, Illinois, indiana, kentucky, and tennessee

Sheltowee Trace

Pickett State Park to Peters Mountain

The 19,200-acre Pickett State Forest is adjacent to the massive 120,000 acre Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The Sheltowee shares trail space with portions of Hidden Arch Loop and John Muir Trail as it passes along Rock Creek into Big South Fork Explore large rock houses, natural sandstone bridges, scenic bluffs, waterfalls, and wild mountain streams.

Begin the Southern terminious of the trace at the Hidden Arch Trail head. Follow the trace along Rock Creek, past the Great Meadow Campground and climbing to Peters Mountain (15 miles).


Pickett State Park Campground Ladder trail

00.14 Trail right leads to road, straight to primitive campsite 1 room for couple tents. Campsite 2 is 0.10 further up campsite is up hill. Nice spot. You can continue past the campgrounds to complete the 1.0 mile loop if desired. Turn left to take short cut to Sheltowee trail head.

00.30 Road (TN 154), turn left down side of road. pass Ladder Trail (end of loop) on left.

00.32 Ridge bluff trail on left

00.33 Hidden Passage Trail/Sheltowee Trace Trail head.

Sheltowee Trace

00.00 Sheltowee Trace Southern terminus 278 miles, Hidden passage Loop is 10.00

00.44 Trail descends levels out and makes sharp rt turn. Trail junction Group camp to left, straight on *Sheltowee Trace, right to Crystal Falls and Hidden Arch. Side trip to Hidden Arch and Crystal Falls is worth the trip. It is a short hike to the Arch and Falls below.(* Nov 2012 due to land slide, trail past Hidden Arch was closed.)

Due to the trail closure the following information with continue on the west portion of Hidden Arch Loop before rejoining the Sheltowee near Rock Creek.

00.90 Trail curves back and forth through the woods turns right past sand stone rock houses.

01.04 Cross rock bridge as trail moves above large rock house.

01.10 Arrive Group Campground. Continue right along road

01.16 Leave road continuing to the left. Straight on road leads to Thompson Overlook.

02.04 Trail crosses under power lines. Sign, Hidden Passage Drop off trail 1.6, Double Falls trail 1.8, Hwy 564 4.75.

02.16 Open field to right cleared by forestry service.

02.63 Trail moves along the cliff edge on your left, very beautiful.

02.74 Trail descends down small set of stone steps. Trail junction, left 1.0 Rock Creek, trail merges with John Muir trail, continue right.

02.88 Trail begins to ascend

03.04 Cross logging road, continue straight.

03.21 Trail junction with Sheltowee Trace. left to Rock Creek Trail, right to Thompson Overlook .5 and Double Falls. Continue left on Sheltowee/John Muir.

03.42 Trail moves along ridge edge with valley to the right. (lots of downed trees in this section.)

03.56 You can see valleys on both sides of the trail as it begins to descend.

03.71 Very steep descent, will be difficult when wet or covered with leaves.

03.89 Ford Creek, campsite nearby.

04.00 Ford creek, right to Rock Creek Loop, left on Sheltowee

04.22 Campsite along creek with room for several tents.

04.30 Trail junction Sheltowee straight, John Muir to right.

04.38 Cross bridge and climb steps.

04.67 Cross several foot bridges before climbing another set of steps.

04.95 Walk through a stand of pines.

05.19 Cross small creek and continue on crossing several small foot bridges as the trail moves up and down.

06.00 Large campsite.

06.20 Cross creek and begin to ascend away from Rock Creek.

06.46 Cross foot bridge climb a short distance then descend set of stone steps.

06.91 Campsite

07.30 Cross bridge over tributary to Rock Creek.

07.40 Trail junction. Cross Rock Creek to Rock Creek Fire Road (Hwy 137). Straight on Sheltowee.

08.26 Large flood plain to left.

08.36 Trail leaves creek and moves up and around away from creek. This section has some bad footing, use caution.

08.91 Cross tributary, trail is not marked as well in this area.

09.34 Trail makes another bow away from creek before returning.

09.97 Great Meadow Campground on far side of creek. Must ford Rock Creek to access campground.

11.40 Ford creek pass through a stand of pines. Above to the right are some cool rock formations.

12.10 Trail junction. Straight Sheltowee Trace, right Gobblers Arch 2.0, Hwy 6105 2.0, Marks Branch Trail 2.5. (*Note we made a wrong turn and followed Gobblers Arch trail from this point.)

12.30 Trail begins to ascend as you pass through stands of bamboo.

12.40 Trail continues becoming very steep then levels out and passes by some large rock formations.

12.72 Trail ascends through a gap in the rocks. Cool place.

13.35 Elevation 1530' view of surrounding ridges comes into view.

13.96 Gobblers Arch

14.25 Junction Marks Branch trail, continue straight then becomes Hwy 6105 a gravel road that winds it's way to Divided Road.

15.12 Divided Road (Hwy 1240), turn left.

15.67 Peters Mountain Parking lot, Sheltowee Trace.


The campground at Pickett State Forest is open year round, the sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and has electricity, drinking water, flush toilets and shower facilities. Primitive camping is allowed at 2 designated sites along Ladder Trail. Site fee $13 per night

Great Meadow is a no-fee, first-come, first-served 18 site campground. Area is located on both sides of the road, first area (Deer Loop) is on the right, and is open April 23 to October 31, the second area (Raccoon Loop) is on the left and is open year round. Water and pit toilets are available.

Kentucky Contacts

Sheltowee Trace
London Ranger District
761 S. Laurel Road
London, KY 40744 606-864-4163

Tennesse Contacts

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Park Headquarters

4564 Leatherwood Road
Oneida, Tennessee 37841

Park Headquarters - (423) 569-9778
Visitor Center - Tennessee - (931) 879-3625
Visitor Center - Kentucky - (606) 376-5073

Pickett State Park
4605 Pickett Park Highway
Jamestown, TN 38556
(931) 879-5821


Getting There

Pickett State Park—Take I-40 to Exit 317 and take Hwy. 127 north for 46 miles. Turn right on Hwy. 154 and travel another 12 miles to the park entrance.

Pickett State Park—Southbound on I-75 take KY 461 south to KY 80, take 80 west to U.S. 27, take 27 south to Oneida and follow TN 297 west to TN 154. Turn Right follow TN 154 2.6 miles, park is on the left.

Pickett State Park—Northbound on I-75 take TN 63 west to U.S. 27, take 27 north to Oneida and follow TN 297 west to TN 154. Turn Right follow TN 154 2.6 miles, park is on the left.

More Sheltowee links

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