Thursday, May 9, 2013

Frozen Head State Park, TN

I am so enjoying my leisurely journey through Eastern much to see and do in this one small area. I was the only camper here when I arrived at Frozen Head State Park. A few tent campers have come and gone for a night or two since then.
I had to cross two very narrow bridges with my car in tow to get to the campground. I pulled in my driver-side mirror to cross this one.
Water, water everywhere. The sound of roaring water greets you anytime you are outside.
The many creeks flowing down from the mountains are swollen after recent heavy rains.
Many trails awaited us here, with spring green just aborning.
Some (most) of them are pretty wet, but we hiked anyway.
Most of the trails are uphill from the campground, but if you get tired of that the Flat Fork Trail is as its name implies, a relatively flat trail along Flat Fork Creek.
Thistle found a snake along this trail. It turned out to be a harmless Banded Water Snake, but I'm glad he pointed it out. There are poisonous snakes that live here too.
Water is taking any path it can find out of the mountains, creating mini waterfalls as it flows into the creeks below.
Cascading over rocks,
Or falling like rain off the cliffs.
One trail we took follows a creek to two waterfalls. I figured the waterfalls would be pretty with all the water right now. This is a view of some of the boulders and rock formations along the trail.
Thistle looks at the muddy place we must cross where water runs across the trail.
This is a great time of year to see wildflowers in the woods.
A Class I Natural Area, according to the National Park Website, is a wilderness area  over 5000 acres that has the highest level of air quality protection under the law. (The Clean-Air Act of 1977) You can get a list of such places from the website. So we're breathing really fresh air up here.
This is the first waterfall....Debord Falls.
Many thanks to my Women RV forum friend Mitch for reminding me about tick protection. So here I am with my pantlegs tucked into my socks, my hat and clothing sprayed with Deet, and my hiking stick to beat them off if they still attack!
The creek creates many little waterfalls as it makes its way around and over boulders.
Everything looks like a snake on the trail today.
That's not the creek....that's the trail with water flowing down it.
We have arrived at the end of the trail and Emory Gap Falls.
It looks spectacular except for the trees down blocking our view. I considered climbing up over the tree to get closer for a better picture. I could see a place where others had done that. But reason won out as I looked at the slippery rocks...I want to be able to hike more trails.
So I settled for a peek between the downed trees.
And enjoyed the wildflowers on the way back.

The area was first developed by the CCC in the 1930s. The foundations of some of their buildings can be seen along one of the trails, and a there is a cabin on another that I have not hiked yet. The prison they mention is still pass it on the way to the park. Prisoners were once used to work in the coal mines in the surrounding mountains.
Frozen Head is the name of one of the mountains....the highest in TN west of the Smokies at 3,324 ft. elevation. In winter the top is covered with snow and ice...thus its name. (Sometimes the name of a place is what draws me...) There is a trail to a Look-out tower on the top of Frozen Head, but I haven't talked myself into hiking that 8-mile trail yet.


  1. usual a great post! I got all excited when I saw your site thinking that would be a great place to spend a couple of days, and then I saw the bridge...doubt if Hope would fit on there. To bad!! It's beautiful there and I love the hiking trails.

  2. Great looking place but a little sunshine would have been nice. Frozen Head....hmmmm.

  3. Simply lovely. I must've visited Frozen Head close to 40 times back in my TN days, and I NEVER saw a snake like that. Somewhat jealous ;)