Savage Gulf West Trailhead/Greeter Falls
DISTANCE: 2 miles total
TIME: 2-3 hour hike time
While most visitors use the Savage Gulf West trailhead to reach summertime swimming areas at Blue Hole, and at the Upper and Lower Greeter Falls areas, the Greeter Trail will also connect hikers to the entire Savage Gulf trail network.
The Greeter Trail begins across entrance road from Savage Gulf West parking lot. Cobblestones indicate this section may once have been part of the historic Chickamauga Trace, a Native American trail turned settler road.
About 500 feet from the parking lot, the trailhead kiosk sits at a trail split, with the Greeter Trail bearing left, and the Blue Hole Trail bearing right, about a half-mile, to a great swimming hole. Don’t try to dive off the rocks — the water is shallow, with more rocks hidden beneath the surface!
Continuing on the Greeter Trail, about 250 feet beyond the kiosk, a short spur trail to the left takes you to the site of the Greeter Homeplace, where the early settler family lived whose name is now given to the nearby waterfall. The Greeter family lived here from the mid-1800s until the early-1900s.
Continuing on the Greeter Trail, about 250 feet beyond the spur trail to the Greeter Homeplace, the Greeter Falls Trail begins to the right. This trail descends to the area immediately above Greeter Falls. Two spur trails diverge here — one going to the swimming area at the bottom of Greeter Falls; the other going to the site of Long’s Mill, an early center for commerce in the area, where grains were milled, and later, lumber was produced by the Greeter family. An interpretive panel describes the history of Long’s Mill, and the adjacent Chickamauga Trace, in more detail.
The Greeter Falls Trail continues past these spur trails, curving around the base of the bluff and ascending to re-join the Greeter Trail near Boardtree Falls.
About a half-mile from the parking area, the Greeter Trail crosses a creek on a cable bridge, just above Boardtree Falls, a double-drop cascade.
Three-quarters of a mile from the parking area, the Greeter Trail turns sharply left, but straight ahead are several outstanding overlooks with panoramic views of Big Creek Gulf.
About 1-1/3 miles from the parking area, the Greeter Trail ends at its junction with the Big Creek Rim and Big Creek Gulf trails, near the Alum Gap Campground.