Bear Waller Gap community hike to be a part of 50th anniversary

Carthage – Fifty years ago this Oct. Dolly Parton’s voice echoed across Cordell Hull Lake during the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new dam holding the mighty Cumberland River. All this year the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) along with help from the newly formed Friends of Cordell Hull Lake (FOCHL) will be celebrating and hosting activities and events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the lake.

On Earth Day April 22nd, there will be a community hike on the Bear Waller Gap trail in Smith County. The trail is rated as moderately strenuous and is a linear 5.7 miles path that includes scenic views, several inclines, switchbacks and creek crossings. The Parking and Trail Head Location is at 140 Marina Ln in Carthage, TN (before the entrance to the Defeated Creek Campground.)

Friends of Cordell Hull, Cumberland River

The FOCHL will be providing a free shuttle service from the trailhead and parking area located at the main picnic shelter at the Defeated Creek Recreation area to the Cordell Hull Scenic Overlook where the hike will begin.

“The hike can take between 2.5 to three hours,” said Friends of Cordell Hull (FOCH) in a release. “Restrooms are available at both ends of the route. There’s a primitive campsite with picnic tables about 2.5 miles into the trek at Two Prong, where the FOCHL will have free snacks and water.”

Those taking part will need to traverse a series of inclines and descents with some scenic viewpoints of the lake.

“Some stretches are quite steep, so consider bringing a hiking pole,” continued the FOCH. “Bring extra water and Fido too. The trail is pet friendly as long as they are on a leash. Please take care of the natural resources by removing and packing out any waste.

Schedule of events:

7:45 – Coffee and information provided by the FOCHL at Defeated Creek Picnic Shelter #1
8:00 – 9:30 – Shuttle bus leaves every 30 minutes from Defeated Creek Trail Head to the Cordell Hull Overlook Trail Head.

The FOCHL nonprofit (501c3) is a collaboration of citizens, businesses and community leaders that are organized to protect and preserve Cordell Hull Lake and its environment. The FOCHL mission is to support the recreational and educational use of Cordell Hull Lake, to bring attention to the natural beauty and friendliness of the communities and businesses around the lake, and to protect and care for the lake and its surroundings for the benefit of generations to come. To learn more or to become a supporter of the friends group visit

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