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One of the most popular loops in the park, with waterfalls, overlooks, and awesome rock formations.

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1,586' 483 m


1,119' 341 m


565' 172 m


571' 174 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (28°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Big South Fork is always open.


Honey Creek Loop is considered a bit more challenging of a hike compared to the Burnt Mill Bridge Loop of Big South Fork, due to some steep areas and stream crossings. This trail can at times have steep water crossings and difficult boulder scrambles, so it would not be an ideal trail for small children or dogs. The loop is enjoyable to hike in both directions, but the description for this trail will follow it counterclockwise.

Need to Know

Permits must be acquired to stay at the campsites and backcountry campsites, which can be found here:


The trailhead can be found about an hour south from Bandy Creek Visitor Center. It is off of the Mt. Helen Rd. to the west or Mountain View Rd. to the east.

Right off the bat is a set of steps hikers can take up to follow the ridge before eventually dipping down into a thicker part of the woods. About 1.5 miles into the trail is a location known as Echo Rock, a large cliff face. Continuing on the loop, hikers will descend again towards Honey Creek and follow a portion of the Big South Fork River.

Heading south, hikers will come across a slot canyon, a rare geological formation in this region of the United States. The striations along the canyon are very similar to that of those found in the American southwest. A little under 3.5 miles into the loop, hikers will find the Boulder House Falls.

Around 4 mies into the loop, there's a small side trail on the left that leads to the Honey Creek Falls. Otherwise, hikers can continue along the trail and back towards the trailhead/parking area.

Flora & Fauna

This is a great area to see the wildflowers in spring and early summer, such as hepatica, trout lily, trillium, and toothwort. White pine and rhododendron are also prominent here. The National Park Service distinguishes the vegetation zones within Big South Fork into two categories: the area within the gorge, and the higher elevation area surrounding it. More information on the wide variety of plants can be found here.

Big South Fork is known to have over 60 species of fish, along with a wide variety of mammals such as black bear, white-tailed deer, elk, raccoons, bobcats, and gray foxes. There are also over 160 species of birds to be found in Big South Fork in varying times of the year.


Shared By:

Max Willner

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 34 votes


  4.9 from 34 votes
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in Tennessee


94 Views Last Month
12,315 Since Nov 19, 2015



Secluded Falls
Feb 18, 2020 near Huntsville, TN
Some rocks to climb through.
Jun 3, 2019 near Huntsville, TN
Cave at Honey Creek.
Jun 3, 2019 near Huntsville, TN
Honey Creek Trail
Nov 19, 2015 near Huntsville, TN
View from river campsite
Jun 3, 2019 near Huntsville, TN
Hikers head down into the North Fork Honey Creek along the Honey Creek Loop.
Dec 29, 2016 near Huntsville, TN


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 20 days ago
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Jun 16, 2023
David Carper
Hiked counter clockwise, some of the water falls were dry, didn't need to use my water shoes. Hiking Poles optional, lots of bolder scrambles. 5.5mi — 3h 00m
Feb 6, 2022
Kurt Stults
Aug 2, 2021
Jeff Brigman
Trail markings is rough or missing around the John Muir through Indian Rock House back to Overlook. Very slick conditions on rocks due to moss. 8.7mi — 7h 14m
May 22, 2021
Jesse Feltz
Mar 21, 2021
jack dodson
Took a counter clockwise route from trailhead. First half is technically challenging. Second not as bad. Eye candy all the way !!!!! Must do trail... 4mi
Jun 20, 2020
Andrew Bingham
With Dad and Nathan for Father's Day
May 20, 2020
John Howard
Great trail! Lots of cliffs towering above you. Some rocks/boulders to scramble over. Waterfalls are great! Overlook is great!
Feb 2, 2020
Eric Waldon