Hike the Cumberland Scenic Trail

With finals over, and graduation still two days away, this is the perfect time to throw your gear in your pack, load in with Campus Rec, and enjoy a night under the stars, and 2 days on the trail. On December 13, a small group of hikers will leave for Chattanooga, departing on what is sure to be another memorable adventure on the Cumberland Scenic Trail. Day 1 one on the trail will consist of 12+ miles of hiking, as we pass abandoned mines, navigate creek crossings, and travel across swinging bridges. With an early morning start, we will make the trek to Board Camp Creek backcountry campground, where we'll sleep under the stars next to the soothing sounds of the flowing water. Day two will find us hiking the final 4+ miles through pine forests, over rolling hills, until finally reaching the Heiss Mt. trailhead. In celebration of completing trek together, the group always loves to put down a great hot lunch at City Cafe in the heart of Chattanooga to finish things off.

As this takes place in December, the weather can be tricky, and temperatures can vary. We expect temperatures to be low, but hold to a predetermined floor of 25 degrees - meaning if the temperatures are forecast to be below this point during our trip, we will cancel the outing in favor of safety. Rain showers are unlikely, but always a possibility, so preparing accordingly is encouraged. Participants will need their own gear (gear list below), and be able to carry an overnight pack (20-25 lbs, average) for 16+miles. This outing will be in a backcountry environment with no facilities present - participants should keep this in mind when assessing their desire to go on this trip. Food will be the responsibility of each participant, and our seasoned staff are more than happy to help anyone navigate what that should/will look like. 

Detail Basics:

Leave Lipscomb University Dec 13 at 4:00 am

Stop for fast-food breakfast on way.

On trail by 7:00 am on Dec 13.

Camp at Board Camp Creek backcountry campground.

On trail by 6:30 am morning of Dec 14.

Lunch at City Cafe around 12:00 pm.

Return to Lipscomb University Dec 14 around 3:30 pm

Cost - $20 (covers transportation and exclusive Lipscomb Backpacking patch)

Meals are not included on this trip. Participant is responsible for own food during trip, including money for a fast food dinner stop on way down, and a lunch stop on the return trip to Nashville. 

Participants must have own gear, and must be capable of completing a 16+ mile hike unassisted.

*** Campus Rec staff have training in Wilderness First Aid, and will be carrying a SPOT GPS locator in case of emergency.


Below, you will find lists intended to help you prepare for this trip. Know that these lists are not intended to be exhaustive, and are only offered as guidelines for what could help you have a great experience on this trip. Campus Rec staff is happy to help you work through your gear and menu, and can aid in securing needed gear if necessary.

Gear List

*** (these are only the basics needed, and should not be viewed as an exhaustive list)

  • Backpack (hiking, not school)
  • Sleeping bag (rating matters; ask if unsure)
  • Tent or hammock (tent will be warmer)
  • Refillable water bottle/bladder
  • Way to treat water (tablets, filter, etc.)
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Hiking boots/shoes (preferably waterproof)
  • Layered clothing
  • Rain Jacket
  • Hat

Optional Gear

  • Walking poles
  • Personal stove (if bringing food that must be cooked, or to boil water)
  • Sleeping pad (highly recommended for insulation/warmth and comfort)
  • Gloves

Food List

***(These are potential items you could use. It is up to you to decide what will work best for you, but we are happy to answer questions that could help you decide on your menu)


  • Pop-tarts
  • Granola bars
  • Any breakfast bar
  • Dry cereal
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Bag meals - Mountain House/Backpacker's Pantry/etc. (boiled water needed)


  • Tuna/salmon/chicken pouches
  • Salami/jerky/summer sausage/etc.
  • Hard cheeses
  • Tortillas/bagels/crackers/etc.
  • Peanut butter
  • Bag meals - (boiled water needed, and consider time needed to prepare)

Dinner (in camp)

  • Bag meals (boiled water needed)
  • Pre-made sandwiches
  • Tuna/salmon/chicken pouches
  • Tortillas/bagels/crackers/etc.
  • Hard cheeses


  • Dried fruits (whole/fresh fruits are heavy and take up large amounts of space)
  • Nuts
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars


  • A bad attitude (this is the most important thing to leave at home)
  • Electronics outside of cell phone
  • Larger than necessary bags/packs
  • Anything that is cumbersomely heavy
  • Too many clothes (most people bring changes of clothes, but never use them. That's extra weight!)


Cumberland Scenic Trail Hike

Registration for Hike the Cumberland Scenic Trail trip with Campus Recreation.