Saturday, April 25, 2015

Big South Fork and Obed Trails Highlighted in the Mountain Laurel Walks Celebration

Six of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and the Obed Wild and Scenic River trails are showcased in this year's Mountain Laurel Walks Celebration. These trails generally have excellent views of the beautiful, native mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) shrub that is usually in bloom in later May and early June as well as many wildflowers and are excellent hikes for bird watching.

• Angel Falls Trail at Leatherwood Ford (2 miles, easy effort) is a relatively flat hike which offers visitors a view of the old Leatherwood Ford crossing, Big South Fork River, scenic geology and finishes with Angel Falls. There are two small bridges.

• Burnt Mill Loop (4.4 miles, moderate effort) gives hikers the opportunity to view both the plateau and the gorge. It offers the longest section of trail on the Clear Fork River; the trail also offers a picnic area and restrooms at the trailhead. There is one set of steps and one ladder.

• Gentlemen's Swimming Hole Loop (2.1 miles, moderate effort) showcases the confluence of Clear Fork River and North White Oak Creek.Visitors can also stop in to Historic Rugby to gain insight to the area's past.

• Honey Creek Loop (5.2 miles, difficult effort) is the most challenging trail in Big South Fork. With multiple stream crossings and over 500 feet change in elevation, five waterfalls make the hike a must for any visitor.

• Point Trail (3.8 miles, moderate effort) is the longest trail within Obed Wild and Scenic River. Hikers will enjoy bubbling streams, Obed Arch, and finish with a breathtaking view of the gorge from the overlook. There is one bridge with stairs.

• Twin Arches Upper Loop (2 miles, easy effort) showcases the beauty of the Big South Fork. The loop offers a spectacular view of the gorge and the largest arch east of the Mississippi. There are four sets of stairs (two are quite steep).

The Mountain Laurel Walks is an annual celebration of late spring in the Upper Cumberland Plateau and is organized by the Morgan County Tourism Alliance. For more information on these trails and other recreational opportunities in the Big South Fork and the Obed Wild and Scenic River, please call (423) 286-7275 or (423) 346-6294.

Grand Teton Hikes

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