Hike to Northrup Falls
Tennessee › Northrup Falls Parking Area
Added by Nathan Szwarc
This is an easy trail in Colditz Cove State Natural Area that passes towering rock walls and leads to a seventy foot waterfall that is surrounded by protruding rocks and plunges into a turquoise pool.
Truly a hidden gem, this trail seems to get little to no attention, yet is absolutely amazing. To get to the trail from I-40 near Crossville, Tennessee, take Highway 127 north toward Jamestown. Before getting to Jamestown, turn right on State Route 296 east, toward the town of Allardt. In Allardt, take State Route 52 east. Just outside of town, but still within a residential area, turn right on Northrup Falls Road (County Road 1636). The trail head will be on your right just over a mile down the Northrup Falls road.
The trail begins on the left side of the parking lot adjacent to the sign with information about the trail. You will begin with a short descent while the trail winds almost back to the parking lot, but don't worry, you are on the right trail. It then begins to head away from the parking lot and crosses a small wooden bridge that can be slick in the winter months. In about .3 miles of light descent, you will enter an oak-hickory forest that is really neat; the trail can get a bit questionable here, but the white square trail markers on the trees make it easy to follow. Once you step out of the oak-hickory forest, you will be able to see the waterfall through the trees. Be careful, because there is a cliff right there and if you look down it, you will be able to see the trail below. Here is where the trail splits...if you go left or right, it will take you to the bottom of the waterfall. Going left will take you away the from the waterfall close to .3 miles or so; however, it will probably feel longer because it doesn't seem sensible that the trail would be leading you away from the waterfall. However, the trail will then drop to your left (make sure to look for the white square trail marker signs at this point) and take you up against some amazing rock walls with various caverns, dark green moss, and a multitude of miniature waterfalls. You will go along this portion for another .3 miles until you come to the waterfall and the largest rock overhang on the trail. Continuing straight will take you to the base of the waterfalls and right in front of the light turquoise colored pool.
To your right is a massive cliff overhang with large rocks strewn everywhere. If you can do some very easy boulder hopping, you will reach the trail again, which is just on the other side of the rocks. The trail continues all the way right behind the falls, where you are more than welcome to step right into them. Be careful, it is extremely slick there. Behind the waterfall and back near the rock pile are some perfect places for pictures that provide a unique perspective of the waterfall with the cliff overhang.
To go back, you can either back track or continue on the trail behind the waterfalls, which will also bring you back. Continuing on the trail behind the waterfall will take you down the stream a short distance maybe .3 miles, then you will ascend back up towards the top of the waterfall. Once ascended to the top of the waterfall, the trail loops around to the back of the waterfall and you can actually walk out onto it and right on the ledge. This is pretty dangerous, so I would recommend not doing that. From there, the trail goes about another .1 miles with a bit more ascending to the trail split at the beginning.
If you are coming out the right side of the trail split take a left on the trail segment that will take you to your car. If you are coming out the left side of the trail split you will take a right to join the segment that will take you back to your car. From here on just follow the trail you came down on and you will be back in no time. For anyone interested in photography the rock walls on the left side of the trail split make for some neat lighting opportunities and the contrast between the orangey-yellow, rock stands out with the green moss. Luckily this waterfall also gives off little spray, even during good water flow, unless you are directly in front of it - then it can be a bit of a pain. As always, make sure you leave the trail better than you found it.
- Day pack
- Rain Jacket (If you want to get up close to the waterfalls itself)
- Appropriate Shoes
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