Tag: Cumberland Mountains

Piney Falls State Natural Area

Nature, Photography June 15, 2019

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.

Waterfalls

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.

Prints

If you’d like a print for your home or office, then please visit my gallery at Pixels. There you’ll discover a variety of options – framed, canvas, art, metal, wood, acrylic – in addition to general merchandise items.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cane Creek Falls, Tennessee

Nature, Photography June 5, 2019

The following collection of photographs features Cane Creek Falls – a portion of the many shots I took while recently hiking Fall Creek Falls State Park, in Tennessee.

Prints of Cane Creek Falls – and other areas of the park – are available for your review in my gallery at Pixels. Selections include framed, canvas, art, wood, acrylic and metal prints. Other items available, too – stop by to see more!

If you’d like to visit the park, follow these directions:

Cane Creek Falls

Standing 85′ tall, Cane Creek Falls can be seen from the Nature Center (10821 Park Road), located near the entrance of Fall Creek Falls State Park. Guests may enjoy views of this waterfall and the sandstone gorge from either of two observation platforms, one of which provides easy access for handicapped visitors.

Here are some photographs of Cane Creek Falls

Next, to connect with the hiking trail near the Nature Center, it was necessary to walk along a suspension bridge in order to cross Cane Creek:

Supported with two expansive cables, the bridge was relatively unstable and shifted with each step. As such, I was later pleased with how well the next photograph turned out – taken from the center of the bridge:

Across the creek and then up some stairs, a sometimes rocky trail awaited my steps:

Another Point of View

I continued my hike around this first gorge, until I discovered another area from which to view Cane Creek Falls. Approaching this spot wasn’t easy – don’t trip over the edge! – nor was it necessarily prudent to cross the rudimentary fencing for a better photograph. Look closely at the third picture to see a man standing (left side) on the observation deck – across the gorge – located by the Nature Center:

I hope that you enjoyed this post, and please consider purchasing a print if interested. More pictures of my hike at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee will be forthcoming; until such time, thanks for visiting!

Adventure awaits in Cumberland Mountains

Hiking The Twin Arches At Big South Fork

Nature, Photography April 18, 2019

Part 2

See Part One: Twin Arches At Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area

Time and weather permitting, you’ll have a great time hiking the Twin Arches! Here’s a short video from under the North Arch

I also shot several photographs of this interesting geological destination, which are now available as prints in my gallery at Pixels. Here are a few examples –

Hope to see you soon. In the meantime…

Enjoy the great outdoors!

Twin Arches At Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area

Twin Arches At Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area

Nature, Photography April 17, 2019

Part One

I recently visited the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, which encompasses 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau – in both Kentucky and Tennessee – and boasts miles of scenic gorges and sandstone bluffs.

With many sights to see, I decided to hike the Twin Arches, described as “the most impressive rock arches in the eastern United States”. The North Arch has a clearance of 51 feet, a span of 93 feet and its top deck is 62 feet high, while the South Arch has a clearance of 70 feet, a span of 135 feet and its top deck is 103 feet high.

North Arch
South Arch

Here’s a video taken at the South Arch…

A sign at the park provided this description as to how these arches were formed:

Weaker layers of sandstone form the base of the nearly vertical walls of this narrow ridge. The weathering of these erosion-susceptible layers caused sections of the wall to fall away, forming shallow rock shelters on both sides of the ridge.

The collapse and shelter enlarging process continued until two “windows” in the narrow ridge were formed. This opening enlarged until it reached the stronger and more erosion-resistant sandstone layer of rim rock that caps the Twin Arches.

A cave was situated under one end of the South Arch, so I entered to discover that there was an exit at the back, albeit a narrow passage at approx. 18″ wide. Footprint-impressions in the sand from hikers provided some assurance that the cave was empty – no bats or bears. But, watch your step & don’t bump your head!

Here’s a short video as I entered the cave…

The top of the arches are one contiguous surface area, accessible by stairs, though the South Arch has additional areas visitors may ascend so as to attain the best view:

At the pinnacle, scenic views were truly spectacular on this fine day – unique walls of eroded sandstone, mountains and valleys lined with trees, and an interesting cap-rock area to walkabout. Here are a few examples:

Here’s a video of the surrounding environment –

Partial Map of Park

The only complaint I had while visiting the Twin Arches is Divide Road. As soon as you leave TN-154, you can expect to travel for nearly 5 miles along a gravel road which is narrow with frequent & deep potholes, many hidden by shadows from trees lining the road. So, to be safe, I drove this stretch at less than 10 m.p.h..

Keep in mind, however, that the most impressive sights to see at the Twin Arches are at ground level. So, stay tuned for Part Two

Sandstone Rock Formation

Sandstone Rock Formation

Nature, Photography April 5, 2019

This photograph features the sandstone caprock at Chimney Top Mountain, located at Frozen Head State Park in the Cumberland Mountains of Eastern Tennessee. If you’d be interested in a print for your home or workplace, then stop by my gallery at Pixels to review framed, canvas, art, metal, acrylic and wood print types.

Frozen Head State Park

Frozen Head State Park

Nature, Photography April 4, 2019
Map of Frozen Head State Park

Frozen Head State Park is situated in the beautiful Cumberland Mountains of Eastern Tennessee. The mountainous terrain varies from an elevation of 1,340 feet to over 3,000 feet on 16 different mountain peaks, with 13,122 acres of relatively undisturbed forest containing some of the richest wildflower areas in the state (better viewed during summer months).

A short 45-minute drive from Knoxville, Tennessee, I recently visited the park to hike the Chimney Top Trail, a steep, rugged trail with giant sandstone caprock and natural vista. It’s a 3.5 mile trek to the top with a total gain in elevation of 3,460 feet, as hikers ascend two separate mountains along the trail. Total time: 6 hours.

Here’s part of the Frozen Head State Park map featuring the Chimney Top Trail:

Map of Frozen Head State Park

There were several points of interest along the hike, including the following:

The challenges to this hike were several. First, the distance: 3.5 miles each way. Second, the mind – that is, after hiking up a mountain for 50 minutes, it’s somewhat discouraging to then be faced with having to hike down the backside, losing gains in elevation, only to then be greeted by an even taller mountain. Lastly, the finish: towards the top, hikers encounter the trail’s only flat surface along a ridge; however, this is short-lived, as the final stretch is by far the most difficult.

During this final stretch, glimpses on the rocky top can be seen through the forest:

Hikers must climb the sandstone caprock using one of several pathways, in order to enjoy the wonderful view from the peak of Chimney Top Mountain – seen here:

This is a topographic computer simulation of Bird Mountain, as seen from the top of Chimney Top Mountain, provided in the park map:

Finally, I shot this panoramic video with my iPhone as I walked across the caprock:

Make sure you carry a walking stick, and…

Enjoy the Cumberland Mountains!

Icicles At Frozen Head

Icicles At Frozen Head

Nature, Photography January 15, 2018

This black and white photograph of icicles cascading down a layered, rock ridge, was taken at the Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee, near Wartburg. Whether you’re interested in a print for your home or office, or some other item, a wide variety is available in my galleries at Fine Art America and Redbubble. Check it out!