Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Fall Creek Falls Camping Trip in TN

The weekend before Halloween we took a trip across Tennessee, catching glimpses of tailgating Alabama and Tennessee Volunteer fans getting ready for the football game as we headed towards the breathtaking beauty of Fall Creek Falls State Park, near Knoxville, TN to do a little hiking and camping.


The Cumberland Plateau sits on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, and in late October the mountains are aflame with color! The river streams were down to smaller trickles due to lack of rain, but standing among the colorful trees with leaves strewn across the ground really heightened the experiences! We walked along the riverbeds, admired the Cascades, and stood on the very edge of the 85 ft. Cane Creek Falls and took in the beautiful colors of the gorge and large boulders of mountains topped with colorful trees.

To fully enjoy one of America's highest waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains, we took our picnic backpack on our hike down to the base of the 254 ft. waterfall where we enjoyed a light picnic. Light picnic meaning sandwiches, apple slices and bottles of water! Not as romantic as I'd have liked my first waterfall picnic to be, but with tourists and hikers constantly wanting to take pictures where we'd set up our picnic, it would have been rude to hog the best spot!

The hike to the bottom of Fall Creek Falls is quite unlike any trail I've ever been on, and so gorgeous!

With steep steps, large boulders to climb over, a small cave and a huge mountain cliff above you, the walk down can be completed in 20 minutes, although gawking and picture-taking can add another 20 minutes! Walking back up tends to break a small sweat, but the view makes everything worth it!

Luckily we were able to secure one of the few remaining camping sites, since you pretty much just show up and hope they have spots because they don't take reservations. Pitching the tent and setting up was easy, and we were soon relaxing by the perfect moonlit fire, having fun and enjoying the atmosphere of the campsite. The next day we reluctantly made our way out of the Cumberland Plateau. However; we weren't done yet!

A few country back roads and 30 minutes later we were at Burgess State Falls.

Burgess Falls will take your breath away. The entire river provides smaller waterfalls and multiple cascades around every bend until you reach the steep drop of rushing water. It's less than a mile to the huge waterfall, with two trails (one semi-paved and the other a more challenging hike) which makes it easier for people of all ages to check out the beautiful fury of Mother Nature.

We explored the top of the falls, again standing right on the edge next to the enclosed staircase down to the base of the falls, which look exactly like the Pterodactyl cages in the movie, Jurassic Park 2! I attempted to catch a blue crawfish (crayfish, crawdad, mud-bug, poor man's lobster, etc.) while my boyfriend sat next to a cascading four foot waterfall and made sure I didn't fall in. All along the riverbank you can pick up needle-size black cone shells and tiny river clam shells while watching the leaves swirl and dance in both the air, and river currents!

We collected leaves of every shape and color on our hike and by the time we'd left I could identify every type of tree leaf we'd collected, thanks to my Forester.

Now, all of those leaves I saved during this changing of the seasons is on the way to my Momma, down in Florida. She'll love seeing a sample of colorful fall weather in the mountains. Nestled amongst the palm trees is a hard place to be if you miss the changing of the seasons.

Look for our video on YouTube, coming soon! Until next time, enjoy more pictures!


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