Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail
Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park
The Cumberland Trail is an ambitious hiking trail project under development in East Tennessee. When completed, the Cumberland Trail (CT) will extend more than 300 miles from its northern terminus in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (TN/KY) to its southern terminus at the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park located on Signal Mountain just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. This scenic footpath follows a line of high ridges and deep gorges lying along or near the rugged, eastern edge of Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, offering a unique wilderness experience and many scenic views, waterfalls, landscapes, gorges, wildlife, and widely varying flora. As a remote, backcountry trail, it will meander through eleven Tennessee counties, primarily on public lands. These lands are managed by Tennessee’s Departments of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), and Forestry. The trail also connects two national parks and passes through a national wild & scenic river area. In 1998, the land the trail passes through was designated the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, Tennessee’s first linear state park. The CT is an official component of the Tennessee Recreational Trails System and a legislatively designated State Scenic Trail. Furthermore, the Cumberland Trail is a part of the Great Eastern Trail, which is under development and will extend from Alabama to New York when completed.
The continued development and maintenance of the Cumberland Trail has been accomplished through a working relationship between the Cumberland Trail Conference (CTC) and TDEC. The CTC, other nonprofits, private corporations, foundations, individuals, and others assist TDEC in raising funds for land acquisition, providing maintenance, and further developing the Cumberland Trail.
This extensive trail is being constructed and maintained largely by volunteers from Tennessee and across the nation, organized and managed by the CTC. The Cumberland Trail Conference (CTC) is an affiliate of the Tennessee Trails Association (TTA), a non-profit 501-(c) (3) membership organization. The CTC’s mission is to design, construct, maintain, and raise funds in support of the Cumberland Trail. Building the CT is a grassroots effort, driven by the communities along the trail and a broad network of individuals from across the U.S. This very successful private/public partnership is a model often cited to demonstrate the power of volunteerism and public/private partnerships.
Under the leadership and management of the CTC, 190 miles of the trail have been constructed and are maintained. These trail miles are divided into 15 segments, addressable through this site. Please explore this website.
Your support is greatly needed and there are many ways to help. You can take a hike on the Cumberland Trail, volunteer time for trail construction and maintenance, become a member of the CTC, or make a monetary contribution to the project to support work and maintenance on the trail.
The map below shows open trail, trail under construction, and proposed trail. For detailed descriptions of each segment, click the links to the right (listed north to south) or click the map for a larger version.
The Cumberland Trail is part of the Great Eastern Trail: