Sunday, September 10, 2017

Waterfalls at Ocoee, TN (~900')

Later that week, my friends and I drove out to a little trail not far from the shores of Ocoee Lake, a hydroelectric reservoir on the western edge of Cherokee National Forest. My friend from Chattanooga had taken me up this way before; he recommended it again as a short, gentle hike that would fall within our joint athletic ability (there's a reason I only took one of these friends up Roan Mountain).

As you can see from the sign, the Clemmer Trail's main attraction is a pair of waterfalls along Rock Creek, one of the many mountain streams that feeds the lake. The area is also frequented by mountain bikers, though we were fortunate enough to not run into any of them while traveling uphill.

The trail started off with a fairly steep ascent, but soon leveled off into a wide, flat creek valley. It continued thus for a bit under two miles:

then, as the mountain walls closed in, it switched us back and forth across the creek until we came to the first waterfall:

Small enough that my Chattanoogan friend once climbed up it.

The maintained trail ends there, but if one knows where to look:

as we did,

one can scramble up and around those falls and back down the creekbed. And from there, it's only a matter of climbing some rocks:

in particular, this beauty,

to get to the second, much larger waterfall.

The water in the swimming hole below it was too cold for my taste--such mountain creeks usually are--but my friends all went in for a dip.

I'm sure it won't surprise you that the Lars, like me, stuck to the bank.

We spent a while up there, enjoying the calm of the valley, then headed back to town.

My Northern Virginia friends went home two days later. I stuck around to discuss some things with the Chattanoogan, then drove home myself the next Monday. And that was about it for our eclipse trip.

We'll see if I have time for any more hikes this fall...

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