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Thread: Off-trail caves, coves, and gravity-defying rock monsters

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    Senior Member Prediction? Pain.'s Avatar
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    Off-trail caves, coves, and gravity-defying rock monsters

    I've been on a few short hikes the past couple of weeks in a lightly traveled section of my go-to trail system. It's all or mostly in a state forest that surrounds a city park that's a popular hiking spot. I found an unmarked trailhead at the end of a cul de sac on the edge of the state forest and set to exploring. Some of the things I found weren't totally new to me, but this approach gave me access to different spots along a creek and an incredible view from above a waterfall that I'd only seen from below. Together with the vistas of the Tennessee River Gorge, swinging bridges, and waterfalls that the main trails already offers, this place offers an incredible range of hiking opportunities.

    I don't usually pay much mind to cairns, but this is the biggest one I've seen in a while:



    Wet weather in the cold always provides some solid icicles along the trail:



    Usually I'd guess that a cave like this was an old coal mine. But this is on a pretty steep slope with no signs of old coal paths or rail tracks around. So who knows:



    I've posted pics of this rock before but they'd been from one of my solo hikes. With a person in the frame -- that's me at around 6' 4" -- you get a much better idea of the size of this crazy-ass rock. My friend who took the picture was in awe. It's like being able to walk into and out of a photograph of a mountain collapsing.





    This stretch of creek is awesome, especially with all the rain. The big, flat rock toward the back of the first pic is the same one that my friend is standing on in the second. Note how the creek actually flows behind and under the rock on its way downstream.





    As great as all these places are, this spot is the high point. I'd only seen this waterfall from below before and this view is far, far better. Pics really don't do it justice.




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    Where is this?

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    Senior Member SpeckleDawg's Avatar
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    Great pics man. I'm always jealous of your scenery up that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parabrave View Post
    Where is this?
    Mostly Prentice Cooper State Forest near Chattanooga. It's a decent-sized forest with many miles of trails, some of which provide awesome views of the Tennessee River Gorge. Most of these pics come from a section of the forest next to Signal Mountain, which is a small town on a mountain just north of Chattanooga.
    Last edited by Prediction? Pain.; 03-03-2020 at 11:51 AM.

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    If you ever see 2 hillbillies with shotguns following you RUNNNNNNN.

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    Senior Member FISHDAWG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prediction? Pain. View Post
    Mostly Prentice Cooper State Forest near Chattanooga. It's a decent-sized forest with many miles of trails, some of which provide awesome views of the Tennessee River Gorge. Most of these pics come from a section of the forest next to Signal Mountain, which is a small town on a mountain just north of Chattanooga.
    I used to go through there a lot heading to Cookeville, Tn until they opened up hwy 111 across the top to Dunlap .... I remember coming over Signal Mt during a snow storm and promised myself I would never do it again.
    Beautiful country that makes me want to grab my fly rod .... had no idea what it looked like from the interior - good post
    OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) - Ole Miss campus police ask students to behave at future baseball games following a recent incident.
    The university said students were reportedly throwing rocks at Georgia baseball players during last weekend's series.

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    Senior Member FISHDAWG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by parabrave View Post
    If you ever see 2 hillbillies with shotguns following you RUNNNNNNN.
    that would be a little further East - Southeast by about a hundred miles
    OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) - Ole Miss campus police ask students to behave at future baseball games following a recent incident.
    The university said students were reportedly throwing rocks at Georgia baseball players during last weekend's series.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FISHDAWG View Post
    I used to go through there a lot heading to Cookeville, Tn until they opened up hwy 111 across the top to Dunlap .... I remember coming over Signal Mt during a snow storm and promised myself I would never do it again.
    Beautiful country that makes me want to grab my fly rod .... had no idea what it looked like from the interior - good post
    The Cumberland Plateau really is an amazing place. The sheer volume of the waterfalls, caves, rock formations, gorges, mountain streams, wildflowers, and scenic views surpasses every other place I've been.

    If you've got a few minutes to spare the next time you're crossing 111 to Dunlap, take the first exit and swing two quick rights to get on the frontage road that runs parallel to the highway. If you go down about a half mile, you hit a trailhead for a segment of the Cumberland Trail. Within a 90 second walk of the road, you'll find this:





    And if you walk down the trail another 60 seconds or so, you'll hit a nice little bridge over the creek.

    Not a bad place to stretch your legs.

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    Senior Member FISHDAWG's Avatar
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    awesome ... I came right by there yesterday and had no idea .... you're right about the Cumberland area - just beautiful .... my family sold the property to the state of Tennessee for Cummins Falls State Park about 6 years ago and we still own the surrounding property around the park ... it has the creek and deep gorges all through it ... needless to say I spend a lot of time up there but I do miss the privacy of my very own private waterfall[ATTACH=CONFIG]3168
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    OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) - Ole Miss campus police ask students to behave at future baseball games following a recent incident.
    The university said students were reportedly throwing rocks at Georgia baseball players during last weekend's series.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FISHDAWG View Post
    awesome ... I came right by there yesterday and had no idea .... you're right about the Cumberland area - just beautiful .... my family sold the property to the state of Tennessee for Cummins Falls State Park about 6 years ago and we still own the surrounding property around the park ... it has the creek and deep gorges all through it ... needless to say I spend a lot of time up there but I do miss the privacy of my very own private waterfall[ATTACH=CONFIG]3168
    Oh yeah, I remember you mentioning that before. Good on your family for opening up that awesome place to the public. And if you got to keep similar surrounding property, well then double prizes for y'all.

    Two other places you pass on your way to Cookeville on 111:

    Rock Island State Park. It's not too far from 111 and is well worth the detour:

    289924_611536813351_2052755287_o.jpg

    If you click the thumbnail to enlarge, you'll see a tiny little red spot on the left bank of the creek. That's a person. So yeah, massive, massive waterfall. And the park upstream is cool, too. It's basically a dammed up riverbed that you can walk through alongside little streams, pools, and cascades.

    Virgin Falls State Natural Area. It's east by southeast of Sparta, TN and has some insane waterfalls and caves. Much more hiking involved, but worth it:



    (Not my pic.)

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    Senior Member FISHDAWG's Avatar
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    cool ... Sparta is about 30 minutes from our property ... Sparta also has some Radar Gun trigger happy revenue collectors .... but not quite as happy as those gunslingers in Spencer .... so, it's a great place to slow down anyway and enjoy Mother Earth
    Cumberland Caverns isn't far from there ... kinda cool if you're close by but don't plan a special trip for it
    Last edited by FISHDAWG; 03-17-2020 at 07:17 AM.
    OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) - Ole Miss campus police ask students to behave at future baseball games following a recent incident.
    The university said students were reportedly throwing rocks at Georgia baseball players during last weekend's series.

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