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The Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain

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Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain

The 4th Hole

Photo Courtesy of Tennessee State Parks

The Bottom Line

The Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain.

Located at the Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville, Tennessee, the course more than lives up to its name. It is, to say the least, mountainous. It’s a wild and windy place with rolling fairways bounded by tightly packed, mature pines. It’s a real test of golf and one you should not miss.


  • The mountainous terrain makes for a really different round of golf.
  • Rated on of the "Top 10 Places You Can Play" by Golf Magazine, 1999.
  • Rated one of the "Top Ten Courses in Tennessee" by Golf Digest, 2001.
  • Rated one of the "100 Best Fairways for Women" by Golf for Women magazine, 2000.
  • Only six miles from Crossville and 12 miles from Interstate 40.


  • There are no cons. If you're visiting Tennessee to play golf, Cumberland Mountain is a must


  • The Bear Trace golf course at Cumberland Mountain is one of the most popular of the five Jack Nicklaus designs in Tennessee.
  • The 6,900-yard course capitalizes on the mountainous terrain and all the natural features: creeks, rocks and clustered trees.
  • Beautiful, quiet, relaxing, yet one of the most testing rounds of golf you'll ever experience.

Guide Review - The Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain

Cumberland Mountain’s 6,900-yard layout plays even longer because of its uphill, down-dale nature. The elevation changes from one hole to the next. Blind shots over the brows, fairways that dogleg from left to right, and greens that are out of sight from the tee. All of this up and down, round the bend play requires a cool head and judicious club selection. And then, when you do reach the greens, you’ll find that the word “undulating” barely describes any of them.

The signature hole is the 393-yard 7th. There are nasty bunkers to the left of the green, stacked flagstones to the front of it, and a waterfall with all its attendant hazards to the right.

The short, par 3 8th green lies atop a hill and is almost completely surrounded by heavy rough. You have to hit the green. A miss to the right or left means a bogey, at least.

The 10th tee is the highest point on the course. From there it should be downhill all the way. However, there are more horrors yet to come.

The 13th, at 466 yards seems much longer and plays more like a par 5 than a par 4.

The 14th, a 165-yard par 3, is literally surrounded by bunkers.

The 16th, another extremely testing par 3, requires a tee shot over some of the most intimidating terrain I’ve ever come across. Water is one thing, but this… well, I’ve visited nicer swamps, that’s for sure.

Yes, because of the mountainous terrain, the clustered pines, and the ever-present rocky lies, this is one tough course. But you should let that put you off. The joys of playing this very different style of golf course far outweigh the challenge. I had a great day – didn’t score well, but enjoyed myself immensely.

And if you did enjoy your experience at Cumberland Mountain you'll want to check out the four other Bear Trace Golf Courses. Why not make it the "full tour?"

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