We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Best if you spend a week”

Ranked #1 of 9 things to do in Oneida
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A 90-mile stretch of riverside park through scenic valleys and gorges: great for canoeing and kayaking.
Reviewed August 19, 2013

We only had a day, so it was difficult to enjoy this park. The better trails required driving quite a bit to reach the trailhead. We did the shorter (4 mile total) Angel Falls trail and was disappointed in the build-up since Angel Falls wasn't much more than some large rocks in the river. Camping was excellent with big sites, water and electric, and only $11/night with the senior pass. Wish we had more time.

1  Thank Cindy__31589
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (93)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

69 - 73 of 93 reviews

Reviewed August 15, 2013

We spent a month at this park and were amazed by the abundance of wildlife. The first day we were there, we saw deer, turkey and fox. Unfortunately, we didn't see bears. But that didn't matter as there was so much to see and do. All the rangers were more than helpful. They were friendly, knowledgeable and no one gave us the stinkeye! There were plenty of hiking trails, biking trails and even horse back trails. There was even a swimming pool, volleyball court and playground for kids. The park was mostly empty most of the time. We did see more people on weekends, but you were never overwhelmed by campers. This was August too. We highly recommend this park, the Cumberland Gap area is just incredible. Also the park offered a myriad of events for kids and adults. We can't say enough about it, just go check it out. Great for short term or long term stay. Make sure you see the Twin Arches!

1  Thank Angela A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2013

Being from Cincinnati, we view this our 'home' national park. The Bandy Creek Campground is clean, well spaced with flushing toilets and hot showers. When we stay during the week we are virtually the only campers there thus we have isolation! You can clearly see the Milky Way on a clear night. Hiking trails are great. We go for the mountain biking. They have dramatically improved the markings for mountain biking trails and have increased the number of trails you can bike on. We parked at the head of the Rock Creek Loop and fed into the John Muir Trail. Beautiful, well maintained trail. We also did the Duncan Hallow Loop which we could bike to directly from our campsite in Bandy Creek. It had some serious uphill sections but was well maintained and enjoyable. Finally we hiked around the Rugby area on the Gentleman's Swimming Hole Trail. Good trail along a gorgeous stream.
I highly recommend the BIg South Fork to those who enjoy hiking or mountain biking. There is rarely a crowd here and the park is well kept.

Thank Patrick K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013

I'll keep my advice for the Burnt Mill Bridge Trail short and sweet: Avoid it if possible (it's part of the TN JMT, though).

The first half of this trail is fine - it's well marked and really rather unremarkable overall, but a fine little hike. Then later it opens into what may have at one time been a logging or some type of old stagecoach road or something. That was grassy and overgrown. We had to climb over several fallen trees. We were also covered in ticks - so if you do have to take this trail wear pants and a good insect repellent. The trail also shares a route with a multi-use road: horses and vehicles. Wide swaths of the road are covered in muddy puddles (for mudding vehicles I assume), rife with mosquitos. We really did not enjoy this part of our hike at all - it seems little used and we found out the hard way why!

Don't be fooled by the sweet moniker, Honeycreek - this trail is anything but! If you've looked up info on this loop, you'll see that hikers are advised to give the less-than-six-mile loop five to eight hours to hike it - and that is no park exaggeration. Also advised against is bringing small children and pets.

We took my eleven year old boy and he had a hard time with the trail. Unfortunately we didn't research this beforehand, so we hiked it with backpacks full of our overnight gear. In places, we had to pull and push him up or through or hand him down. I'm a 32-year old woman in good shape, and I even needed a hand to go through some obstacles.

There are giant boulders to scramble over, slippery (with moisture and moss and algae) scree fields to navigate, tiny crevices to squeeze or crawl through, ladders to climb straight up, even a rope with which to repel down! Apparently, it's common to have to ford flowing creeks. When we went this past Father's Day weekend, however, creeks were not very high and we were able to walk across any small trickling water sources without getting our feet wet. But if you go, check conditions because it seems like there are times when you have to wade through the water.

Also, you really have to pay attention to trail markers. There are trail plaques, arrows spray painted on to rocks, and in some places, ribbons tied to trees all used to mark the route. At times you really have to search to find signs of which way to proceed.

There is a $5 fee for overnight camping permits. You can do this over the website. We noticed about a half dozen campsites - but that doesn't mean there aren't more. There were two primo sites on the river but we noticed more sites on the west side of the trail, off the river.

There are shortcuts - I recommend having a detailed map of the area. We had a big general South Fork map, but it wasn't detailed in a way that helped us on the loop.

Overall, we had a blast on this trail! It's quite difficult and strenuous, but absolutely beautiful and full of caves, creeks, boulders, and just the most gorgeous scenery.

2  Thank April D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2013

Over 200 miles of horse trails that pass awesome lookoffs & rock formations. If you love riding your horses in new & interesting areas, you will love BSF. We stay @ Trail's End @ Big South Fork in Jamestown and love it! Trails right outside the door & the park is just a short trail ride away. A great place to vacation with your family, friends & horses.

Thank HarleyGirl53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area also viewed


Been to Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing