Rock Creek Segment - Cumberland Trail Hiking

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The Rock Creek Gorge offers pine and hardwood covered hills, several creek crossings, and scenic bluffs and views.

Written by

Rodger Ling


5.4 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

20.7 miles


2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

2 hours

2-3 hours


All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits




In addition to offering great views, the trails are in excellent shape due to the maintenance provided by volunteers for the Cumberland Trail Conference. The addition of bridges at the Rock Creek crossing and Boiling Springs Branch help keep your feet dry.

What Makes It Great

After leaving the parking lot at the Retro Hughes Road trailhead, the trail meanders smoothly through pine thickets and up and down hardwood covered hills with few rocks or obstacles.About 2.5 miles in to your hike, the terrain begins as you descend into the gorge, negotiating a short wooden ladder and then steep rock stairs to reach the 80-foot long Rock Creek Bridge. 

Depending on the season, you may encounter a roaring, whitewater section, or a calm creek making its way through boulders. Continue as the trail winds through large boulders dotting the landscape along the cliff base. In spring, the mountain laurel smell sweet and refreshing. The trail climbs to the side of the gorge and crosses Leggett Branch, Rocky Branch, and Flat Branch, each providing a nice cascade.  At mile 5, you'll reach the Boiling Spring Branch Bridge. The CT turns to the left on the other side and makes a steep ascent to the Upper Legget trailhead. To the right from the bridge, the trail leads out to the Lower Leggett Road trailhead. 

Who is Going to Love It

The moderate trail, with more scenery than obstacles, make this segment accessible to most any hiker. Trail runners will love the diverse terrain. Everyone is likely to love the sense of escape the Cumberland Trail provides.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The Retro Hughes trailhead is seven miles from Highway 27 in Bakewell.  The Leggett Road trailheads (upper and lower) are just a few minutes further down Highway 27 near the community of Sale Creek.

See for complete details, including maps.

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Rock Creek Segment - Cumberland Trail

Sale Creek, TN,
35.356056, -85.146417

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