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40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland
by Russ Manning (The Mountaineers Books)
© Russ Manning/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
We stumbled upon this one while riding the bike around the area. Coming up the road (north?) your first glimpse of the falls is an impressive column of whitewater through the trees; the small parking area is well marked by signs. The "Rim" trail to the left is simply a short pathway that follows the river preceding the "action". It's a very short, calm, & unspectacular little waterway with no hint of the natural wonder ahead. You can take this path or the wide one straight ahead to view the falls and the carved rock cavity from the top. Unless you're especially comfy with heights, go ahead and get on your belly and wiggle to the edge for a good view to the bottom. The rocks are fairly flat and perfectly steady if dry, but it was windy the day we went so I felt better being one-with-the-ground! We also met some local guys scaling down the rock wall via a tree they tied to; looked very fun! For the trail to the bottom, backtrack almost to parking and hang a left. You'll walk parallel to the road until you get to sign that points the way down. Lots of rocks, some wet/muddy areas but really NOTHING a little careful footing can't overcome. The walk down is rimmed by small nooks and openings into the rock wall to your left; we had blast scrambling in and out of these and taking pics. Once at the bottom there is quite a mist from the falls but it's just beautiful. You can view it from several areas, including a rock peninsula that resembles the one from the Lion King. The trail is less obvious from here but you can continue exploring the smaller cascades and falls through the rocks to the right (which we did) or you can go behind the falls to the left. We didn't take this route b/c we had the bike and being damp at 70mph isn't fun! But we'll try it next visit; rocks looked wet, of course, but worth the trek. There's also a neat looking cave across the way we plan to explore.
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