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Nature Photography

Cascading Waterfall

This is Big Branch Falls, a picturesque cascading waterfall along the trail in the Virgin Falls State Natural Area, near Sparta, Tennessee. See more.

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Nature Photography

Forest Steps

I took this black and white photograph of forest steps while hiking on the trail to Denny Cove Falls, located approx. 30 minutes from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Nature Photography

Sheep Cave

Along the trail on my Hike To Virgin Falls, I came upon a few signs leading me to Sheep Cave – a cave in the side of a mountain from which Little Laurel Creek re-emerges, flowing over a series of waterfalls before disappearing into a deep cavern underground.

It’s always interesting to see water flowing from a cave – also observed at Lost Creek State Natural Area, an adjoining park. Here, it moved over two waterfalls, the top of which was accessible via cautious maneuvers along a muddy hillside. See below…

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Nature Photography

Big Laurel Creek

I took this photograph while crossing Big Laurel Creek on my hike to Virgin Falls – located on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.

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Nature Photography

Big Laurel Falls

Along my Hike To Virgin Falls, I encountered Big Branch Falls, and, in two miles, had the opportunity to enjoy Big Laurel Falls.

At 40-feet tall, the water flows over a rock ledge and then vanishes underground into a large network of caves. The recessed overhang allows for easy access behind the falls, though rocks are damp and quite slippery – hikers should use caution!

Prints

Prints are available in my gallery – framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and acrylic. If purchasing a framed print, customization options include: size, frame, mat, paper and finish. Many other items, also.

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Nature Photography

Emory Gap Falls

If you’re interested in taking the family for an easy & fun hike to see a waterfall, then visit the Frozen Head State Park – near Wartburg, Tennessee. The scenic 20-foot tall Emory Gap Falls is only a 3 mile out and back hike, and you’ll also pass Debord Falls along the trail.

See earlier post: Emory Gap Falls At Frozen Head

Like many waterfalls on the Cumberland Plateau, the best time to visit is when there’s water present. This was my second trip to the falls; though autumn foliage was gone, by comparison, recent rainfall bolstered the volume of water flowing.

Prints

If you’d like to enjoy the great outdoors in your living room or place of employment, you’re invited to visit my shop to select a print of your choosing. Many options available. Thanks!

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Nature Photography

Big Branch Falls

I recently hiked the Virgin Falls State Natural Area, located on the Cumberland Plateau – near Sparta, Tennessee. Along the trail, I stopped to enjoy Big Branch Falls, a 15-foot tall waterfall featuring a series of small terraces; thus, producing a cascading effect.

Prints

Visit my shop at Pixels to discover a variety of prints – great in the home, office, workplace-lobby or cafeteria setting. Enjoy!

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Nature Photography

Hike To Virgin Falls

Finally, I hiked the trail to Virgin Falls!

Located at the Virgin Falls State Natural Area in White County, Tennessee, Virgin Falls stands an impressive 110-feet tall. Emerging from a cave, water flows over the waterfalls and then disappears underground into another cave at the bottom of the sink.

Situated atop a mammoth cavern system, other areas along the trail – Big Laurel Creek, Big Laurel Falls and Little Laurel Creek at Sheep Cave – also vanish underground. If in the future I ever feel compelled to explore these caverns, there are over seven miles of mapped passages to hike (with flashlights & headlamps). Hmm…

Because there were several areas of interest along my 10 mile hike, this blog post will focus on Virgin Falls, specifically. In the days ahead, I’ll also include links referencing these other areas:

Along the hike, you’ll be tempted to go off trail sightseeing, as I did. Beauty is everywhere and many spots are accessible, but be cautious – danger awaits the unsuspecting in various forms (damp rocks with a thin layer of moss, slick mud under a blanket of dead leaves along a hillside, loose rocks underfoot). I fell once – moss!

The main trail is marked with a white blaze. Just follow the signs –

Cables are provided in four areas to assist hikers along the trail –

Virgin Falls

Despite the ground being saturated from recent rain, and with total cloud-cover overhead, this was nevertheless a wonderful, scenic hike! Due to the volume of water falling, though, there was significant wind & mist generated (listen to the video, below) – thus, making it virtually impossible to photograph directly in the front of the waterfall.

Prints

I’ve added several of these photographs to my gallery at Pixels. If you’d be interested in a print for your home, office, or, as a gift for family members and friends, then stop by to select from a variety of print types – framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and acrylic. Framed prints may also be customized – size, frame, mat, paper and finish. Hope to see you soon!

Stay tuned…more to come!

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Nature Photography

Jack Rock Falls

Following my hike at Debord Falls & Emory Gap Falls, I returned to my vehicle and drove to the nearby Obed Wild And Scenic River National Park, located near Wartburg, Tennessee.

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.

Prints

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Foster Falls

Following a hike at Denny Cove Falls, I drove less than 2 miles to the South Cumberland State Park near Sequatchie, Tennessee, to enjoy the picturesque 60-foot Foster Falls. The park features a paved road, restrooms, drinking fountain and a wooden boardwalk leading to an observation deck overlooking the gorge and falls.

After a short walk along a sandy path, hikers enter the forest and encounter a more difficult, steep downhill trail consisting of many rocks. There’s a suspension bridge at the base, with the falls at right. A walking stick and deliberate pace are recommended.

Prints

If you’re interested in purchasing a print for your home or place of employment, then visit my gallery to select from a wide assortment of print types – framed, canvas, metal, art, wood and acrylic.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Nature Photography

Richland Creek

This scenic photography features Richland Creek, as seen hiking along the Laurel-Snow Trail on the Cumberland Plateau, near Dayton, Tennessee. See more.

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Nature Photography

Denny Cove Falls

Located in the South Cumberland State Park (30 minutes from Chattanooga, Tennessee, near Sequatchie) Denny Cove Falls is a picturesque 70-foot waterfall on the Denny Cove Branch. Driving two hours from Knoxville, my road trip into the wilderness also included a second stop at Foster Falls – less than two miles away!

Following directions provided through alltrails.com, I soon learned that there wasn’t access to the park via Dawson Springs Road, only several “No Trespassing” signs posted along private, rural properties. Instead, I found a marked entrance further north along US-41, an old gravel road with many deep potholes. Mine was the second car on site, and I was greeted by a family with two small children, as I walked ahead with camera in hand.

The nearly 3 mile out and back hike included diverse trail conditions, ranging from easy walking on hard pack soil through a pine tree forest, to cautious movements along an entirely rock strewn pathway. The trail is rated as moderately difficult, though, had the rocks been damp, it would have been more challenging. Fortunately, trail conditions were dry.

There are a few different trails in the park for hikers to enjoy. Nevertheless, and despite reading reviews suggesting that the falls are often busy, I had the place to myself for 1.5 hours during my morning visit – very peaceful.

Along the return, I met several other hikers on the trail – and, heard many other voices? Looking uphill through the trees at imposing gorge walls, I could see dozens of rock climbers – a popular recreational activity, accounting for the now full parking lot.

Prints for your home or office

I’ve added a variety of photographs to my gallery from my hike at Denny Cove Falls. Check it out and discover several different print types available – framed, canvas, metal, art, acrylic and/or wood. Thanks for visiting!

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Nature Photography

Splashing Waterfall

This close-up photograph highlights a waterfall located along Richland Creek, near the Laurel-Snow Trail in Dayton, Tennessee. Guests may visit my gallery for prints and more. Thanks!

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Nature Photography

Laurel-Snow Trail To Buzzard Point

Earlier Post: Laurel-Snow Trail To Laurel Falls

This was my second visit to the park, and I’ll definitely be returning – there’s simply so much to see! My intent was to visit Snow Falls, a ten mile hike. However, soon after I began – at the first wooden bridge with a small creek – I opted to ascend the boulder-strewn mountainside, where to my delight I encountered a series of scenic waterfalls, as well as an old mine opening towards the top. This was difficult terrain but well worth the effort, though it added 2 hours to my hike…

Beyond an aluminum bridge at the 1.5 mile split, I headed left in accordance with the Snow Falls marker. Following another turnoff (stay right, as left leads to a campsite), I came upon a second creek crossing – an older metal bridge consisting of 3 fifty-foot connecting sections. Then, further along the trail, there’s an area which was poorly marked: rather than continue on the white blaze, hikers should make a short detour, following instead the orange ribbons posted on trees. This sidestep reconnects with the trail, which is clearly marked thereafter.

Missing this turn may cause hikers to spend the next twenty minutes scrambling up a steep mountain covered with slippery leaves. D’oh!

Thankfully, I found the trail again and continued on towards Buzzard Point

While enjoying a great view to the east from Buzzard Point, I spotted several of these ugly birds effortlessly floating on thermal updrafts – 2 of which dive bombed me. Heads up!

After a brief rest to enjoy a peanut butter sandwich, I backtracked along the ridge on an old logging road which, at its terminus (a cable delineating property lines), has an unmarked trail into the forest at left. Thereafter, coming upon a fork in the path, I stayed left towards Morgan Creek (right leads to another campsite). To get to Snow Falls, one must cross the creek in order to rejoin the trail. However, the water was high, swift and cold…I waded in halfway to my knees, though could see I’d need to commit to crossing a depth over-knee deep (along a slippery, mostly flat rock surface under water), and bailed. Another time!


In summary, this was a very enjoyable hike of approximately 12 miles, though a rather long day. On the trail beginning at 9:45 a.m., I returned to my vehicle at 6:00 p.m., exhausted. Along the way, I shot a few more photographs of Richland Creek

Prints

Checkout my gallery at Pixels for a variety of fine prints. Perfect for your home or office, select between framed, canvas, art, metal, wood & acrylic. Other items are available, also.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Nature Photography

Richland Creek Rapids

Enjoy this landscape scenery featuring whitewater along Richland Creek, located on the Cumberland Plateau near Dayton, Tennessee. See more in my gallery at Pixels.

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Nature Photography

Return To Northrup Falls

Located on the Cumberland Plateau in the Colditz Cove State Natural Area, is one of Tennessee’s most stunning waterfalls – Northrup Falls.

It’s an easy hike into the gorge along Big Branch Creek, where visitors pass towering rock cliffs leading to the 65-foot waterfall with turquoise plunge pool. The trail meanders through an old-growth forest of large hemlocks and white pines, some of which are over 200 years old, before splitting left or right along the top edge of the gorge. There, the trail becomes a loop and either direction leads to the base of (and behind) the falls. However, traveling left provides an earlier view of several interesting geological sights.

Note: shallow, open cave-like structures – a.k.a., “rock houses” – line the creek gorge. These shelters were used by cliff-dwelling Woodland Indians over 3,000 years ago.

Recent Photographs

This was my second time visiting Northrup Falls, and I did so during a period of a few hours, between (several days of) rain and an oncoming thunderstorm. Hence, everything was wet – muddy trail, slippery rocks – with complete cloud cover. Nevertheless, beautiful scenery!

My First Visit

I first visited Northrup Falls last summer during the month of July, when I enjoyed warm weather, vibrant colors of nature and dry conditions. Here are a few photographs from that hike…

Prints

You can enjoy these beautiful scenes of the great outdoors year-round with the purchase of a print from my shop at Pixels. Select among these options: framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and/or acrylic. And, framed prints may also be customized to suit your wishes (size, frame, mat, paper and finish). Whether as home decor, at the office, in a lobby or cafeteria setting, waterfalls serve as an appealing, refreshing addition to your living spaces. Enjoy!

Video

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Nature Photography

Layers of Rock And Moss

Water drips from rocky ledges along the trail to Ozone Falls, located on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, dampening moss and leaves. Guests may visit my gallery to see prints and more.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Nature Photography

Laurel-Snow Trail To Laurel Falls

Wow! I’ve hiked many areas in the state, but so far none can compare to the plethora of waterfalls as found along the Laurel-Snow Trail To Laurel Falls, located near Dayton, TN.

From the moment I stepped out my vehicle and on to the trail, the sound of running water was loud, present throughout my hike. Though alltrails.com lists the hike at 6.1 miles out and back, a placard at the trailhead cites the total distance as 5 miles. Whatever the case, I definitely added another mile or two exploring off trail – there were photography opportunities around every corner!

The road into the park is filled (no pun intended) with potholes – it’s somewhat of an obstacles course. Thus, drive slowly with caution around sharp turns near steep hills.

Richland Creek was full, with a wonderful blue-green coloration in deeper pools and dozens of small-to-medium size waterfalls visible from the trail. Other water sources – including Paine Creek – were flowing with waterfalls to enjoy while hiking. Also, huge boulders – some 30 feet tall – periodically peppered the waterside.

The trail, formerly a railroad bed of The Dayton Coal & Iron Company, Limited, was mostly hard-pack dirt and flat, though muddy in areas. Though the trail splits (a white blaze leads left along the creek, and, orange ribbons around trees mark a route into the forest, leading to the right), both trails soon reconnect before reaching a new, aluminum bridge. Thereafter, the trail becomes quite rocky, and signs are posted for Snow Falls (left) and the 80-foot Laurel Falls (right).

Photographs

Prints

If you’d be interested in a print for your home, office, or in the lobby or cafeteria of your business, academic facility or hospital, then please visit my shop at Pixels. Thanks!

Video

See Also: Laurel-Snow Trail To Buzzard Point

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Nature Photography

Water Scenes

Here are three photographs – available as prints – which I shot at different locations in Tennessee:

Thanks For Stopping By!!!

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Nature Photography

Return To Lost Creek Falls

Following a stop at Piney Falls – more on that in a subsequent post – I drove for a second time to visit the Lost Creek State Natural Area. This time, though seasonal foliage was absent, the volume of water flowing was bolstered by recent rainfall and provided wonderful scenery.

See earlier post: Lost Creek Falls

Though a recent Year In Review entry highlighted Cummins Falls as my favorite waterfall, Lost Creek Falls – when taken in totality – certainly ranks as a contender for such accolades. While the magnitude of beauty is less, there’s simply more to enjoy!

Notes of Interest

Water in the plunge pool at the base of the 50′ Lost Creek Falls disappears completely underground by draining into a “sink” (or bowl), though a small surface stream remains visible during very wet conditions. The water ends up inside nearby Lost Creek Cave, one of Tennessee’s largest caves, with five separate entrances and seven miles of mapped passages. It’s pitch black inside, requiring headlamps and secondary light systems for safety, and is closed during winter months for purposes of bat hibernation. Also, rumor has it that somewhere deep within the cave, there is another similarly-sized waterfall!

If you enjoy the peace and quiet of nature in a remote location, this area fits the bill. During my first and second visits, I encountered one individual, and then a couple, respectively, while hiking. GPS coordinates of the parking area are N35 50.442, W85 21.660. No restrooms, no gift shop.

In 1994, the Walt Disney Corporation, so pleased with the area’s natural beauty, filmed several scenes from “The Jungle Book” at both the falls & cave entrance.

There are several areas worthy of exploring, each of which will be detailed to some extent, as follows. Stairs are provided leading visitors from the parking area to the falls and cave, though other trails are more rocky. Also, rocks around the water are covered with moss and can be very slippery, so proper footwear is important – exercise discretion.

Ice can pose a hazard for visitors during winter months. Case in point, clusters of huge icicles were positioned on cliff walls to the sides of Lost Creek Falls, as well as above the 30-foot opening to Lost Creek Cave. While I was there, I saw and heard several come crashing down as temperatures warmed a bit. Heads up! Also, many rocks near the waterfalls become coated with thin ice from mist in the air, and can be very slippery!

Photographs & descriptions of each area in chronological order:

Lost Creek Falls

The main attraction, Lost Creek Falls can be heard as soon as you step out of your car. As is common with many waterfalls found on the Cumberland Plateau, rocks have been eroded in a horseshoe shape with recessed areas underneath ledges. This particular topography also includes a few small caves. Also, the plunge pool is quite shallow – great for kids and/or dogs.

Side Waterfall

Located slightly uphill along a short trail to the right of Lost Creek Falls is a smaller waterfall – actually, a set of two. It’s also easy to cross the stream from left to right, which allows hikers access to the top of the falls. However, if conditions are dry so too is this stream.

Lost Creek Cave

This giant cave is located only 300 feet from, and in clear sight of, Lost Creek Falls. Glancing inside, it doesn’t take much distance for light to diminish into darkness. It’s closed for the winter, and spelunkers are required to register for a permit.

Upper Lost Creek Falls

A short trail from the parking area to the top of Lost Creek Falls provides hikers with an opportunity for more interesting views. You’ll see the leading edge of the falls, a stream above which flows as a series of small cascades over rock ledges, and a small cave – largely obscured by boulders – at the top, wherein a honeycomb of eroded rock channels spring fed water from the hillside. Unlike my prior visit, an increased flow of water prevented me from crossing the stream, though I was able – moving deliberatively with extreme caution – to scale icy surfaces in reaching the cave opening.

Rylander Cascades

Another area to enjoy is Rylander Cascades, a short 1/2 mile hike from Lost Creek Falls along a rocky trail. During my visit in late-August, this area was completely dry. So, plan on visiting sometime following rain. If you’re feeling ambitious, this trail also leads 4.5 miles to Virgin Falls – a strenuous hike.

Prints

Prints available – framed, canvas, poster, metal, wood, acrylic. Other items, also. Thanks!