2018/04/09

Chimneys State Natural Area


Chimneys SNA map, Marion County, Tennessee
In Marion County, Tennessee, there is a little known State Natural Area named Chimneys. The Chimneys are a series of natural arches and rock pillars formed from the middle unit of the Warren Point sandstone. A meander of Pocket Creek had weathered the ridge down to a knife's edge. The pillar stands approximately 80' above the surrounding landscape, as a detached island of cliff line.

Within the wall of rock, which varies from approximately 25 - 10 feet in thickness, one can find two natural arches. A third arch was likely present until only recently in geological history, but it has since failed leaving only an overhanging pillar.


The trailhead from the parking area isn't obvious. One must wander past the kiosk to the tree line and look for a steep unmarked goats trail down. At the bottom you'll see where generations of dumping left cars and other trash in this beautiful landscape. Plans are being discussed to clean this area.

Beyond the car at the bottom of Overlook Cascade, the trail is virtually non-existent. Be wary summer adventurers, as I would never attempt it during this time of year. My trip in early spring found me literally climbing over a canopy of thick rhododendrons while being attacked on all sides by saw-briers. The wounds and poison ivy on my legs are testament to my success though.

After a totally miserable trip, I get to reflect on some photographs and over time the memory of the pain fades leaving only the beautiful things. In this way outdoor adventurers often gloss over the misery of our conquests. We talk of type 2 fun. This trail was absolutely type 2 fun. I am leaving this blog post as a reminder to future Chuck to plan appropriately before attempting this again.

Here are those photos which don't convey the pain and the myriads of cuss words it took to achieve our objective that day.


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