ONEIDA, Tenn. — With hiking trails, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, historic sites and more throughout its 125,000 acres, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is a popular spot for outdoor adventurers in East Tennessee and Kentucky.
One of Big South Fork's well-worn routes is the Angel Falls Rapid Trail. It is around 4 miles round trip and is considered an easy hike with a little over 200 feet of elevation gain winding along the Big South Fork Cumberland River.
The park said the trail leads to one of the river's "most famous and feared rapids," which are rated at class III and IV. Hikers and paddlers are asked to be careful in this area.
If you're looking to do an easier route, be sure not to confuse the Rapid Trail with the nearby Angel Falls Overlook Trail on the other side of the river, which has a moderate to hard difficulty rating.
More information about Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is available on the National Parks Service's website.
What to expect on the trail:
Some tips before you visit:
- Let someone know where you plan to hike, when you plan to be back, what clothes you are wearing and what your car looks like.
- Wear sunscreen and bug spray.
- Wear layers depending on the weather.
- Pack plenty of water and snacks.
- Keep an eye on the weather.
- Pick up after your pet.
- Be courteous to other hikers.
- Leave the plants and wildlife alone.
- Look out for snakes in the spring and summer.
- Watch your step in the winter as it could be slippery with snow and ice.
- Have a backup plan if the trail is closed or too busy.