Friday, April 10, 2015

Visit Walls of Jericho in the Spring

The Walls of Jericho, or The Grand Canyon of the South as some call it, truly is one of the most breath taking things you will ever come across in Jackson County. 

Spring is a wonderful time of year to make the 7 mile hike for several reasons, but the most important are that the abundance of rain makes the waterfalls very heavy and the mild temperatures will make the strenuous hike a little easier to cope with. 

I went over spring break and things were just lovely. 

Here are some interesting tidbits I found on
  • In Alabama: Alabama’s Forever Wild Program purchased the 12,500-acre Alabama section of the property from The Nature Conservancy. It is now known as the Skyline Wildlife Management Area and is open for public access. The protected area encompasses the headwaters of the globally significant Paint Rock River.

  • In Tennessee: In 2006, The Nature Conservancy also transferred the 8,900-acre Tennessee tract to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to be the Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area. The State Natural Areas Program of the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation co-manages 750 acres of the Walls of Jericho and its surrounding creek basin within the Bear Hollow Wildlife Management Area. The Walls of Jericho site is designated as a Tennessee State Natural Area. The entire 8,900-acre area is open for public access.

  • The Walls of Jericho area was originally owned by the Texas oil magnate Harry Lee Carter, who acquired 60,000 acres in Franklin County, Tenn., and Jackson County, Ala., in the 1940s.For years, up until 1977 when the Walls of Jericho were closed to the public, the Tennessee property had been open to the public for recreational use and managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Now this special place is once again open to the public.The Carter Lands region lies in the heart of the Southern Cumberlands and totals 60,000 acres.

Anyone in good health should take advantage of this local treasure, but it definitely is not for the faint of heart. The hike down is hard on your knees and the hike out his hard on everything! 

Here are a few pointers if you decide to take the trip:

1. Give your self PLENTY OF DAY LIGHT. This is a long and strenuous hike, especially if you have never been before. The trail is marked with red paint, but it is easy to get lost if you are a beginning hiker. It is best to start early in the day, to ensure that you have plenty of time to find your way back out. There is NO cell service, so you should not depend on having the ability to call for help. 

2. Bring a backpack:
- You will need PLENTY of water. One regular sized bottle will probably not be enough. 
- Food. It's a long hike. Bring lunch and enjoy it while you rest at the walls. 
- First aid kit. You are very liable to get blisters, so pack some band-aids. 
- Flip flops, or sandals. There is a lot of water to wade in once you get to the walls, and it can be difficult to see the entire thing if you don't get your feet wet. It's bad for your feet to walk in wet socks, so just take off your shoes and enjoy the cool water. 
- extra socks... just in case. 
- a towel, to dry your feet. 
-toilet paper...because sometimes you gotta go ( there is a portapotty in the parking lot... but the rest is just the good ol outdoors. )
-A Camera ( because it's pretty)
- Maybe I have watched too many episodes of Survivorman, but I always like to have a space blanket, a knife and some matches just in case. 

3. Don't mess with the snakes. Yes, you may see a snake or two. Chances are if you don't bother them, they won't bother you. 

4. Don't Litter. 

5. Be careful when you wade through the water...the rocks are VERY slippery.

6. But the main thing is...give yourself plenty of time. The trip will probably take at least four hours (probably more), if you plan on lingering at the waterfalls.

Here are some photos from a few weeks ago... enjoy!

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