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Nature Photography

Mount LeConte

The tallest mountain located entirely within the state of Tennessee – near Gatlinburg – Mount LeConte stands an impressive 6593-feet above sea level and provides hikers with stunning panoramic scenery of the Smoky Mountains.

Clingmans Dome (at 6664-feet, the tallest peak in the Smoky Mountains National Park) and Mount Guyot (6621-feet) each have higher elevations, though both occupy boundaries within Tennessee and North Carolina.

There are five trails to the summit of Mount LeConte. This hike – my second – began at the Alum Cave Trailhead, located approx. 8 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center, along Newfound Gap Road. During the initial 1.5 miles, the trail parallels two creeks – Alum Cave Creek & Styx Branch – providing visitors with pleasant background sounds of running water.

Shout Out: I enjoyed conversation at Myrtle Point with two visitors from Maryland (Cathy) & Virginia (Gayle), and hiking back down the mountain with a nice woman – Shawnie – from Dayton, TN. Nice to meet you!

One can expect to meet many people along the trail – it’s a popular place to hike, with most folks opting to walk 1/2 the distance, stopping at Alum Cave Bluffs (an area originally mined for deposits of magnesium sulfate & alum in 1838, by the Epsom Salts Manufacturing Company).

Other landmarks include Arch Rock (a long stairway which winds through the mountainside), Inspiration Point, and the Eye of The Needle. This area is also home to Peregrine Falcons – the fastest bird in the world, with a top recorded speed (during descent) of 242 miles per hour. And, the trail is equipped with several different steel cables, affixed to the mountainside for safety.

The Top

Hikers are greeted at the top of the mountain with a series of buildings – LeConte Lodge, cabins, gift shop, fresh water pump & an outhouse.

LeConte Lodge operates via a seasonal airlift of supplies by helicopter in March, restocking throughout the season using alternating teams of pack llamas for several days each week. Cabin availability is limited and reservations should be made one year in advance.

Cliff Tops

Located a short 0.2 miles away from LeConte Lodge, Cliff Tops is one of two primary overlooks enjoyed by visiting hikers. It’s a great place to relax with a snack and take in the view!

My next destination was the eastern most edge on top of Mount LeConte; also known as Myrtle Point. Here are a few photographs taken en route…

Myrtle Point

This is my favorite of the two overlooks. It has a more expansive, panoramic view, and much flatter rock surfaces for comfortable seating. Mountain views include Mount Kephart, Newfound Gap, Charlies Bunion and Clingmans Dome.

Conclusion

Including visits to/from the Cliff Tops & Myrtle Point overlooks, I tallied over 12 miles on the hike along the Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte. It’s the shortest route, but, being the steepest trail, a strenuous endeavor. My advice is to be well-rested, bring appropriate clothing but travel as lightly as practical, take a break if fatigued, stay hydrated, use trekking poles when possible, and watch your step. Oh, and take pictures!

Photography

Fine quality prints are available through my galleries at Fine Art America & Pixels. Select between framed, canvas, art, poster, metal, acrylic, wood and/or tapestry. Customization options, also.

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Nature Photography

Cummins Falls

Such a beautiful place deserves more attention, and so here is another photograph of Cummins Falls – in Cookeville, Tennessee. If you’d be interested in a print for your home or office – lobby, cafeteria, hospital, etc. – then visit my shop at Fine Art America. A variety of museum quality prints are available to enjoy over time.

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Nature Photography

Indian Flats Falls

Located in the Tremont section of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, the Middle Prong Trail to Indian Flats Falls is 8.2 miles out and back.

Driving 3 miles beyond the Tremont Institute, which features a small gift shop and restroom, the gravel road dead ends at a parking area by the trailhead. Crossing a footbridge over the river, the trail forks to the left and parallels Lynn Camp Prong.

Hikers will enjoy the sound of running water over the course of a 1140-foot elevation gain en route to Indian Flats Falls. At approx. 1/2 mile, the impressive 35-foot tall Lynn Camp Falls can be viewed from the trail.

History

The Middle Prong Trail was originally a railroad bed used by the Little River Railroad & Lumber Company, based in Townsend, Tennessee, which was one of the largest commercial logging operations in southern Appalachia, operating for 38 years until 1939, with 150 miles of railroad. Visitors can find more information available at the Little River Railroad Museum.

Along the way, hikers will observe vestiges from that era, including limited glimpses of railroad tracks and other steel remnants, a toppled chimney and an abandoned 1920’s Cadillac taxi. Other encounters may include horses – equestrians allowed, so watch your step – and bears, common to the area.

The Hike

Over the course of the trail, hikers should expect an increase in grade and quantity of scattered small-to-medium sized rocks. There are two bridges to cross, as well as two small creek beds, easily traversed by stepping on rocks to keep dry.

After hiking 4 miles up a mountainside, one might expect to see a sign pointing to Indian Flats Falls. Alas, there are no signs. Instead, following several turns and an increase in elevation, the path broadens substantially at a switchback. Rather than continuing left, hikers will see a path to the right, tucked behind a large bush near a rock face. Turning right is a short, moderately difficult path over some rocks and under a few downed trees – then, the falls!

The Falls

Emerging from the path, visitors are greeted with a wonderful view of the 20-foot tall top section of Indian Flats Falls. There is plenty of room for several people to gather, though hikers should remain weary of slippery conditions on what would otherwise appear as flat rock surfaces.

This waterfall actually has four-tiers, for a total height of 60-feet, though access to these lower areas isn’t easy, requiring one to get dirty foraging through the brush, descending shallow rock ledges, and wading knee-deep through a plunge pool at the base.

If you’re prepared to sustain a few scratches and get muddy, the views are definitely worth the effort.

Photographs

Fine quality prints are available in my gallery at Fine Art America.

The following photography presents Indian Flats Falls, top-down:


If you enjoy the great outdoors, then I’d highly recommend the hike to Indian Flats Falls. And, plan to spend more time than you might otherwise expect, as you’ll often find yourself stopping to enjoy scenery along the river.

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Nature Photography

Return To Laurel Falls

Located along Fighting Creek Gap Road in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, not far from the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, Laurel Falls is a popular tourist attraction.

It’s an easy 2.6 mile out and back hike along a paved trail, though the pavement it quite eroded. Measuring both upper and lower sections of Laurel Falls – which are divided by a railed pathway – the waterfall stands 80-feet tall and provides several scenic viewpoints, if one is willing to climb to the base.

Signs At Trailhead

On my visit, I was the first car parked in the lot…by 3 minutes. Capturing photographs without people in the picture requires one to arrive early, so I showed up 1/2 hour before sunrise. Bears are common in this area, though less so once a steady stream of hikers are present. No water. No restrooms.

View From Trail

History

The trail was completed in 1932 at a cost of $590, providing fire crews access to the Cove Mountain area. Three years later, a fire tower was completed. By 1960, frequent trail use and erosion were problematic, and, as part of the 1963 Accelerated Works Projects grant to the Department of Interior, the trail was paved. Today, with over 800 miles of trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, only four trails are paved for a total of three miles.

Photography

If you’d like to accent a wall in your home or office with a print featuring my photography, you can visit my gallery at Fine Art America to select the print type which best suits your interests. Many selections available – I hope that you find something to purchase & enjoy!

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Categories
Nature Photography

Forest Boardwalk

A short span of boardwalk along the trail to Savage Falls, located in the South Cumberland State Park, in Tennessee. Prints available. See more.

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Nature Photography

Return To Rock Island State Park

Located near Spencer, Tennessee, the Rock Island State Park has 883-acres along the Caney Fork, Collins and Rocky Rivers. It also features the rugged beauty of an expansive Caney Fork Gorge.

On my first visit to the park, I learned that, in order to access the base of Great Falls, a 30-foot horseshoe cascading waterfall, one should expect to get wet. Most folks in the gorge on the south side of the Caney Fork River near the waterfall are there to swim in a large plunge pool, sporting water shoes and swim attire. Keeping dry can be difficult and entails carefully navigating a very slippery, narrow and moss-covered non-flat surface.

Recalling my previous experience, I decided that, this time, I’d attempt to access the area via a trail originating from across the river, near the Twin Falls parking area. There were several signs along the way stating, ‘No Access Above Falls’, indicating that I was probably headed in the right direction. Beyond a pond and across a forested hillside, I was able to traverse a series of rocks in the river, which led me to the base of the waterfalls – and, I stayed dry!

Photographs 1 & 2 were taken looking back at the trail which I had hiked moments earlier.


Photographs

If you’d like to accent a wall in your home or office with a print featuring my photography, you can visit my gallery at Fine Art America to select the print type which best suits your interests.

I hope that you find something to purchase and enjoy for years to come. Thanks for visiting!


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Nature Photography

Lower Catawba Falls

Water follows gravity downward, over and around moss covered rock-outcroppings along Lower Catawba Falls. Located in the Pisgah National Forest east of Asheville, North Carolina, you can enjoy a print of this photograph in you home or office – visit my gallery at Fine Art America.

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Nature Photography

Catawba Falls

Located near Old Fort, North Carolina, only 26 miles east of Asheville, the 100-foot tall Catawba Falls highlights the scenic beauty of the Pisgah National Forest. Following a well maintained trail along a mossy riverbed on the Catawba River, the sounds of rushing water over many small cascades accompany visitors on this slightly uphill, family-friendly 2.5 mile out and back hike.

This is a popular tourist destination with a large parking lot, restrooms and an informational placard at the trailhead. Accordingly, visitors should plan upon an early arrival if wishing to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature, absent crowds – mine was the second car parked onsite, though an estimated 80 vehicles were observed at the time of my departure.

Under a shaded forest canopy, hikers will cross the river on two footbridges and encounter remnants of an early 1900’s hydroelectric dam…

There are also several interesting side trails leading to picturesque spots aside Catawba River…

Prints

If you enjoy the great outdoors – especially waterfalls – then I’m certain that you’d be pleased with a purchase of any of the many print types available in my gallery at Fine Art America.

Framed / Canvas / Art / Poster / Metal / Wood / Acrylic / Tapestry

Lower Catawba Falls

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If you’d like to extend your hiking adventure by undertaking a strenuous and difficult climb, another 1/2 mile trek leads to the beautiful Upper Catawba Falls. Warning: this is potentially a dangerous area if you’re not skilled at climbing rocks and steep mountainsides, and hikers must ascend a 25-foot rock face using a secured rope for assistance. Here are a few photographs along the trail…

Upper Catawba Falls

The sound of falling water continued to intensify, until, finally, I could see Upper Catawba Falls through the trees! Standing approx. 60-feet tall, this isolated, picturesque waterfall features a broad plunge pool with large rocks scattered to the side, useful as seating. With a snack and water, I enjoyed the sights & sounds of this setting, uninterrupted over the course of my 45-minute stay.

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It is my hope that you’ll consider decorating your home with an accent piece of my photography, featured here. Each product is manufactured at one of 16 global production facilities and delivered “ready-to-hang” with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Credit cards & PayPal accepted.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Nature Photography

Hiking Spruce Flats Falls

Located in the Tremont section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cades Cove in Tennessee, the scenic Spruce Flats Falls stands 30-feet tall and can be enjoyed by hiking a moderately difficult trail measuring two miles out and back.

There are several changes in elevation and rocky areas to traverse along the well-marked trail, so good hiking shoes are a must. Bears are sometimes present, though less so than crowds of people – it’s a popular spot to visit, so arrive early if you’d like to enjoy the area in a tranquil setting.

Presently, due to concerns regarding COVID-19, the park office and restroom remain closed. So too is the parking area, though a gravel lot directly across the bridge is convenient. Also, the plunge pool beneath the falls provides a nice spot to cool off – great for kids!

Prints

If you’d be interested in a print for your home or office, you can visit my gallery to purchase any of the following photographs. Each product is manufactured at one of 16 global production facilities and delivered “ready-to-hang” with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Nature Photography

Surface of Earth

Taken from a satellite in space orbiting planet Earth, this black and white image highlights terrain located in the western hemisphere. Oh, wait…haha. This black and white photograph was actually taken while hiking at Black Mountain, on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, and features evidence of erosion from water along a rock surface of the mountain. You’ll discover prints available in my gallery – suitable for any environment. So, check it out…

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Nature Photography

Nemo Rapids

Located along Emory River in the Obed Wild And Scenic River National Park, near Wartburg, Tennessee, Nemo Rapids are an easy 1/4 mile hike from the parking area at Nemo Bridge, where several parking spaces are available.

Visitors may enjoy limited playground equipment and picnic tables, as well as basic restrooms. An informational placard also provides historical references & area map. To see Nemo Rapids, walk underneath Nemo Bridge and between several large rocks, to follow a sandy trail toward the water. There, the trail branches to the left and into the woods – this path leads to the rapids, further downstream.

Prints

If you’d be interested in a print of any kind, visit my gallery at Fine Art America. Each product is manufactured at one of 16 global production facilities and delivered “ready-to-hang” with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Enjoy the great outdoors all year long, in your home or office!

Framed / Canvas / Art / Poster / Metal / Wood / Acrylic / Tapestry


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Nature Photography

Savage Falls

Located in the South Cumberland State Park of Tennessee, near Palmer, Savage Creek flows over cascades and down the picturesque 30-foot Savage Falls.

Welcome To The Savage Gulf State Natural Area

With nearly 16,000-acres on the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau, park visitors can discover over 50 miles of wilderness trails. The hike to Savage Falls, however, is only 3.6 miles out and back along well kept trails of mostly hard packed soil. There are some rocks, and a substantial amount of roots – hikers should expect sore feet the next day! Also, there are two suspension bridges over waterways, each with a two-person limit. Follow the white blaze markers.

There is a Ranger Station with clean restrooms, running water, recycling and trash bins. Several benches are also located near an information bulletin board, and a secured voluntary donations box is available for contributions. Lastly, there is a sign-in clipboard for hikers to log in/out times.

The trail follows the flow of Savage Creek, so hikers will first encounter a broad set of cascades above the falls. Next, a view from the top of the falls can be enjoyed while standing on a large, flat rock. Lastly, a wooden stairway leads to a plunge pool at the base of Savage Falls, where many rocks can serve as seating for hikers to enjoy the view and a rest. There is also a second waterfall tucked away behind several large boulders, only slightly downstream. In order to get a good view, you’ll need to climb down a short hillside and traverse across several slippery rocks – if you can manage to do so carefully, the view is worth it!

Prints Available

If you’d be interested in a print of any kind, visit my gallery at Fine Art America. Each product is manufactured at one of 16 global production facilities and delivered “ready-to-hang” with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Enjoy the great outdoors all year long, in your home or office!

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