published Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Earth Day hikes at Tennessee state parks

Take a group hike at Fall Creek Falls State Park on Saturday as part of Earth Day activities.
Take a group hike at Fall Creek Falls State Park on Saturday as part of Earth Day activities.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

Many of Tennessee's state parks will offer free, guided hikes this weekend to celebrate Earth Day, officially slated for Monday, April 22.

These are the second in a series of statewide hiking events of 2013, following First Hikes held in early January. Tennessee state parks will hold additional hiking events for National Trails Day on June 1 and National Public Lands Day on Sept. 28.

In addition to hikes, two parks are seeking volunteers to help keep the grounds pristine.

Participants should wear sturdy shoes and bring water and perhaps a snack for longer outings.

For more information, visit www.tnstateparks.com or call 888-867-2757.

SATURDAY

* Cumberland Mountain State Park (Cumberland County): Helpers needed at 9 a.m. CDT to eradicate invasive species taking over the campground. Loppers, trimmers, chainsaws and treatment chemicals provided. 931-484-6138, www.tnstateparks.com/CumberlandMtn

* Cumberland Trail State Park (Cumberland County): Head of the Sequatchie, the newest section of the trail, will be open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. CDT; meet at Head of the Sequatchie Resource Management Area for short hike to the cave (3/4-mile round trip). www.friendsofthecumberlandtrail.org/category/comingevents, 423-533-2928.

SUNDAY

* Fall Creek Falls State Park (Bledsoe County): Meet at the main overlook for Fall Creek Falls at 2 p.m. CDT for a short but moderately strenuous 0.8-mile roundtrip hike to the base of the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. 800-250-8611, 423-881-5298, www.tnstateparks.com/FallCreekFalls.

* Hiwassee and Ocoee Rivers State Park (Polk County): Meet at 10 a.m. at park office in Delano to drive 10 miles to trailhead for an easy, 3-mile hike along John Muir Trail paralleling Hiwassee River. 423-263-0050, www.tnstateparks.com/Hiwassee.

* Red Clay State Park (Bradley County): Meet at 1 p.m. at Visitors Center in Bradley County for guided interpretive tour of the historic grounds and interactive blowgun demonstration to follow. 423-478-0339, www.tnstateparks.com/RedClay.

* South Cumberland State Park (Grundy/Marion/Franklin counties):

* Hikers: Meet at 11 a.m. CDT at Foster Falls parking lot, Highway 41 between Tracy City and Jasper for moderate 2.5-mile hike to Saddle Horn Rock.

* Helpers: Meet at Sewanee Natural Bridge parking area, Highway 56 near Sewanee, at 11 a.m. CDT to help clean up Sewanee Natural Bridge. www.tnstateparks.com/SouthCumberland.

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