I shot this waterfall while exploring off trail on a recent hike in TN.
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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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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This scenic photography features Richland Creek, as seen hiking along the Laurel-Snow Trail on the Cumberland Plateau, near Dayton, Tennessee. See more.
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.
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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!
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!
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…
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Enjoy this landscape scenery featuring whitewater along Richland Creek, located on the Cumberland Plateau near Dayton, Tennessee. See more in my gallery at Pixels.
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.
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…
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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).
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See Also: Laurel-Snow Trail To Buzzard Point
Located in Tennessee within the Fall Creek Falls State Park, Piney Falls stands 95 feet tall and offers scenic views from an overlook near the parking area. Unfortunately, there are no unobstructed views from the canyon rim. Also, the suspension bridge near the falls is currently closed for repairs. However, there is a difficult trail to the base of the gorge which provides a better view. During winter months, hikers should be weary of slippery ice near the falls.
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Located at the Lost Creek State Natural Area in Tennessee, Lost Creek Cave is one of Tennessee’s largest caves, with five separate entrances and seven miles of mapped passages! This high-contrast, gritty black and white photograph of the cave entrance is available on various prints to suit your interests. Visit my shop to see more.