The Cumberland Trail is an ambitious hiking trail project under development in East Tennessee. When completed, the Cumberland Trail (CT) will extend more than 300 miles from its northern terminus in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (TN/KY) to its southern terminus at the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park located on Signal Mountain just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. This scenic footpath follows a line of high ridges and deep gorges lying along or near the rugged, eastern edge of Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, offering a unique wilderness experience and many scenic views, waterfalls, landscapes, gorges, wildlife, and widely varying flora. As a remote, backcountry trail, it will meander through eleven Tennessee counties, primarily on public lands. These lands are managed by Tennessee’s Departments of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), and Forestry. The trail also connects two national parks and passes through a national wild & scenic river area. In 1998, the land the trail passes through was designated the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, Tennessee’s first linear state park. The CT is an official component of the Tennessee Recreational Trails System and a legislatively designated State Scenic Trail. Furthermore, the Cumberland Trail is a part of the Great Eastern Trail, which is under development and will extend from Alabama to New York when completed.
The continued development and maintenance of the Cumberland Trail has been accomplished through a working relationship between the Cumberland Trail Conference (CTC) and TDEC. The CTC, other nonprofits, private corporations, foundations, individuals, and others assist TDEC in raising funds for land acquisition, providing maintenance, and further developing the Cumberland Trail.
This extensive trail is being constructed and maintained largely by volunteers from Tennessee and across the nation, organized and managed by the CTC. The Cumberland Trail Conference (CTC) is an affiliate of the Tennessee Trails Association (TTA), a non-profit 501-(c) (3) membership organization.