Gabe’s Branch Falls

Today our adventure took us to Kentucky for another unique waterfall, Gabe’s Branch Falls in Harlan County.

Before we arrived at our destination, we stopped off the side of the road and took in the beautiful view. That view was of Black Mountain, the highest point in Kentucky.

Black Mountain, Kentucky

Black Mountain, Kentucky

Although it was hazy when we stopped, it was still an incredible view.

Black Mountain, Kentucky

Black Mountain, Kentucky

We continued on this breathtaking, curvy road that had beautiful rocks and lush green trees surrounding our path.

We then arrived at Gabe’s Branch Falls, which really did not involve too much of a hike.

IMG_0175After parking we walked straight down, which led to a overlook of the top of the waterfall, which pooled into a water hole where individuals could swim.

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Before heading down to the waterfall, we followed another trail that was clearly marked. This led us to incredible rock formations with water flowing through them that continued to the waterfall.

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It was stunning to see the hollow sections of the rocks.

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IMG_0134After we were done walking on rocks across the water we decided to follow the marked trail down to the waterfall.

IMG_0169The waterfall was beautiful. It is definitely one Jason and I want to go back to once there is a good rain.

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According to information on the Harlan County website, the falls is 15 to 20 feet tall in the northern mountains of Harlan County on Gabe Branch near the Leslie County line. The water falls into an 8 to 10 foot deep swimming hole.

While Jason and I were sitting on a rock near the waterfall, he spotted a snail . . .

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There’s just something about this little creature that is fascinating.

I’m glad Jason’s cousin Christina and her family showed us a new spot today!

Another great day out in the wilderness!

Backbone Falls

After having to stay indoors yesterday because of all the rain, Jason and I hit the trails and found another beautiful waterfall in Tennessee, Backbone Falls.

On our way to the falls, we drove past South Holston Lake, where we stopped and climbed down to the water to check things out. There were some people out in their boats enjoying Labor Day, but not many because of the overcast skies.

South Holston Lake

South Holston Lake

South Holston Lake

South Holston Lake

After leaving the lake we headed on a road that Jason loves  . . .  and, well, me not so much. Today I got a little car sick because of all the twists and turns. The first time we traveled this road it was only a few days after we arrived in Tennessee and I was fine, well better off than today. The Snake has 489 curves to be exact. Thank goodness we did not drive the whole thing and left in a different direction.

The Snake

The Snake

The Snake

The Snake

I was thankful when we arrived at our destination and got out of the car . . . yeah no more curves and solid grounds.  After we parked we headed towards Backbone Rock and hiked up quite a few stairs that took us to the top of the tunnel.

Backbone Rock, a fairly short hike.

Backbone Rock, a fairly short hike.

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IMG_0033I sat on a rock next to a tree as I looked down at the road and creek below us.

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According to a sign posted near Backbone Rock, “Around 1900, the Beaver Dam Railway Company blasted and drilled the tunnel to provide railroad access from Damascus into Shady Valley’s rich manganese and iron ores and timber. Within the next 20 years, the area’s privately owned timber had been cut over twice and ravaged by a devastating fire.”

IMG_0046The railroad tracks were removed in 1924 when the route was opened to cars. The tunnel was then expanded into a two lane road in 1930.

IMG_0048Backbone Rock, as well as 20,000 surrounding acres, were purchased when Congress allowed the federal government to acquire land in 1911, which was formed as part of Tennessee’s National Forest lands.

IMG_0050Backbone Rock, known as the shortest tunnel in the world. It was a great site to see from above and alongside the road.

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We walked across the street and found another trail, a trail that led us to Backbone Falls.

IMG_0051Of course as soon as we arrived at this trail, there were more stairs that went straight up, which were kind of slippery from all of the rain yesterday.

IMG_0052A rather short hike later, which was up hill, we started to hear the sounds of the waterfall.

IMG_0054Jason stood very close to the edge of the top of the waterfall and took some pretty incredible pictures looking down.

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IMG_0058And then we walked down even more stairs . . .

IMG_0062Until we saw this . . .

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At one point Jason and I walked on the rocks located at the base of the waterfall, so we could feel just how cold the water was . . . COLD!

IMG_0078But worth it, I love walking right up to a waterfall, there is no feeling like it, no feeling at all. To feel that rush of cold air, while touching the cold rock and the water, best feeling.

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We decided to walk down the creek a little bit, where of course I found more water to take pictures of . . .

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We then walked back up the stream to where the waterfall was located and got back on the trail, which included more stairs that led us out a different way than we went in alongside the road.

IMG_0102I had to capture one more beautiful sight before we walked back to the car. More water, more incredibly calming sounds to end another fantastic hike.

IMG_0101Backbone Falls was a beautiful waterfall, one we got to witness alone, as we were the only ones on this trail.