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The Perimeter Trail

The Perimeter Trail offers students gorgeous views and excellent terrain for hiking, mountain biking and running along the bluff of the Cumberland Plateau. The trail can be accessed within a 5 minute walk from central campus. It features beautiful overlooks, interesting geological features, two lakes, and plenty of upland deciduous forest. Caving and climbing sites are easily accessed from the trail.

Download Map (PDF, 9 mb)

A detailed description (PDF, 892 kb) of the ten best hikes in Sewanee.

The trail, which follows the bluff line for 20 miles, is generously supported by the Roberts Family. Access points on the trail include the Memorial Cross, Lake Cheston, Green's View, and the University Gates. Certain areas are open only for hiking, including Shakerag Hollow and the section between the Cross and Morgan's Steep. The trail is open for day hikes to all individuals. Camping is for students, alumni, staff and faculty only. Please follow Leave No Trace guidlines. Use by groups not associated with the University is handled on a case by case basis. For maps and more information, please stop by the SOP office in the Bishop's Common. The SOP manages the Perimeter Trail. (See below for a note on horseback riding.)

In August of 1990 Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roberts III, C'50 donated funds that enabled the completion and ongoing maintenance of the Perimeter Trail in memory of their son Tate. Thanks to the Tate Roberts Memorial Fund we are all able to enjoy the trails today.

Use of the Perimeter Trail and Fire Lanes

Hiking: Sections of the trail are suitable for short dayhikes with access from Green's View, the Memorial Cross, University Gates, Lake Cheston, and Brakefield Road.

Mountain Biking: Mountain Biking is allowed on all trails and fire lanes except in Shakerag Hollow, Morgan's Steep to the Cross, Solomon's Temple Trail, and on the Bridalveil Falls Trail. To reduce impact riders should refrain from use when wet. Students can enjoy access to mountain biking trails by riding from campus; for visitors the best place to park is Lake Cheston.

Horeseback Riding: Horses are allowed on all fire lanes. To reduce impact, riders should refrain from use when wet. Horses are prohibited from using the Perimeter Trail and secondary trails.

Trail Markers: The Perimeter Trail is marked with blue blazes while secondary trails are marked with white blazes. A double blaze indicates an intersection or sharp turn in the trail.

Motor Vehicles: Motorized vehicles, including ATVs, are prohibited.

Water: Water taken from streams is not suitable for use unless boiled, purified, or treated with iodine tablets.

Fires: Fires are prohibited. Use a backpacking stove.

Camping: For students, alumni, faculty, and staff only. Please follow Leave No Trace guidelines.

Hunting is not allowed on the Domain.

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.

Safety Statement and Disclaimer

Users should exercise caution and prudence while using these trails. The University of the South assumes no liability for accidents or injuries to users (or their property) of the Domain whether on or off trail.

A note on Horseback riding: Horseback riding is permitted on the section between Audubon Lake (going past Armfield Bluff) to the western end of the Parallel Trail. In addition, horseback riding is allowed on all fire lanes. (Permits are required for all horseback riders and may be obtained at the Equestrian Center)

Free Perimeter Trail maps can be found to the right of the front desk in the Bishop's Common. Additionally, the Sewanee hiking guide book, Go Take a Hike, can be purchased at the University Book Store.

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Contact Information

Sewanee: The University of the South735 University Ave, Sewanee, TN 37383931.598.100035.204826-85.921674