Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gee Creek Trail

The Gee Creek Trail is located just outside Delano, Tennessee and leads up into the Gee Creek Wilderness. I've had my eye on it for a year or so for a cold weather hike. I arranged to meet with my friend Lois Newton at my house in Ringgold, Georgia before we headed up to the mountains, about a 1 hour drive, to see what it was like. The trail starts off as fire road with a coating of fist sized rocks and inclines steadily for 1/4 mile or so before it moves in on the creek. Gee Creek is a very nice mountain stream, gravelly in the lower stretches where it drops onto the flood plain of the Hiwassee River, steep and filled with boulders as the trail climbs into the ravine.

The more gravelly stretch of Gee Creek where it flows out of the mountains, shortly before it reaches the Hiwassee River.
The steep part with small drops and miniature waterfalls starts after the trail crosses over a nice footbridge and the trail quickly becomes narrow.

A very nice bridge over Gee Creek allows the trail to cross to the left bank.

A small falls in Gee Creek.

A typical set of cascades on the upper reaches of Gee Creek. There are many such but I couldn't get a good camera angle on most of them due to trees and steep terrain.

A view of the outlet of a concrete flume that looks like it was built a long time ago. Some internet sources indicate it was used for quartz mining.

Lois making her way over a really sketchy section of trail, with about an 8 or 10 foot drop onto bedrock if you slip.

Inlet to the very old looking concrete flume. This is also a view downstream of the sketchy section of trail.

A view downstream of some falls.

Amazing inclined rock strata on river right. As is often the case, the camera failed to catch the dramatic quality of the landscape.

Gee Creek Falls
The trail crosses the creek just below Gee Creek Falls, the culmination of our trip. It's a beautiful waterfall that emerges from a bedrock slot. Curiosity beckoned but the stream crossing looked a little tricky due to the water flowing over the slick rock. Lois and I agreed that it looked a little unsafe and potentially cold and wet so decided to turn back. I wouldn't mind going back to explore the remainder of the trail sometime when the flow is lower.