will be a group campsite and the picnic shelter at the Stone Door Entrance to the Savage Gulf State Natural Area.
- Monday, August 23 – Wednesday, August 25, 2021
- $250 per person; includes reservation fees, camping, four meals, transportation, and expert guides.
- Camping equipment is available for rent from Arrive Outdoors. Use this link to support Tennessee State Parks with your purchase.
All times are central.
Monday, August 23
Noon: We will meet at the Stone Door Picnic Shelter. During the first hour, Randy and Holly will invite participants to introduce themselves and get to know everyone else.
1:00 PM: Depart for Freeter Falls and the Blue Hole near Atalmont. This excursion requires walking over rugged rocky slopes to the spectacular swimming holes. The total distance is about 2.5 miles but is very beautiful.
5:00 PM: Return to Stone Door to set up camp. Fees for camping are included in the package price if you set up at the group campsite. Individual campsites are available for a separate fee. You must make your own reservation for individual sites. The camping is walk-in primitive, a short distance from the parking area.
7:00 PM: Park staff will do the cooking at the shelter for our camp supper. You are welcome to observe and learn some camp cooking skills. At dark, Randy will show some photos of the South Cumberland at different times of the year.
Tuesday, August 24
8:00 AM: Park staff will cook breakfast at the shelter for all participants. A variety of breakfast food will be available.
9:00 AM: Depart for the Fiery Gizzard (this will take 30 minutes). We will walk the Fiery Gizzard Trail to the Blue Hole Falls and Sycamore Falls. These falls have great swimming holes. The rugged trail is a 3-mile roundtrip and is spectacular.
Noon: We will have lunch from a local eatery and then travel 7 miles to the most spectacular swimming hole of the day at Foster Falls. The trail here is steep but only a quarter-mile.
Evening: Return to Stone Door where we will have another camp cooking demonstration at the shelter for Tuesday supper. A night walk and socializing around the campfire follows supper.
Wednesday, August 25
8:00 AM: Park staff will cook breakfast at the shelter for all participants.
9:00 AM: After Breakfast, we break camp and pack up and leave for the Savage Gulf Ranger Station near Palmer. There we will walk the 3-mile easy trail to Savage Falls and our last swimming hole.
Noon: Return from Savage Falls. This concludes the tour.
ABOUT YOUR GUIDES
Holly Taylor got her start with Tennessee State Parks as a Seasonal Interpretive Ranger in 2006, working six years at Edgar Evins State Park before working as a wildlife presenter for the Natural History Education Company of the Mid-South. She took time off to stay at home with her son before returning to TN State Parks as the assistant to State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath in 2018. She graduated from TTU in 2009 with a B.S. in Conservation Biology and also serves as the chapter coordinator for the Cumberland Mountain Chapter of the Tennessee Naturalist Program.
State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath has more than 36 years of experience with Tennessee State Parks. Randy served as a Ranger Naturalist at South Cumberland and Radnor Lake State Parks. He was appointed State Naturalist for Tennessee State Parks in 2007. A graduate of UT-Martin and former National Park Service Interpretive Specialist, Randy is one of the most sought-after interpretive specialists in the southeastern United States.