The Unicoi Crest above Tellico Plains


Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 373




Laurel - Snow Pocket Wilderness Dayhike
Saturday, June 14, 2008

Laurel Falls

Bluffs along the Laurel-Snow TrailBrief Description:   An 8 mile hike up Laurel Creek and Snow Creek onto Waldens Ridge on the Cumberland Plateau to a beautiful waterfall then back out. This is one of the pocket wildernesses on the plateau and was the first trail in Tennessee to be designated a National Scenic Trail.

Length 8.0 miles

Difficulty Rating: Moderate

Elevation Gain: 1000 feet

Hike LeaderJames Anderson, 423-715-8824, contact him before 8PM on the Friday before the hike.

        Trail Map

Trailhead Access MapYes, the trail goes this way!

Other Useful Links:

Directions to the Trailhead  The start time for meeting in Cleveland at 9:30AM is a little later than usual.  If enough people are interested we can stop in Dayton for an early dinner after the hike.  Also, if it is more convenient we can arrange other meeting places besides Cleveland.

Laurel-Snow is located north of Dayton and is accessible via Highway 27/29. From the north turn right, and from the south turn left, onto Walnut Grove Road north of Dayton (new Eckerd Drug on corner). Proceed 3/4 of a mile to Back Valley Road (pass La-Z-Boy factory) and turn left. On Back Valley Road, proceed 0.7 miles to an unmarked gravel road/Richland Creek Road (small white church on the left) and turn The perfect swimming hole for a dogright. Proceed about 1 mile to the parking area at the end of Richland Creek Road.

Trail Description: The hike will be approximately 8 miles and is considered at least moderate since it involves a thousand feet or so in elevation change.  We will hike along Richland Creek, a beautiful creek in the Laurel-View from the escarpment at the topSnow Pocket Wilderness near Dayton TN.  It is one of the prettiest places I've seen in awhile.  We will hike at a moderate pace so anyone who can do the distance and elevation change should be fine.  We will see an old coal mine, part of an old reservoir that once served Dayton, and lots of interesting rocks and cliffs.  A highlight will be a stop at Buzzard's Point where, weathering permitting, we will have a nice view of Dayton and the upper part of Lake Chickamauga.  The endpoint will be a visit to Laurel Falls, which are beautiful falls coming off the Cumberland Plateau.

Post Trip Report:

With the possibility of showers in the forecast four hikers set out on the Laurel-Snow Pocket Wilderness hike near Dayton.  The day was a bit warm and muggy but as we neared the top of the gorge on our way to Buzzard's Point we did pick up a bit of a breeze.  Buzzard's Point is aptly named as there were several buzzards circling round above as we ate our lunch and enjoyed the views of Dayton and the Tennessee River to the east.  One of our feathered friends landed and even perched for awhile on a nearby rock out-cropping.  To reach the final destination of Laurel Falls we had to hike back down into the gorge then most of the way up the other side.  We saw some interesting rock formations and potential swimming holes along the way.  Also on the hike we explored the entrance to an old coal mine and saw the pipe that used to supply Dayton with water from a small reservoir.  We rested and enjoyed looking at and listening to the falls from the cool of a nearby shade.  On our way back to the trail head we stopped to watch some locals diving in one of the many pools that we passed by.  After the hike we enjoyed a nice dinner at the Heartland Grill.  Those participating in the hike were Evette, Sheila, Randy and James, hike leader.

I would also like to pause for a moment to say that we are going to miss Linda.  She was an avid supporter of the club and loved the outdoors.  I know we all enjoyed hiking with her and enjoyed her company. 

~submitted by James Anderson


Laurel Falls from across the valley

Bridge over Richland Creek on the Snow Trail

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