Connector Trail Professional Review and Guide
"The Connector Trail connects the major trails in the Savage Gulf State Natural Area and is the only trail giving access from one side of the natural area to the other, crossing the three main gulfs along the way. At rare times of high water, the Connector Trail is impassable. A side trail leads to the Decatur Savage Historic Site. The original cabin, built in 1910, had some later additions, but they were removed when the cabin site was included in the natural area. Cator Savage, who built the original cabin, was a descendant of Samuel Savage, the early settler for whom Savage Gulf is named. Camping is available at Hobbs Cabin and the Sawmill Camp Area."
--Russ Manning, 40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland (The Mountaineers Books).
This is truly the connector trail. I have done the entire trail in sections. The bottom part towards the stone door is fairly easy with lots of views and bridges. The end toward Hobbs cabin is tough tough with a climb and boulder field to navigate.
We began our trek at the Savage Gulf Ranger's Station. We camped at Stage Road Campground and descended into the gulf by way of the Stage Coach Road Trail. We got on the Connector Trail at Sawmill Camp. From there, the trail takes you down hill until you reach Big Creek. There is a very nice swinging bridge that spans Big Creek. After you cross the creek, the trail begins to ascend the north side of the gulf giving the hiker a very scenic view of the gulf. At times the ascent is very strenuous, but there are places that have a slow ascent so you can catch your breath. There are two good places to get water: Big Creek (at the bottom of the gulf) and Laurel Creek.
It was a good hike. I'd certainly do it again.
This is a great hiking trail, but it is difficult. I started at the Stone Door, 1.9 miles from the beginning of the Connector Trail. The descent to the trailhead is the toughest part of the trail, but I did not go all the way to the end as I was day hiking. I made it to the Sawmill campsite and then turned back. My GPS indicated 11 miles total. Going to Hobbs Cabin would be about 17 miles round trip. I took a nap at the Cator Cabin. Sweet Spot. Saw nobody except at Stone Door.
Enjoyed the river crossings over the bridges.
Trail is in good shape and is well marked.
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