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