Fall Scouting Report: Obed WSR on Cumberland Plateau

On the opposite side of the Tennessee Valley from the southern Appalachian Mountains lies the Cumberland Plateau. (Shameless plug, if you want to see more of the Plateau, go to my Cumberland Odyssey book, special Holiday price now). This area is thought to have a greater biodiversity than the Great Smoky Mountains NP, which has one of the greatest biodiversities in the world.

In keeping with giving everyone up to date fall color reports, Rebecca and I went out to the Obed WSR (Wild and Scenic River) just outside of Wartburg , TN. We stopped at the National Park Visitor Center, spoke with the ranger there and Bill ended up signing some of the Cumberland Odyssey books they have for sale in their book section. The color on the way out from Oak Ridge (30 minute drive) didn’t look as advanced as what I saw over at the Cherohala Skyway. But that impression changed as we got further up on the Plateau and reached Lilly Bluff Overlook and looked out over the gorge carved by Clear Creek. There were some oranges and lots of yellow color, but not peak. Maybe within 10-14 days, it will peak.

If you have never been, go to the overlook, which has a great boardwalk with fantastic views down the gorge. Feel like hiking a little more (the hike to the boardwalk only takes 5-10 minutes at best), then take the hike down the Bridge Trail and look for a side trail to the right to a little creek. You can’t miss it because it is off to the right just in front of a huge rock that the Bridge Trail splits around to go further down into the gorge towards the bridge over Clear Creek. Just be careful, as rocks with leaves, especially when wet, can be very slippery.

I will be headed out in the morning to explore the Smokies, so stay tuned tomorrow evening for a new report.

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