This photograph was taken from inside a massive cave underneath the 40-foot tall Big Laurel Falls, located in the Virgin Falls State Park. Although the water level along Big Laurel Creek was low during my visit, its interesting that the entire area sits on top of a broad network of subterranean caverns. As such, this waterfall (and others) disappear underground, oftentimes to reemerge some great distance away.
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Big Laurel Falls stands 40-feet tall. However, as with many waterfalls situated on the Cumberland Plateau, the volume of water present diminishes during generally drier, summer months.
That said, at times such as these it’s much easier to enjoy exploring the cave behind the falls, which has dimensions of approximately 160-feet wide by 80-feet deep. Located on top of a large network of caverns, the water from this creek and falls drains back inside the cave and vanishes underground.
Although the water was low during my visit to the Virgin Falls State Natural Area, home to Big Laurel Creek and several other points of interest, I did observe a few deep pools of crystal-clean, turquoise water. You can see more – prints, gifts & apparel – in these shops:
I shot this photograph of Big Laurel Falls using my zoom lens from the other side of a large cave. Located in the Virgin Falls State Park, near Sparta, Tennessee, the waterfall stands 40-feet tall. You can enjoy fine prints and more when you visit any of the following galleries:
Despite low water levels at Big Laurel Creek during my recent visit, and, given that the creek exhibits periodic subterranean detours through a network of caverns before reemerging, there were nevertheless a few areas where I observed deep pools of crystal-clear water…case in point.
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Yesterday, my alarm clock sounded at 3:30 a.m. and I headed to the kitchen to make coffee. After a few cups at my computer, I used the restroom and was on the road within the hour, headed to the Virgin Falls State Natural Area in White County, Tennessee.
I wanted to visit Big Laurel Falls, a 40-foot tall waterfall along a five mile out and back hike rated as difficult. The park is connected with the Lost Creek State Natural Area, both of which rest upon Tennessee’s largest network of underground caverns (featuring five entrances, with seven miles of mapped passages).
What makes these areas interesting is that creeks and waterfalls disappear underground into the caverns, including: Big Laurel Falls, Sheep Cave, Virgin Falls and Lost Creek Falls. The same is true with Big Laurel Creek: it’s visible, then not, only to return once again somewhere downstream.
The cave is approximately 160-feet wide and 80-feet deep. Runoff from the waterfall drains to the back of the cave, flowing along the wall toward the center before vanishing underground. The surface of the cave is mostly sand, and, when standing near the back, has a distinctive spongy feel. Listening closely, one can hear water flowing underfoot, and there are a few areas resembling small sinkholes, pockets where sand has collapsed.
Located in the Colditz Cove State Natural Area, at Northrup Falls, this black and white photography highlights substantial overhanging cliffs – caves – which were used historically as shelter by indigenous people. A variety of prints and other items are now available for sale in my shop at Pixels.
Located in the Colditz Cove State Natural Area, near Allardt, Tennessee, the picturesque 65-foot tall Northrup Falls provides visitors a quiet retreat to enjoy nature. The gorge itself is also a sight to see, with significant overhanging cliffs offering geological interest, as well as natural shelter.
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This black and white geological photograph was taken at Northrup Falls, where overhanging cliffs extend outward up to 50-feet. It’s a great place to get out of the rain and has a history serving as shelter for indigenous peoples, many moons ago. Today, you can enjoy this print on a wall in your home or office with your purchase from my gallery. There are many options to choose from, and customization is also available so you can call it your own.
Visitors hiking this moderately difficult 1.3 mile out and back trail can understand why cliff dwelling Indians made this their home approx. 3,000 years ago – overhanging cliffs extend outward nearly 50-feet in some areas, providing substantial natural shelter.
If you’d enjoy a print in your home or office, stop by my gallery at Pixels to select something for yourself or as a gift to give. Thanks!
This sepia tone photograph highlights geological formations surrounding Northrup Falls, a 65-foot tall waterfall located on the Cumberland Plateau at the Colditz Cove State Natural Area near Allardt, Tennessee. Prints available.