Bunkum Cave Trail

Date Hiked: 5/29/10

Park: Cordell Hull State Park

Address: 1300 Cordell Hull Memorial Dr
Byrdstown, TN 38549

Latitude: 36.58104, Longitude: -85.18353

Trail Rating: moderate

Round-Trip Mileage: 2.25 miles

For Map, Trail Mileage, GPS, and Trail Notes go to Page 2

Pre-Hike Comments

A friend of ours is the manager of the historic park. She asked if we would visit and walk her trail to Bunkum Cave. I went with Jon and Laura. The Park was celebrating the Cordell Hull Folk Celebration. It was the place to be!

The Trail

Directions: From I-40 take exit 288 and follow signs for TN Hwy 111, north toward Byrdstown. In about 40 miles Hwy 111 will cross Dale Hollow Lake. It is a little over two miles from the lake to Hwy 325. Turn left on Hwy 325 (Cordell Hull Memorial Drive). It is two miles to the Park. The Park is on the right side of 325; the trailhead is across the Hwy.

Trailhead Entrance from across Highway 325

The trailhead has ample parking and an informative kiosk. Water and restrooms are located across the highway at the Park Office.

trailhead kiosk

Trailhead Parking

Green blazes mark the trail; but the path is very easy to follow with blazes or not.

trail marker

Green blaze icon

Leaving the trailhead the trail descends with two sweeping curves. As the trail levels it passes a bench, and crosses a drainage on a small bridge at .25 miles.

first bridge

Small Bridge at .25 miles

A second larger bridge is reached in a tenth of a mile.


Larger Bridge at .35 miles

At a half of a mile a bench is reached. This is the second bench along the trail.

bench 2

Half Mile Bench

The third bridge is located .60 miles from the trailhead.

Bridge three

Third Bridge at .60 miles

A tenth of a mile leads to the Overlook Junction. Go right to view the Overlook.


Overlook - .75 miles

The Overlook is a destination in itself. It is .75 miles from the trailhead. For your safety, do not cross the barrier fences.

Overlook Junction

Overlook Junction - .80 miles (after Overlook)

To continue on the loop, return to Overlook Junction and follow the "Trail" sign.

bench three

Bench past the Junction

At the top of a short climb a bench awaits. The trail continues as it contours along the rim above the Cave.

Cave Junction

Cave Junction - .90 miles (1st time)

The Cave Junction is one tenth of a mile from Overlook Junction.



The trail to Bunkum Cave descends using a couple of switchbacks to the stairs.


Top of Stairs

A great set of steep stairs make a safe descent possible. Please be aware of all restrictions before attempting to enter the Cave. Information is available at the Trailhead Kiosk, at the Park Office, and at the bottom of the steps.

stairs again

Directed Walkway

It is but a short walk for the stairs to the mouth of the Cave. The Cave side trip adds a quarter mile, one way to the loop.


Mouth of the Cave - 1.15 miles

Returning to the trail, from Cave Junction continue to follow the "Trail" sign.

Cave Junction

Cave Junction, again - 1.40 miles

The trail climbs to the eastern Park boundary. A fence marks the boundary location.

fence boundary

Fence Line

The trail follows close to the boundary back to the trailhead.

bench 4

First bench past Cave Junction - 1.60 miles

Another bench is positioned .20 miles from Cave Junction.

fourth bridge

Bench with small bridge - 2.05 miles

From the bench the trail continues in a northerly direction for .45 miles to a small bridge with a bench nearby.

As the trail nears the trailhead the last bench is located .15 miles from the small bridge.

Leaving the last bench the trail leaves the forest and enters a field on a mowed path. Bearing left the trail continues .05 miles to the trailhead.


Return to the trailhead - 2.25 miles