This digital collage includes rocky terrain from a photograph I shot along Richland Creek, while hiking the Laurel-Snow Trail in Dayton, Tennessee, and an evening sky with stars. You can discover great wall art, gifts and apparel items in my shops at Redbubble, Pixels and ArtPal. Hope to see you soon!
Welcome to Lost Creek State Natural Area, located on the Cumberland Plateau near Sparta, Tennessee.
Lost Creek Falls are picturesque, and also have an interesting story. Water first flows out of a few small mountainside caves, cascading downhill until dropping 50-feet as a waterfall. Splashing into the plunge pool, below, water then disappears underground into a “sink” (or bowl), that flows approx. 250-feet into a large cave. On days like yesterday, with water plentiful, an overflow of surface-runoff into the cave is present.
In connection with Virgin Falls State Natural Area, these two parks sit atop Tennessee’s largest network of underground caverns, featuring seven miles of mapped passageways. There are only five entrances, of which Lost Creek Cave is one point of entry. The opening is approx. 20-feet high, and, once inside, it quickly becomes pitch black.
- GPS coordinates of the parking area are N35 50.442, W85 21.660
- I was told there’s a 30-foot tall waterfall somewhere in the caverns
- No restrooms, gift shop or food
In 1994, the Walt Disney Corporation, so pleased with the area’s natural beauty, filmed several scenes from “The Jungle Book” at both the falls and cave entrance.
Located slightly uphill along a short trail to the right of Lost Creek Falls, there are a few smaller waterfalls to enjoy, These, however, typically run dry at times of low water during summer months. Here’s a photograph of one…
Another area to enjoy is called Rylander Cascades. It’s less than a 1/2 mile drive from the Lost Creek Falls parking area, and then approx. a 1/2 mile hike from the road into the forest. Here a photograph…
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I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post about Lost Creek Falls, and find a print of interest to purchase. Thanks for stopping by ~ enjoy the great outdoors!
By definition, waterfalls are always moving, following gravity. And, at times, falls may disappear – flowing underground, or, with seasonal changes, run dry. Furthermore, though a waterfall may be visible, getting close for a photograph often poses significant challenges.
During an early morning visit to Middle Fork Falls, my first time on site, it soon became apparent that the best views were from the other side of the river. Hiking around the upper plateau was easy, though views remained obscured by many small trees and branches. For a better perspective, I’d need to descend the steep hillside.
Here, the hazards were many. In addition to steepness, several successive days of heavy rainfall had fully saturated the topsoil. Some footholds remained secure for no more than only a few seconds before giving way to slide in mud. On such a grade, stopping oneself from a slip might not be possible until some 50-feet below, on the rocks at waters edge.
The ground was covered with rocks of varying sizes, each hidden under wet leaves, an issue which could not be overlooked. Small rocks wouldn’t support my weight, and large rocks – more flat than round – mirrored the angle of the slope, usually encased with a slippery, mossy-film and hazardous. So, I sought to use medium sized rocks as footholds, as these could be pushed into the ground some distance, binding long enough to provide safe footing.
There were also some smaller, 1″-wide young trees, useful for stepping topside, though not trustworthy as handholds. Most useful were my trekking poles, without which I could not have proceeded.
Next, I traveled to nearby Potter’s Falls, where, as I began to drive down into the gorge, was greeted by a substantial roar of water through the forest, and would soon face another sort of challenge.
Potter’s Falls has an upper and lower set of falls, and the river – Crooked Fork Creek – has a bridge to cross. While taking photographs on the south side of the waterway, I observed a 25-foot tall waterfall some distance away, tucked among the trees along a hillside, though deemed the terrain too dangerous to traverse. So, I set off across the bridge to the north side for a better look.
Crooked Fork Creek was full from recent rains, flowing high on the banks with fierce currents. If in the primary channel, one would surely be washed away downstream, thrashed into rocks and drowned. So, I thoughtfully set my sights on the safest options nearest to what may be defined as the edge, or shore.
I could see the waterfall across the river, though many trees impaired my direct line of sight. And, there were dozens of rocks in the water (some quite large), several of which appeared close enough that I might be able to use safely as stepping stones – climbing toward a single point I’d identified as best from which to photograph the falls.
Note: this particular waterfall has no name, present only temporarily and solely as a result of the deluge from recent rainfall, a channel from which to drain downhill into the river.
Part of this challenge was to ascertain the most viable route via closely-situated rocks and trees, most of which whose trunks were underwater. So, standing back I used my eyes to follow a variety of potential pathways, those which seemed plausible, until I decided upon the best way forward.
On slippery surfaces, it’s important to keep ones knees bent with each step, the movement of which need be slow and deliberate; indeed, one step at a time. Branches should supplement stability as handholds, if only for balance, and trekking poles are also very useful to test rocks and logs for movement before entrusting ones full weight.
After approximately 20 minutes of slow progress from shore, I had only one gap to bridge – a final area judged too broad and slippery to step across. So, using my trekking poles to tamp unseen surfaces beneath the rolling, muddy river, I carefully walked a short distance through knee deep water, shoreside of the rocks and away from the channel, cautious with each step so as not to wrench my ankles between rocks.
Climbing back out of the water and on to the furthest and final rock of my route, I learned then that the view for taking photographs was only decent, at best. Nevertheless, I’d safely navigated the first half of this challenge, which I considered a successful endeavor and worthy of sharing, herein.
Thanks for reading & enjoy the great outdoors – safely!
Beauty in the Forest
Located near Wartburg, Tennessee, along Clear Creek at the Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park, the scenic upper Jack Rock Falls stands 25-feet tall. If you’d be interested in a print for your home, office, or to give as a gift to family and/or friends, you can visit my gallery to discover a variety of print options. And, visit my shop at Redbubble for other great items!
After traveling thousands of miles around the world, it appeared that the final 50 miles would be the most difficult. For her love, however, no distance was too great and worth every bead of sweat…
You don’t have to travel that far, though, to enjoy great products featuring my design. Simply visit the following shops to discover cool merchandise: Redbubble, Pixels, Artflakes. Perfect for the holidays!!!
Located on the Cumberland Plateau adjacent to Grandview, Tennessee, Lower Piney Falls is a scenic waterfall standing 40-feet tall. It’s a relatively short hike on well-maintained trails, and dogs (leashed) are welcomed. Parking is limited. No restrooms.
Midway along the trail is a clearing with two signs. Here, continue straight to visit Lower Piney Falls, as turning right leads to Upper Piney Falls. Hikers will discover that the trail ends at the top of the falls. The leading edge of the waterfall can be seen in the second photograph:
This can be discouraging, as one would hope to see the full height of the falls. But, after several visits and some persistence, I did discover a safe route into the gorge to enjoy this view:
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How to Enter the Gorge
From the top of the falls, walk upstream 100-150 feet and wade across Little Piney Creek where you see some rock ledges on the other side. Climb up the hillside to a safe distance, turning left to parallel the creek. Stay on a level path beyond the waterfall for a fair distance, until you’ve passed the tall cliffs of the gorge. There’s a relatively easy route down and then back along the rock wall, leading you to a rocky hill covered in ferns, at the base of the falls.
I shot this photograph in the summer of 2019, while hiking Chimney Tops in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
This image captures remnants of a burned tree from the fire of 2016, shown here after being cut down by park forestry personnel.
If you’d be interested in a print, then please visit my gallery to find a suitable option:
Thanks for stopping by!
The Cherokee Indians called it Duniskwalguni, meaning ‘forked antlers’. I might use the same term, if I could pronounce it?! Whatever the case, it’s really a two mile hike up a mountain with a steeper than typical incline; a.k.a., a calves-burner. But, now that you’re at the top, why not enjoy the view on a print or other product available through my shops? You can see more, here:
It’s morning in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. For this small black bear cub, that means it’s time to climb a tall pine tree! Gotta practice, right? This was one of three cubs sharing this tree and having fun, as mother bear guards the area below. Photographed along the Foothills Parkway near Wears Valley. Prints available.