Frozen Head State Park: Emory Gap Falls, Panther Branch Trail to Lookout Tower, and Lookout Tower Trail, Wartburg, Tennessee
The Cumberland Mountains is the Cumberland Plateau with a twist - the same canyons but higher elevations and better views. Frozen Head State Park has some of the best the Cumberland Mountains have to offer: two waterfalls and a fire tower with panoramic views. This hike occurred on January 24th, 2015. My plan was to hike the Panther Branch Trail to North Old Mac Trail, and take the North Old Mac Trail to Frozen Had Lookout Tower. Along the way, I would stop at DeBord Falls and do the spur trail to Emory Gap Falls. From the Lookout Tower, I would return by Lookout Tower Trail back to the main park road, and then follow it back to the trailhead.
South Cumberland State Park: Greeter Falls Loop, Greeter Trail, Stone Door Trail to Laurel Falls, and Big Creek Rim/Big Creek Gulf Loop, Beersheba Springs, Tennessee
South Cumberland State Park is one of the most beautiful and diverse areas in Tennessee. The park is not your regular state park. Spread over several counties and in many different land tracts, the state park protects some of the most scenic streams and waterfalls on the Cumberland Plateau. The Savage Gulf State Natural Area, one of the largest sections of South Cumberland State Park, houses nearly a dozen of these waterfalls, and on this hike, you'll get a chance to see five. In addition to the waterfalls, panoramic views abound at the Stone Door Overlook - get to see into the heart of Savage Gulf and hike through a narrow crack in the plateau rim known as the Stone Door. This hike occurred on Saturday, January 17, 2015. My plan was to start my hike at the Greeter Falls Trailhead, and hike the Greeter Falls Loop past Greeter Falls, Upper Greeter Falls, and Boardtree Falls, before taking the Greeter Trail. Following the Greeter Trail, I would take the Big Creek Rim Trail to the panoramic views at the Stone Door. From there, I would take the Stone Door Trail to Laurel Falls and return the same way to the Stone Door. From here, I would take the Big Creek Gulf Trail with a side trip to Ranger Creek Falls, before returning to the Greeter Trail junction and retrace my steps to the trailhead.
When hearing the name Cumberland Plateau, the plateau and valley pattern in middle Tennessee comes to mind. But did you know the plateau doesn't end there? On its way into Alabama, it passes through the extreme northwestern sliver of Georgia, where one of the most spectacular sights on the entire plateau await: Sitton Gulch. Inside the Gulch, you will find a fine mountain stream and four waterfalls, the highest topping out at 100 feet. And if you want a bonus, do the hike in winter after a cold snap - you won't regret it. This hike occurred on January 10th, 2015, following an Arctic cold blast. My plan was to first hike the Sitton Gulch Trail out and back from the main Cloudland Canyon State Park trailhead. Following this, I would hike the West Rim Loop counter-clockwise.
The Jacks River is the second largest waterway in the combined Cohutta-Big Frog Wilderness. While maybe not the largest, it is probably the most turbulent, with a large gorge and a waterfall along its course. Jacks River Falls is the highest and most powerful waterfall in the combined wilderness. Most routes require at least one deep ford of Jacks River to reach the falls. However, Beech Bottoms Trail is a good winter alternative, being the only relatively "dry" route to the falls. The only crossings will be over Beech Bottoms Creek, which may still be problematic in high water levels. This hike occurred on January 3rd, 2015. My plan was to hike the Beech Bottoms Trail southward to Jacks River Trail. Then, I would take the Jacks River Trail west to Jacks River Falls. I would return the same way.
Mark Oleg Ozboyd
Dear readers: I have invested a tremendous amount of time and effort in this website and the Georgia Waterfalls Database the past five years. All of the work that has gone in keeping these websites updated with my latest trip reports has almost been like a full-time job. This has not allowed me to pick up a paid job to save up money for college, and therefore, I I've had to take out loans. If you find the information on this website interesting, helpful, or time-saving, you can say "thanks" and help me out by clicking the button above and making a contribution. I will be very grateful for any amount of support you give, as all of it will apply toward my college tuition. Thank you!
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