MEETUP Time @ 1st CARPOOL LOCATION 7:30 am (CT): Steak 'n' Shake parking lot in Antioch, off I-24 Bell Road Exit #59 - the parking lot formerly known as Target.
Note: I will not be at the carpool. I am looking for a volunteer to help locate lost hikers and coordinate rides.
MEETUP Time @ 2nd CARPOOL LOCATION 8:00 am (CT): Cracker Barrel parking lot in Murfreesboro, off I-24 Exit #81B
@Stone Door Trailhead around 9:20 am (CT)
HIKE DISTANCE: 10-13
DIFFICULTY RATING: Strenuous overall, with some moderate sections
DRIVE TIME: ~1 hr 20 minutes one way from the 2nd carpool
ACTIVITY TIME: Approximately 6 hours, but no promises
We will hike down the Stone Door Trail to the Great Stone Door, hike into the gorge and back out via the Big Creek Gulf trail, and back to the parking lot via the Big Creek Rim Trail. This is a beautiful area of one of my favorite parks, and we'll see a lot - the gulf is scenic a la Fiery Gizzard, and there are some nice views of the gorge on the way back.
We'll add side trips to see Ranger and Greeter Falls. The Gulf Trail is challenging, with significant elevation changes and some rocky terrain. The Rim Trail is a more relaxed walk back to the cars.
I don't plan to set any speed records, but this won't be a slow hike. Based on the pace, distance, and leg-killing climb out of the gorge, I recommend this one for experienced hikers with at least one 10+ miler in their recent pasts.
Trail map and descriptions are here.
Bring lunch and plenty of water.
Post-hike grub in Monteagle or Manchester.
To trailhead: I-24 East to TN-50 (exit 127). Take TN 50 to TN 56, continue north on 56 through Altamont and Beersheba Springs to reach Stone Door Ranger Station. Turn right on Stone Door Rd.; go 1.5 miles to trailhead.
Please offer your carpool driver sufficient money for gas and vehicle usage. Based on round trip mileage an offer of no less than $10 to $15 per person in a vehicle carrying 3 passengers would be appropriate.
We should complete the round trip and be back at the trailhead by 4:00p.m. - later if we hit Greeter Falls. Post hike meal is optional.
Please RSVP with integrity. If you've signed up, then learn you cannot attend, please change your RSVP to "No, Can't Go," as soon as possible.