Geotourism Mapguide: A travel guide to the places most respected and recommended by locals.
  Wildlife Viewing Area

Savage Gulf State Natural Area (Stone Door Entrance)

The Stone Door

Savage Gulf is a 15,590-acre natural area that is one of Tennessee's most scenic wilderness areas. Visitors find sheer sandstone cliffs, rugged canyons, and extraordinary views. A significant feature is Stone Door, a 10 ft. wide by 100 ft. deep crack, forming from the top of the escarpment into the gorge below. It looks like a giant door left open. This location was used as a passageway by Indians. Breathtaking waterfalls form at the head of many gorges, where streams drop off over hard sandstone cap rock. The Laurel Falls Overlook is 300 feet from the parking lot, while the Stone Door is approximately 1 mile. The Gulf is a large area that could take several days to explore all the waterfalls and cliffs. While much of the gorge is second growth forest, there is one large section of old growth mixed mesophytic forest in the gorge. The gorge forests abound with oaks, hickories, maples, yellow poplars, hemlocks, pines and many other tree species. Beneath the forest canopy is a vast array of shrubs, vines, wildflowers, mosses and ferns. The natural area is a part of the South Cumberland State Park. Savage Gulf is also on the Registry of National Natural Landmarks. Access is by hiking only.

Woodland birds are common here, including breeding Wood Thrush, Hooded Warbler, Broad-winged Hawk, Kentucky Warbler, Northern Parula, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager and Summer Tanager. Deer may be seen and Wild Turkey are common. Wildflowers are abundant in spring. Be sure to bring a wildflower field guide!

Although they can be difficult to see, Whip-poor-wills can be heard singing at dusk in spring and summer.

From I-24, exit 134 (US 41A, 64, Monteagle, Sewannee), turn on US 41A south and proceed 1.2 miles and turn left on Hwy 56. The Stone Door Entrance is accessed via Highway 56 in Beersheba Springs. Turn on Stone Door Road and proceed straight to the area's entrance. This natural area is a part of the South Cumberland Recreation Area and State Park.

Best Time for Viewing: Early mornings are best for viewing woodland songbirds.

Best Months and Seasons for Viewing: Spring and summer provide great opportunities for watching Neotropical migrant birds.

No comments have been made about this nomination. Be the first to add a comment!

Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of National Geographic.

Latitude: 35.447910000
Longitude: -85.654520000
Elevation: 1716 FT (523 M)
Meet the Author:
Scott Somershoe
 Thumbs Up Place Nearby
(25.3 miles / 40.9 kilometers)
Audubon Acres
This important 130 acre natural and historical area along South Chickamauga Creek contains a...
Brainerd Levee
The Brainerd levee and retention area were built in the 1970s to prevent flood waters from South...
Chattanooga Zoo
Whether you're content to admire the prowl of the snow leopards or you would rather discuss the...
Chester Frost County Park
A leisurely walk around the park roads offers good birdwatching any time of year. Views of the...
Chuck Swan WMA
The Chuck Swan WMA consists of 24,000 acres of forest bounded on 3 sides by Norris Lake and by...
Download the Mobile MapGuide