Sumter National Forest: Winding Stairs Trail, Big Bend Trail, and Foothills Trail (Big Bend Junction to Cheohee Road), Walhalla, South Carolina
Big Bend Falls is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Upstate South Carolina. Located on the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River, the falls is one big mass of rapid whitewater, tumbling around 30 feet. To the east of the river, the Chattooga Ridge separates the main waterway from Cheohee Valley, which is a large area that lies at the base of the Cherokee Foothills. Several streams tumble down the steep eastern slopes of Chattooga Ridge, and a couple of these streams create several wonderful waterfalls that can be reached from the Winding Stairs Trail. This hike occurred on Saturday, April 4th, 2015. My plan was to hike the Winding Stairs Trail, the Big Bend Trail, and the Foothills Trail from the end of the Big Bend Trail to Cheohee Road. Since this isn't a loop and I didn't have a shuttle vehicle, I would finish with several miles of roadwalk on Cheohee Road.
The Piney River is one of the larger waterways that the Cumberland Trail intersects or follows. Amidst its large watershed, the Cumberland Trail visits five cascades and waterfalls, and also provides excellent water views. In addition, visit Twin Rocks Overlook and make a fun rock scramble to reach the views at the top. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 28th, 2015. My plan was to hike the Cumberland Trail from the Piney River/Shut-in Gap Road Trailhead to at least White Pine Cascades with a side trip to Twin Rocks Overlook. Time permitting, I would continue all the way to the western Shut-In Gap Road Trailhead.
Citico Creek Wilderness: North Fork Trail to Headwaters of North Fork Citico Creek, Tellico Plains, Tennessee
Located to the north of the Cherohala Skyway in southeastern Tennessee, the Citico Creek watershed offers rugged, wilderness hiking opportunities for true hiking enthusiasts. On this hike, you'll have a chance to see three waterfalls in the beautiful setting of the headwaters of North Fork Citico Creek. In addition, you have an option of continuing past the waterfalls and attempting to return down Brushy Mountain Trail - maybe your luck will be better than mine. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 21st, 2015. My plan was to hike the South Fork Trail to the place where North Fork Trail starts, and then to follow the North Fork Trail to Cold Springs Gap Trail or perhaps to Cherry Log Gap. I would either take the Benton Mackaye Trail or Cold Springs Gap Trail to Brushy Mountain Trail. Then, I would start down the Brushy Mountain Trail and hopefully make it down back to South Fork Trail without any major problems. My plan didn't materialize, and I ended up backtracking from about 1 mile down the Brushy Mountain Trail.
The Jacks River is a turbulent waterway that is the main linear focus of the northern Cohutta Wilderness. The Jacks River Trail travels through the wilderness from the river's headwaters near Dally Gap to the wilderness boundary and the place where Jacks River flows into the Conasauga River in Alaculsy Valley. With 42 fords, the trail is the wettest trail in the Cohutta Wilderness, but also the most scenic, passing through a gorge and past a large waterfall. On this hike, you'll have a chance to experience two fords of the Jacks River, as well as see Jacks River Falls - one of the most powerful waterfalls in Georgia. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 14th, 2015. My plan was to hike the Rice Camp Loop clockwise. I would first take the Rice Camp Trail to the Jacks River. From there, I would take the Jacks River Trail upstream, stopping by Jacks River Falls long the way. Next, I would take the Hickory Ridge Trail and follow it to its terminus at the East Cowpen Trail near Buckeye Mountain. I would finish by taking the East Cowpen Trail downhill back to the trailhead.
Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 434.5 Miles