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808 Hidden Passage Trail 2013-05-13

Hidden Passage trail sign

A few weeks back I visited Pickett State Park. The Park is located in Pickett County, Tennessee near Jamestown. The Park is surrounded by Tennessee State Forest land and is adjacent to Big South Fork National Recreation Area.

We visited the Park a few years ago and hiked the trails in the main section of the Park, but did not have time to hike Hidden Passage. The main goal of this visit was to hike the highly recommended Hidden Passage Trail.

On cloudhiking we have now completed the Hidden Passage Guide and a revised Pickett Park Map. Visit cloudhiking and plan your visit to the Park soon!

A few trail notes ...

The trailhead is easy to locate and is plainly signed.

trailhead from hwy 154

There are no facilities at the trailhead, but there are in the main park area.

There is little elevation gain on the Hidden Passage Trail. Most of the trail follows along the rim or just below the rim to visit the rockhouses.

Even though there is not much elevation gain there are a few short - sharp climbs and steep descents.

The trail is easy to follow with green blazes or hiker markers. At junctions additional signage helps direct hikers.

There are several dirt roads that cross the Hidden Passage Trail. The roads give access to several locations on the trails, but are not open to vehicles.

On much of the east side of the loop, the trail passes through woodland much of which has been damaged by beetles, wind, and fire. The trail would not have any shade during the summer.

The west side of the loop is still wooded and is a very pleasant hike.

There are quite a few exposed cliffs and drop offs along the trail. Use caution at all times.

The side trails to Crystal Falls, Double Falls, and the Tunnel are all worthy efforts, but they do add mileage and elevation loss and gain.

Water was available from several creek crossings (in the Spring at least). All water should be filtered and/or treated.

On our hike, there was a trail crew clearing the trail. The path was in great shape.

Several of the rockhouses had benches, making for a cool rest stop.

a bench under a rockhouse

The side trail to Double Falls crosses the Thompson Creek. As always use care fording the creek.

A well used camping area is located near the Thompson Creek. The Double Falls Trail passes the camping area - before the creek crossing.

Thompson Overlook is a good lunch break. It is more than halfway on the round-trip loop. You will know you are there because there is a large sign.

We had a weak Verizon signal at the Overlook.

At the Tunnel, we did not explore very far into the tunnel. It is long enough that you need a light source to pass through the entire length. An overlook is supposed to be at the end of the tunnel. Remember, it is an old tunnel made from blasting the rock. We would not be surprised if there was rock fall. There were no warning signs at the Tunnel's entrance, but as always common sense should warn of danger. Enter at your own risk.

Rock Creek is accessible from the Tunnel Trail.

The trail passes by the Group Camp on the Thompson Overlook Road and the paved Camp Loop Road. Please respect all users of the camp. The facilities at the Camp are not intended for hikers use.

The trail is clearly signed where it leaves the Camp Road.

Black bears live in the area. Always use proper food storage.

Please practice minimum impact usage while hiking or backpacking. Stay on the trail. Pack out all trash - including cigarette butts, toilet paper, and all unused food. Respect others.

Happy Hidden Passage trails


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