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SAVAGE GULF - Waterfalls, Overlooks, Rock Formations, Swimming Holes and More
|Event Location:||Altamont, TN|
|Date(s) & Time:||Sun, Jul 22 2012 10:30 am >> Thu, Jul 12 2012 5:30 pm (Carpool Departure: 7:30 am *log in for location*)|
|Registration Opens:||Thu, Jul 12 2012 11:41 pm|
|Registration Cut Off:||Fri, Jul 20 2012 10:10 am|
|Event Duration:||~13.5 hours including drive time and dinner|
|Difficulty Rating:||D5: Difficult (Exploratory)|
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|Who's Invited:||Members Only, 21 And Older Only|
|Maximum Group Size:||12|
|Minimum Group Size:||4|
|Number Registered So Far:||16 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)|
|Are Dogs Permitted:||No|
Note: This is an "EXPLORATORY" trip. This means that there are parts of this trip, or perhaps the whole trip, that is new to your Trip Leader(s). However, they are confident that this will not be an issue.
This note is here so that you can make an informed decision. When a Trip Leader isn't personally familiar with a trip, there is an increased chance of things not going as planned and you need to be prepared. The Trip Leader may have additional details in the itinerary.
Please read this entire description, the notes at the bottom of the itinerary, the Required to Bring, Recommended to Bring, and Additional Notes sections… there is important information in these.
Savage Gulf is 15,590-acre natural area carved like a giant crowfoot into the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau; it is one of Tennessee's most scenic wilderness areas. Its sheer sandstone cliffs and rugged canyons provide extraordinary views. A significant feature is Stone Door, a 10 ft. wide by 100 ft. deep crack, forming from the top of the escarpment into the gorge below. It looks like a giant door left ajar and was once used by Indians as a passageway. The spectacular cliffs offer one of the best scenic overlooks in Tennessee. Breathtaking waterfalls form at the head of many gorges, where streams drop off over hard sandstone cap rock. Greeter Falls drops over a 15-foot upper ledge and then plummets over a 50-foot lower ledge into a cold, clear plunge pool. Big Creek, Collins River and Savage Creeks each tumble down over 5 miles, dropping over 800 feet through narrow gorges, forming the "Gulfs." Observed from a 750 overlook, Big Creek mysteriously disappears below. Many other big streams go underground cutting through shale and limestone to form dry creek beds.
While much of the gorge is second growth forest, there is one large section of old growth mixed mesophytic forest in the gorge. The gorge forests abound with oaks, hickories, maples, yellow poplars, hemlocks, pines and many other tree species. Beneath the forest canopy is a vast array of shrubs, vines, wildflowers, mosses and ferns which rival the flora of the Great Smoky Mountains in number and variety. Animal life is abundant at Savage Gulf. Many species of birds, reptiles, and amphibians are found in the diverse habitats of the area. Squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks, and skunks can be seen. The skilled woodlorist can expect to find deer, bobcats, fox, grouse, and to hear the cry of the hawk and owl. The natural area is a part of the South Cumberland State Park. Savage Gulf is also on the Registry of National Natural Landmarks.
Although there are over 53 miles of hiking trails in the Savage Gulf, we will not be able to explore them all. However, I have planned a route which will take us to many of the great sites.
The hike will begin from the Greeter Falls Parking Area at the west end of the park. We will follow the Greeter Falls Loop Trail for roughly 0.8 miles passing the top of the falls, winding down a spiral staircase to the bottom of the falls, and then back up to the Greeter Trail. On the Greeter Falls Loop Trail, we will “scout” for the swimming hole that we want to use near the end of the hike. We will then take the Greeter Trail across a suspension bridge until we arrive at the Big Creek Rim Trail. Following the Big Creek Rim Trail for 3.2 miles we will see views from the Big Creek Overlook, Sinks Overlook, and Split Rock (Stone Door) Overlook. There are numerous stream crossing along this trail, however, these are typically dry during the summer months. After arriving at the Stone Door Overlook, we will take the 4-mile long Big Creek Gulf Trail which steeply descends through the Stone Door into the gulf. This is a rugged, rocky, challenging 4-mile trail. We will take a short side trail to several resurgent springs where the creek comes back up after a nearly 2-mile underground stretch. We will then take a 1-mile round trip side trail to Ranger Falls and the sink where Ranger Creek disappears underground. Continuing along BCG trail, we will then take the short Sinks Spur Trail to the point where Big Creek disappears under an imposing, unstable, limestone bluff. After arriving back at the Greeter Trail, we will take it back across the suspension bridge to the Greeter Falls Loop Trail stopping at our previously identified “swimming hole.” After a cool, cleansing, and refreshing, swim we will only have a short distance back to the parking lot and our vehicles.
1) Difficulty Rating: This hike will be approximately 10.5 – 11 miles long. Typically a hike of this distance and elevation gain (~1,800 ft) would probably be at the very upper end of a D4 rating. However, due to the fact that some of the trails are described as difficult, rocky, and challenging, the event is classified as a D5. You should have solid D4 hiking experience, good balance/coordination, and be comfortable on sections with extremely rocky terrain. If you do not have D4/D5 hiking experience, the TL may choose to put you on the waiting list until verification of your abilities.
2) There will be some people on this event who are on Saturday’s nearby Falls Creek Falls event and camping overnight. If you are on the Falls Creek Falls event and will be camping with us Saturday evening, please put that in the “notes” section during registration for this event. It will affect the carpool arrangements.
3) Anyone who is not on the Falls Creek Falls event, but would still like to come up Saturday afternoon/evening and camp with us prior to this event, should let the Trip Leaders know. If more than one wish to do this you may be able to coordinate a carpool with the other(s).
4) We will be stopping for dinner in Chattanooga after the event. If you don't wish to do this, you should plan to arrange your own carpool with others who wish to do the same or drive yourself.
|How to Get There:|
--From Chastain Rd take I-75 N 85 miles entering Tennessee
--Take exit 2 on the left to merge onto I-24 W toward Chattanooga/Nashville
--Travel on I-24 W for 26.8 miles to Exit 158.
--Take Exit 158 for TN-27 toward Powells Crossroads
--Turn right onto TN-27 E/Ra Griffith Hwy and travel 0.3 miles
--Turn left onto TN-2 W/US-41 N/US-64 W/US-72 W/Dixie Hwy W
--Continue to follow TN-2 W/US-41 N/US-64 W/US-72 W for 3.8 miles
--Turn right onto TN-150 N/Betsy Pack Dr
--Continue to follow TN-150 N for 16.4 miles
--In Tracy City, Continue onto Altamont St for 1.5 miles
--TurnleftontoFire Twr Rd and travel 171 ft
--Turn right onto TN-56 N and travel 14 miles
--Turn right onto Greeter Falls Road and travel 0.7 miles
to the Savage Gulf - Greeter Falls Parking Lot
For best accuracy, enter the following coordinates into your GPS: N 35 26.311' W 85 41.880'
Alternately, you can enter the approximate street address:
Altamont, TN 37301
|Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):||300Mile(s)|
|Carpool Departure Time:||7:30 am|
|Carpool Location:||Log in for location|
|Carpool Directions:||Log in for directions|
|Carpool Cost:||Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $120.00 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.|
For those people who are on the Falls Creek Falls event the day before, we will be camping at Falls Creek Falls and driving to Savage Gulf Sunday morning. It is about a 50 minute drive. Campsites are $11 per night and can accomodate up to 3 tents and 8 people.
* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.
Cancellation/Partial Attendance: Please review the AOC cancellation policy.