Mild temperatures remained following a substantial rainfall to the west, so I drove 45 minutes to the Obed Wild And Scenic River National Park and hiked to lower Jack Rock Falls. Due to the rain, everything was very slippery – soil, fallen leaves and rocks – requiring me to move slowly along the trail, and on steep areas of the mountain. Easy does it, they say. Fortunately, I didn’t fall and my photography is available on prints in the following shops:
If you enjoy the beauty of nature, waterfalls and the autumn season, perhaps you might consider adding a print of Debord Falls to a wall in your home. There are many different print options to select, and customization is also available to suit your wishes.
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After a short hike, I arrived at the scenic Jack Rock Falls. Standing 25-feet tall, I’d seen this waterfall on two previous occasions, each of which during relatively drier times. Following recent rains, it seemed that a return visit would be appropriate.
After taking photographs and enjoying this peaceful setting for a spell, I wondered…
…this waterfall is at a much higher elevation than Clear Creek, below. Might there be additional points of interest downstream worthy of exploration?
It seemed like a good bet, and so it began. I traversed along a steep hillside, weaved in and around trees and plants, and, when possible, climbed atop boulders hoping to glance what lay ahead. I could see some indication of an area where the rocks ended – a drop – but wouldn’t know with certainty until I arrived.
Moving downhill and around a cluster of moss covered rocks, I would soon see that which I’d hoped to find – another waterfall. Awesome! While I’m sure that others have enjoyed this spot, it was challenging to access without a trail, and I was grateful to have found such a beautiful place to enjoy.
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Located in the Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee, Debord Falls stands 12-feet tall and is an easy hike of 1.5 miles out and back, along the Emory Gap Branch.
The trailhead is located at the end of the park, where the road stops at a parking area. You’ll find an informational placard which details a plethora of local flowers, and restrooms are available at the visitor center along the drive.
While it’s no surprise that I’ve discovered most waterfalls in Tennessee depend on rainfall to bolster water flow, guests may want to plan their visit in accordance with current weather conditions – many falls can be dry during summer months.
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I recently hiked four miles with a friend along the Point Trail at Obed Wild And Scenic River, near Wartburg Tennessee, situated on a ridge between the Obed River and Clear Creek. Though autumn foliage was passed-peak, there were several scenic views, especially Jack Rock Falls. See map of Obed.
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I recently visited Emory Gap Falls, a 20′ waterfall located at Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee, enjoying a pleasant autumn afternoon along my three-mile (roundtrip) hike. The trail also passed by a waterfall known as Debord Falls – more on that another time.
The trailhead is located at the end of the park, where the road stops at a parking area. It’s a half-mile hike to Debord Falls, and another one-mile until you’ll reach Emory Gap Falls. Initially, the trail is wide with good footing and limited changes in elevation. Follow the signs, and don’t cross the bridge –
The trail follows two streams – Panther Branch & Emory Gap Branch. At one point, it changes direction, leading up hill and away from the water. While this seems counter intuitive, hikers should follow the signs to stay on track –
Here are a few images which I photographed while hiking along the trail –
The trail eventually rejoined the stream, sounds of which grew louder as I approached the waterfall. As seen below, my first views of Emory Gap Falls –
Emory Gap Falls
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Photograph (above, modified) & information (below) from placard located on site.
After the Civil War, saw and grist mills emerged in Tennessee’s Morgan and Cumberland counties. Corn meal, flour, logs, and other goods from the early lumber and pulp industries were shipped along this bridge.
The Cincinnati Southern Railway was built across the Cumberland Plateau here at Nemo in the 1870s. It became part of the Southern Railway system in the late 1890s. Many small extensions like the Catoosa Railroad were built to tap timber, coal, and other natural resources.
The epic flood of 1929 destroyed the means by which workers made a living, ripping up railway lines and washing away virtually every mill and building in its path – just as America sank into the Great Depression.
I recently visited Wartburg, Tennessee, where I enjoyed a 5 mile (roundtrip) hike along the Nemo Bridge Trail to Alley Ford. Located in the Obed Wild And Scenic River National Park, the trailhead begins at the Rock Creek Campground and continues 14.2 miles to the distant Devils Breakfast Table.
The hike to Alley Ford is rated as moderately difficult with several changes in elevation. There is also a very rocky downhill section of the trail near the end which requires deliberate footing. It was a cold 30-degrees when I began the hike, along which I encountered layers of rain-soaked leaves, creating slippery conditions and, periodically, effectively camouflaging the trail.
Along the way I enjoyed seeing many different sandstone cliffs, colorful autumn foliage, a large group of wild turkeys, and, at the end, the Obed River. Due to recent rains, though, many of the river-rocks otherwise visible at Alley Ford were covered in water.
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Enjoy this photograph of the sun setting over a silhouette of trees and the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. Guests may select one of many available print-types, or other items featuring this picture, by visiting my gallery at Pixels.
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Running water passes underneath a forest canopy and over a moss-covered stream bed at Lower Piney Falls, in Tennessee. This photograph is available on different prints in my gallery at Pixels. Check it out…
UPDATE: see new post – Upper Piney Falls
I recently enjoyed hiking the 440-acre Piney Falls State Natural Area, located in Rhea County where Little Piney and Soak Creek have carved deep gorges into the Cumberland Plateau. It’s recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Interior as a National Natural Landmark, one of fourteen in Tennessee, featuring rare virgin forests.
If you’d be interested in visiting the park, here’s a map:
Note: there are no restrooms or gift shop, and limited signage.
There are two waterfalls at the park, Upper and Lower Piney Falls.
Upper Piney Falls is 80′ high, the top of which is easily accessible by trail. It features a concave ledge which circles behind and around the falls where visitors can enjoy an awe-inspiring view of the gorge below. Getting to the plunge pool, however, is more difficult; in addition to traversing a narrow trail along the upper rim of the gorge, hikers must then descend a steep, rocky surface, safeguarded to some degree via provision of connected cable for support. Exercise caution!
Here are some photographs of Upper Piney Falls –
Here’s a short video of Upper Piney Falls –
Following the trail down to Lower Piney Falls, which stands 40′ high, hikers arrive at the top of the falls for a picturesque view into a taller, narrow gorge. Unfortunately, there are no trails to access the plunge pool nor lower slopes below, which feature an old growth forest of tall white pines and eastern hemlocks.
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