Hike Into History | “Following in the Footsteps of Governor Dunn”
Highlights for a self-guided hike
Trailhead: Savage Day Loop (at the Savage Ranger Station, off TN 399) Palmer, TN [map]
To celebrate the more recent history of the area, "Following in the Footsteps of Governor Dunn" commemorates the 45th anniversary of the visit by Tennessee's then-governor to the South Cumberlands, after which he became a strong advocate for the 1978 creation of South Cumberland State Park. Dunn, who was at the time in a tough battle for re-election, was invited by then-State Naturalist Pack Prichard to "come and stretch your legs" in Savage Gulf. Dunn took him up on the idea, and, along with a party of other state officials, toured the Gulf by Jeep, on horseback, and on foot. Your hike will take you on a portion of Dunn's journey, out to Rattlesnake Point, where you can take in the same "forever wild" views that so impressed the Governor 45 years ago.
Leaving the Savage Gulf North trailhead at the Ranger Station, here are some of the trail highlights:
» 0.4 miles | Suspension bridge across Boyd Branch.
» 1.0 miles | Loop Junction, turn left; trail returns to this point after two miles.
» 1.5 miles | Spur trail to the Savage Falls Overlook on the left.
» 2.0 miles | Rattlesnake Point Overlook, dedication plaque to former owners who preserved the area’s forest.
» 2.2 miles | North Rim Trail to left; bear right to complete the Day Loop.
» 2.8 miles | Trail starts to follow the old narrow-gauge "Dinky Line" logging railroad grade which was used until the 1920’s.
» 3.1 miles | Loop junction; turn left to return to Ranger Station.
Total trail distance: about 4.2 miles | easy to mildly strenuous
Governor Winfield Dunn (sitting in truck) takes his lunch break while experiencing Savage Gulf for the first time in 1971. His visit would play a key role in the creation of South Cumberland State Park