Have you ever wanted to see both a waterfall and a cave on one hike? Then Stephens Gap Callahan Cave Preserve is the place for you. Not only do you get to see a waterfall and a wild cave here, but they are both in the same place! The gloomy cavernous space of Stephens Gap Cave features an incredible waterfall that shoots out of an opening in the cave and free-falls over 100 feet into the pit underneath. What's more: you don't need any caving experience at all to get into the Stephens Gap Cave's primary chamber and to view the waterfall. As long as you're capable of scrambling steeply down a boulder field into the cave and don't mind getting dirty, you can easily tour this stunning natural feature. The short hike to the cave is pretty in its own right, especially in spring, when a mosaic of new, bright green ferns is seen among the area's boulder fields and rock outcrops. Access to Stephens Gap Cave is exclusively by a permit system. Only 25 people are allowed to visit the cave on any given day, so it's best to register for your free online permit from the Southeastern Cave Conservancy in advance to ensure your access to the cave. For the best experience, visit the cave after rainfall or during a wetter period - that's when the falls is the most impressive. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 17th, 2018. My plan was to hike out and back to Stephens Gap Cave via the access trail from County Road 30.
Pigeon-Crockford Mountain Wildlife Management Area: Blue Hole Trail to Ellison's Cave and Estelle Mines Loop, LaFayette, Georgia
Ellison's Cave is one of the most famous caves in the US, and for good reason: the cave has the deepest unobstructed underground pitch - the Fantastic Pit - in continental US. While navigating through the over 12-mile long cave requires serious training, skills, and lots of caving equipment, the entrance to the cave can simply be viewed from a hiking trail. Ellison's Cave is just one of Pigeon Mountain's many unique highlights. Another such highlight is the Estelle Mines and Tunnels. Iron ore was mined on the northwestern side of the base of Pigeon Mountain and was transported by rail through six tunnels to the former mining town of Estelle. Operations at the site ceased in 1924, and today, all that remains are some ruins of the town of Estelle and the railroad tunnels. While some of the tunnels have caved in, others are intact and can even be walked through. On this hike, you'll visit both Ellison's Cave and the Estelle Mines, each of which would be a worthwhile destination even by itself. This hike occurred on Saturday, January 14th, 2017. My plan was to hike the Blue Hole Trail from Blue Hole past both the dug entrance and historic entrance of Ellison's Cave to the top of Pigeon Mountain. From there, I would hike the Estelle Mines Loop (a combination of Pocket Trail, Estelle Mines Trail, Bluebird Gap Shortcut, and Bluff Trail) clockwise, passing Pocket Falls and all of the Estelle Mines railroad tunnels.
Other Hiking Websites
Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 482.4 Miles
Year 5: 122.3 Miles