East Coast Beauty

This trip will lead me on a 14-day tour of eastern Alabama, western Georgia and a slice of Tennessee.

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This is a day of driving in and out of Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. Some gorgeous views and an astounding canyon. You don’t have to go to the South-West for that!

East Coast NATURE

This is a day of driving in and out of Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. Some gorgeous views and an astounding canyon. You don’t have to go to the South-West for that!

Prentice Cooper State Forest

I spent a quiet night just inside the Prentice Cooper State Forest; not a particularly nice or beautiful spot to boondock, but conveniently close to my first spot of the day.

A six mile distance through the forest on a good gravel road, leads me to the trailhead of a one mile hike to Snooper’s Rock, a rocky outcrop with the best views of Tennessee (they say).

At this time of the day (~7AM), the forest is still quiet and most people are just getting ready for work. That leaves me and Joey alone on this otherwise very popular trail.

After a short while, the forest slowly opens up onto a rocky outcrop, with the early morning sun hard at work to burn off the fog hat is way down, at the bottom of the river gorge. This is the time to sit down, be speechless and enjoy the views.

This is one of these places, where one can come back and again, and never get disappointed. Try to be there before sunrise.

Russell Cave National Monument

Not far away, but back in Alabama, I visit Russell Cave National Monument. Well-known for it’s cave, which is the third-longest in Alabama with over 7 miles of passages.

The cave and the area around it, has a long history of American Indian habitation, that goes back as much as 10,000 years.

Unfortunately, except for the entrance, the cave is closed to the public, but there is a small visitor center that depicts the history of the area.

And on the way to the cave, a side trail offers a narrow, yet well-kept path to either hike another 30 or 60 minutes through the forest above the cave.

Stevenson Railroad Depot Museum

This railroad station and depot was first built in 1863 and rebuilt in 1872 and houses local area history and railroad artifacts.

It is one of these places, where time stood still. When you enter the building, you take a step back in time; the three rooms are seemingly authentic and hold a collection of Indian artifacts, railroad memorabilia and more local area artifacts.

While the future for this place seems dim and the small collection far from unique, the friendly host, the atmosphere and dated building are reasons enough for a short visit, when passing by on the nearby Interstate 59 to Chattanooga.

Cloudland Canyon State Park

It is a short drive back into Georgia, where the Cloudland Canyon State Park is beckoning me to explore an impressive canyon, that I usually expect to find far away in the West.

This highly visited park has multiple hiking trails that go all the way down into and around the canyon. My choice for the day was the Cherokee Falls trail, which consists of countless stairways down into the canyon to a dry waterfall (it is summer, when I visited) with a large natural pool below, which makes it a fun destination during the hottest time of the year. Bring your bathing suit.

My canine companion Joey, had initially some issues with metal grid steps of the stairways, but after some adjusting, he made it all the way down (and back), and was rewarded with a cool dip in the water.

I’ll be back here during spring to find some other falls and to hike both rim trails. It should also be a great place to visit during the foliage color changes in October and November.

Alabama Welcome Center

Welcome centers and interstate highway rest areas are my least favorite places to boondock, but sometimes a welcome place to find shelter and a place to stay overnight.

My plan to visit some historic bridges at the end of the day, was rudely interrupted by some summer afternoon downpours and I was lucky to be only a few miles away of this welcome center. I found a nice spot to park, but when the rain finally dissipated, there was little time left in the day and I decided to stay overnight.

The computer was setup, I watched live TV, while moving the day’s video clips from my camera’s to a backup harddrive and prepared to go to bed.

Perhaps I was tired, but I had a great night’s sleep!


  • Prentice Cooper SF Boondocking ➜ 35.1641,-85.4168
  • Snooper’s Rock ➜ 35.1017,-85.4291
  • Russell Cave NM ➜ 34.9793,-85.8101
  • Stevenson RR Depot ➜ 34.8676,-85.8398
  • Cloudland Canyon SP ➜ 34.8344,-85.4802
  • Alabama Welcome Center Boondocking ➜ 34.7079,-85.5603

Trail Download – Gpx

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