We kicked off summer 2016 the right way with a camping trip to South Cumberland State Park in Tennessee. I went backpacking there with friends in college several times, but I had not been to South Cumberland in over 10 years. It was kind of a last minute trip, and I wanted to take the kids somewhere they had never been before. When I realized we only live 80 miles from South Cumberland State Park, I knew this was the place to go. My kids are not old enough to backpack to Raven’s Point, a tough hike and an old favorite at the park, so I was not totally sure what to expect in terms of kid friendly hiking. However, I did remember lots of waterfalls and swimming holes in the park, and, well, the kids and I really love waterfalls and swimming holes. So I quickly threw together a 2-night camping trip and loaded my Jeep to the brim to take all 3 kids camping by myself.
SETTING UP CAMP
We arrived at South Cumberland around lunch time, and the campground was pretty empty after a long holiday weekend. We stayed at the Foster Falls Campground, which is the only campground in South Cumberland that you can drive to. All other campgrounds require hiking. It is a primitive campground (no electricity or running water at our site), but there is at least a decent bath house.
The kids and I have developed a routine when we 1st arrive at a campground. We go to every nearby vacant campsite and take all the leftover firewood we can find. We quickly gathered enough quality wood for 3 days of campfires!
GRUNDY FOREST DAY LOOP TRAIL
Unfortunately, despite blazing hot temperatures outside, this swimming hole sat beneath permanent shade. It was freezing! We were going to brave the cold water anyway, but as I waded in to waist level, I spotted a nearby swimming partner… a snake. After we saw the snake, we all agreed not to go any further into this swimming hole. We tried to go back in a few times, but none of us were brave enough to risk encountering the snake.
HIKING THROUGH THE CREEK
Click here to go to the next page and follow the rest of our camping trip after hiking through the creek in the Grundy Forest.