Lost Creek Falls to Virgin Falls trail celebrated with dedication

By | August 30, 2018 10:08 am

Dr. Stephen Stedman, one of the donors, holds a portrait he was awarded at the ceremony. (Photo by RIMA AUSTIN)

Park Manager James Douglas led a group of people, on Aug. 25 through the trees and down the long path surrounding a field in the Big Bottom area. All the while, he told of the families that had lived on the land that now belongs to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The path, in some places, was an old logging road that was used in the 1920s by the Dodson family. Over time, the land was purchased in parcels, eventually becoming part of the 582-acre property in the Mid-Cumberland Wilderness Conservation Corridor of Scott’s Gulf.

Acquisition of this land allowed the state of Tennessee to create a trail that would link two tourist attractions in the Upper Cumberland: Lost Creek State Natural Area and Virgin Falls State Natural Area. Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, along with several donors who contributed money and land to the cause, came together to celebrate the dedication of this land to the state and the trail that has been built through it.

“It’s about four and a half miles over to Virgin Falls from Lost Creek, which is actually the same distance from the trail head at Scott’s Gulf Road,” stated Stuart Carroll, Tennessee State Parks park manager 1, in a phone interview. “You can walk either from the Lost Creek end into Virgin Falls, or you can walk in from the other side.”

Carroll was one of the park rangers who spoke at the dedication ceremony, along with Douglas. Carroll stated at the ceremony that he has already seen people on the new trail and was very excited about it, although at first he was surprised to see them and thought they might have been there for nefarious reasons.

“I saw a couple walking [on the trail],” said Carroll. “I was curious as to why they were there. When they said they just wanted to hike it, I thought, wow, that’s great.”

Dr. Stephen Stedman, who donated money for the purchase of some of the land in the name of his late wife Barbara, was there to receive a gift. He, along with other donors, was awarded a framed portrait of the land. After lunch, which was donated by Longhorn Steakhouse, Blue Smoke BBQ, and The Coffee Collective, guided hikes were offered to anyone who had registered. Along with Douglas’ historical guided hike, there was a “Birds and Butterfly” hike as well as a “Lost Creek Falls and Dog Cove” hike.

The Lost Creek Falls to Virgin Falls trail can be found at either location and is open to the public. Rules and regulations apply, so anyone wanting to take off-road vehicles on the trail or camp at either place should reach out to the Department of Environment and Conservation or contact the state natural areas personally.

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