Cable Trail

Location: Fall Creek Falls State Park, south of Spencer, Tennessee 
Access: From Spencer, TN, head south on Hwy 111 8 miles, then turn east on Hwy 284 (follow the brown signs to Fall Creek Falls), and proceed 1 mile to Old Tennessee 111. Jog north ~300 yards and continue east on Hwy 284 10.8 miles to the Nature Center, which is well-signed on the left side of the road at a sharp curve in the road.  Head down the Paw Paw Trail for ~500 past the bridge on Rock House Creek, and watch for the Cable Trail sign on the left.
Maps: USGS Sampson quad; Trail maps available at the Friends of Fall Creek Falls website 
Trailhead: UTM NAD83 zone 16 649377e 3947722n 
Trail: A short and thrilling 400-ft side-trip down a very steep rock face to Cane Creek at the base of Cane Creek Falls. 
Fees: None 
Dogs: Allowed on leash 
Weather: National Weather Service Forecast


April 17, 2011
This short, thrilling drop down a steep cliff face is a fun trail that spurs off the Paw Paw Trail not far from the Nature Center, just past the Rock House Creek crossing. It is clearly signed. As the name suggests, a thick steel cable some 300 ft long, anchored above and below, provides a handrail of sorts for the steep descent down the rock face. It is perfectly possible to descend and ascend without touching the cable at all, and in fact in most spots it is easiest to do so, but it is indeed reasurring that there is something to grab onto if a foot slips!

Cane Creek Falls, TN
Initial descent on the cable trail.

While Andra and Ada waited above, since a kid carrier is not really compatible with this trail, I scurried down the rocks during what turned out to be our last day at Fall Creek Falls SP before moving away from Tennessee. Will I ever be back? You never know. At the time, I had a hope Id be taking a job in Wyoming, but I hadnt heard anything about it yet, so I went about my hiking with the carefree presumption that Id be able to come see this great park again, any day of the week. 

Cane Creek Falls, TN
The downclimb leads to the best view of Cane Creek Falls, a torrid chute of water about 50 feet wide that drops about 60 feet over a limestone cliff, with a second narrow falls further down canyon that drops even farther. I enjoyed the roar of the water, snapped a few photos of the grandeur to remind me of this trip years down the line, and then scaled back up, challenging myself to small degree by refraining from using the cable to assist my way up. 
Cane Creek Falls, TN
Cane Creek Falls, TN
Cane Creek Falls, TN
Cane Creek Falls, TN
Cane Creek Falls, TN

 


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Page created 11-5-11
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