Through the Woods to Amazing Views of Stone Door, Tennessee

Updated on July 7, 2019
Ron Grimes profile image

My wife and I are retired and living in Middle Tennessee. We love living in this beautiful state.

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Stone Door is a deep, narrow canyon in the Savage Gulf Unit of South Cumberland State Park near Beersheba Springs, Tennessee. Native Americans used this crack to access the top of the sandstone plateau.

We parked at the Stone Door Ranger’s Station where they have a small gift shop, maps, and information on the park. There is a large building with restrooms just bedside the Stone Door Ranger’s Station. The path to Stone Door is well marked, easy to hike, mostly level, and the first third of a mile is paved. The path meanders through the woods and has a few small wooden bridges that cross over small creeks and gullies. The air is filled with the chorus of many birds that seem to welcome you through the woods. At least that’s my impression. Those birds might be thinking that they wish we would get the heck out of their forest.

Laurel Gulf Overlook

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Just before you get to the cliffs at the top of Stone Door you emerge from the forest and find Laurel Gulf Overlook with a breathtaking view of the Tennessee hills and valley below. I was just getting ready to turn on my phone video when we first stepped onto the wooden overlook. I wished I had already started videoing so that I could have captured my wife’s expression when she saw the view. I remember that she said, “Oh wow! This is amazing!” She was really surprised at this Tennessee landscape and the beauty of it all.

Bluff Cliffs at Stone Door, Tennessee
Bluff Cliffs at Stone Door, Tennessee | Source
Cliffs of Stone Door
Cliffs of Stone Door | Source

A short walk from the overlook, we came to rock outcroppings over the edge of the cliffs. My wife, Linda, was nervous at climbing over some of the rocks to get over to the views. She sat down on a large rock a good way back from the cliff edges. As I climbed over huge boulders to get closer to the cliffs, Linda said, “Get back away from there!” She was afraid I would fall. I’m a bit clumsy, so I am always careful to stay back far enough so that if I trip and fall, I won’t roll over the edge. So far, that has worked out well. I have not fallen over any cliffs. When I am hiking, it is not unusual for me to fall at least once. My excuse is that I’m 65 years old. I think I have earned the right to fall every now and then.

The cliffs at the top of the bluffs do not have rails to protect one from falling, so please stay back from the edges. Just back a little way from the cliffs, are two huge stone bluffs with stone steps between them. The stone steps are very steep and lead down to a small level area where there are wooden steps with rails leading further down to the valley. The Stone Door was used by Native Americans and settlers to reach the valley below.

Crooked Tree of Stone Door
Crooked Tree of Stone Door | Source
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Wood Steps Below Stone Door
Wood Steps Below Stone Door | Source

I walked down the stone steps between the cliffs. I did not continue on down the wooden steps. Linda was sitting at the top of the Stone Door waiting on me. I walked back up the stone steps, and I was surprised at how much effort it took for me to climb them. I had to stop and catch my breath several times. I am a runner, and I tend to think that I am in good enough shape to climb just about any hill or steps. I usually run 7 1/2 miles and feel great when I'm done, but steep hills and steps really wear me out. I wonder if that's because I'm just not in as good of shape as I think I am, or if it is age-related. I've been running for over 40 years, and I almost always feel good while I am running; however, when I hike over mountains on the Appalachian Trail, it is always difficult for me to get to the top. Maybe it’s just a psychological thing.

There are several trails near the Stone Door Ranger’s Station that lead to waterfalls, campsites, and scenic hiking trails. I was surprised that we have lived in Middle Tennessee for 20 years, and yet this was our first trip to this amazing park. I definitely want to go back and explore more of the trails. Tennessee is an amazingly beautiful gift, and I am grateful for it all.

Walking up the Stone Steps
Walking up the Stone Steps | Source

Stone Door Ranger's Station

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Beautiful Sights of Stone Door in this Video:

Map to Stone Door Ranger's Station

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Ron Grimes

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      • Ron Grimes profile imageAUTHOR

        Ron Grimes 

        2 months ago from Tennessee

        Thank you, Tom Cornett. We are indeed blessed with the beauty that surrounds us.

      • Tom Cornett profile image

        Tom Cornett 

        2 months ago from Ohio

        Great Hub Ron. Wonderful writing, pics and video. Tennessee is a beautiful state. We have many good memories there. :)

      • Ron Grimes profile imageAUTHOR

        Ron Grimes 

        2 months ago from Tennessee

        Thanks, Alexander James Guckenberger. It really is gorgeous. A gift to behold.

      • Guckenberger profile image

        Alexander James Guckenberger 

        2 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

        It looks gorgeous.

      • Ron Grimes profile imageAUTHOR

        Ron Grimes 

        2 months ago from Tennessee

        Thank you Patty Inglish MS, you are right about Tennesee parks. They are awesome.

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

        Patty Inglish MS 

        2 months ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        American parks are often beautiful and well maintained in the South! Tennessee parks and green-spaces have been a favorite with me since middle school. Thanks for offering a look at Stone Door.

      • Ron Grimes profile imageAUTHOR

        Ron Grimes 

        2 months ago from Tennessee

        Thank you, Liz Westwood. That is very kind of you.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        2 months ago from UK

        This is a very thorough account of your visit with great illustrations.

      • Ron Grimes profile imageAUTHOR

        Ron Grimes 

        2 months ago from Tennessee

        RTalloni, thank you for the comments. You are so right about all the feet that have used those stone steps. Excellent point.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        2 months ago from the short journey

        Thanks for sharing your trip to Stone Door with us. You've included some nice shots taken there. Thinking about all the feet that have used those stone steps gives one pause for thought.

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