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Big South Fork NRRA
Leatherwood Ford to Station Camp

Leatherwood Ford
Lat: N3628'38"
Lon: W8440'10"
Elevation: 874'

The following is a trail and paddling description for the section the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River from Leatherwood Ford bridge down river to Station Camp within The Big South Fork NRRA.

Big South Fork River - Leatherwood Ford
Photo by Todd Ratermann
The trip from Leatherwood Ford to Station Camp on or along the Big South Fork River is an 8 mile trip filled with scenery, wildflowers, fishing and solitude. The trip can easily be done as a day trip or a short over night trip. This is an area where a released black bear from the Smoky mountains is rumored to have had her cubs. If your really lucky you might see them.

Trout LilyBy river: This section of the river (at average water flow or less) is easy paddling with only one section of white water, Angel Falls. Angel Falls is located approximately 1.5 miles down stream from Leatherwood Ford. While I don't consider Angel Falls to be a water falls it is definitely an area to be portaged (carry your equipment and boat around) by all but experts who have scouted it first. Several people have drowned here so please be careful. The portage is short at less than 200 yards so it really doesn't take much time. The river from Angel Falls down to Station Camp is generally slow flowing and sometimes shallow enough that you may have to drag your boat over the rocks. You will also find deep pools that are great for swimming or fishing.
While some areas may not be obvious as to the correct place to take out, you shouldn't have this problem with Station Camp. It is the next area down stream from Leatherwood Ford that is accessible by auto and is easily visible on the East (right) side of the river.

By foot: Angel Falls trail follows the river along the east bank from Leatherwood Ford to Station Camp. The trail head can be found at the Northern end of the parking area. The trail is fairly level and well maintained and marked.

If you don't remember anything else remember these points:
1)Angel Falls is located approximately 1.5 miles down stream from Leatherwood Ford and must be portaged.
2)Angel Falls trail follows the river from Leatherwood Ford to Station Camp along the East (right) bank. If you have any problems find this trail and follow it up stream to Leatherwood Ford where there is a telephone and rangers frequently visit.

Permits: Required.

Directions to Leatherwood Ford: From I-40 take exit #317? (Hwy 127) near Crossville and go north approximately 30 miles to Jamestown. Most maps show Hwy 127 going right into Jamestown, but a new bypass takes you around the East side of town. Stay on Hwy 127 until you get to the Hwy 154, exit and go East. Stay on Hwy 154 for approximately 6 miles to Hwy 297 and turn right (East). This road will take you to Leatherwood Ford, it also passes very near Bandy Creek campground and ranger station where maps and other information are available.


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