Northrop Falls, Colditz Cove, Tennessee
by Lynne Davis
Northrop Falls is in the small state natural area called Colditz Cove, between Rugby and Jamestown in the Upper Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee. The hike to the falls and back is less than two miles. You walk through a beautiful forest to the edge of a gorge, then follow the edge to a bridge over the stream that creates the falls. The trail follows the other side of the gorge, then descends to work its way below the cliffs. It can be quite wet here from dripping rock. Continue on the trail to walk behind the falls in an alcove, then rock-scramble along under the cliffs on the opposite side. The trail eventually curls back up to the forest level and returns to the parking lot.
My husband and I were here on a day in July when thunderstorms were predicted. We had just gotten to the first undercliff section when a storm started. We found an alcove out of the rain and waited it out. Lightning was crashing all around us and rain fell in buckets. We were where we could see the falls, and were able to watch as the trickling stream became a torrent and the clear falls turned brown with mud. When the rain eased off, we ventured on, passing behind the now-impressive sheet of water. At another place along the gorge edge, a stream that had been dry when we walked in was creating a smaller falls of its own, not so easy to pass behind.
This is a spot well worth visiting if you are going to Rugby or Big South Fork.
P.S. I have pictures if you are interested. Also, i’m sorry you didn’t get to see some of the Southeastern waterfalls at their best on your trip. October is the driest month of the year here!
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