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nature trips

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Frozen Head State Park and Natural Area is situated in the beautiful Cumberland Mountains of eastern Tennessee in the City of Wartburg. The park's lush vegetation, small streams, waterfalls, and beautiful mountains make Frozen Head one of Tennessee's most scenic parks. This remote park is about an hour outside of Knoxville and makes for great for a weekend escape into the mountains. The 13,122 acres of relatively undisturbed forest contain some of the richest wildflowers areas in Tennessee. The mountainous terrain varies from an elevation of 1,340 feet to over 3,000 feet on 16 different mountain peaks. Frozen Head hosts more than 50 miles of backpacking and hiking trails. The park has some great waterfalls along its miles of trails, including Debord Falls and Emory Gap Falls. Frozen Head is one of the highest peaks in Tennessee west of the Great Smoky Mountains with an elevation of 3,324. From its observation deck, which replaced the old lookout tower, on a clear day, one can plainly see the Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee Ridge and Valley, and the Great Smoky Mountains. In winter, the mountain peaks are often capped with snow or ice while the lower valleys remain unadorned, thus giving the park's namesake, Frozen Head. Other peaks to note in the park are Bird Mountain, Chimney Top Mountain and Old Mac Mountain. Popular hiking trails in the park include Chimney Top Trail, which leads to Chimney Top Mountain, Lookout Tower Trail which summits Frozen Peak, and Bird Mountain Trail, which climbs Bird Mountain. The park has a variety of primitive and backcountry campsites for those looking to set up camp. Make sure to check in at the Visitor Center and secure a parking permit if you are planning to camp.

Some really nice mountain views in the winter without foliage. The overlook was anticlimatic and the views must be obtained from the tower. The kids enjoyed the hike back down as the direction was better for the scenic views. There was no dusting of snow (we read that there's almost always snow up there in winter which is why we chose this trail) so winter must have been mild this year.

nice short trail. easy walking.

Good hike, moderate incline - great for first time backpackers (Scouts). Trail was popular and well maintained. Good views on the ascent and if you connect it up to the fire tower at the top - outstanding views.

Great workout! Nice foliage in the fall sprinkled with a few natural springs. Not for the faint at heart - despite the short distance, the elevation gain is tough and my son (12) had to take quite a few breaks. But views are great - nice rock features too.

We went this past weekend and got many different kinds of weather! On and off Rain, heavy fog, harsh winds and more rain. The trail it’s self was great. I wish we could have seen more of it in the beginning (fog was so thick) Towards the end of the trail it all felt and looked the same with all the “zig zags.” Definitely a great work out on the legs!

hiking
17 days ago

Great trail. It was really muddy on a lot of the trail, as it had just rained the day before. Prepare to get dirty. The waterfalls were beautiful.

I went up North Old Mac and camped on a boulder at the Panther Gap Rockhouse because the actual rockhouse was flooded with running water from recent rains. It would be pretty cool in dry weather. The forest sounded pretty dead, no birds, squirrels, etc., except for the constant sound of running water from the bountiful springs, creeks and branches. I took South Old Mac back to the parking area. The total mileage is around 7+ miles. The elevation gain/loss is close to 4,000 feet. With a 22 pound backpack it's a solid "moderate" hike. I only saw 3 other hikers and one pileated woodpecker on the
entire loop. The trail turns to more like a "goat path" for a good bit of the hike, and due to the heavy rains was pretty slippery most of the way. There are no overlooks unless you go to the firetower.

hiking
21 days ago

Great easy trail.

hiking
27 days ago

We enjoyed this water fall the best!

We went the first week in November and it was amazing! The leaves were fantastic.

camping
1 month ago

beautiful hike but the campsite is not secluded. right off the trail. but beautiful none the less.

backpacking
1 month ago

I'm giving it 5 just cause I love Frozen Head SP sooooo much. the trail is not easy. straight up all the way. but the scenes are gorgeous. be ready to get your heart pumping! but man, it's worth it.

That first ascent is a doozy but it feels very remote on the other side of Bird Mountain and there’s a couple of really pretty water crossings along the way. Overall a very strenuous trail but a great workout. Actual mileage is about 12.5.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail all the way around. We went a day after a heavy rain, so the waterfalls were at full force. Beautiful trail, and an easy trail too.

I hiked this with my dog yesterday and went in the reverse direction from what was described above (I started at the visitor center). That direction is more challenging with some steeper climbs that are difficult rather than moderate. I was disappointed that there were not any scenic view points, but it was a gray sky day so I probably wasn't missing much. There were plenty of stream crossings so I didn't need to carry water for my dog. The hike was good exercise at least.

Great trail. Fairly challenging. Started on Old Mac North to Chimney Rock for 11.2 miles. Only complaint was that Chimney Rock was poorly marked in some areas.

hiking
2 months ago

Gorgeous views of the river the whole hike. Camp here and check out the other trails!

hiking
2 months ago

Did this one after the North and South Old Mac loop. Lots of people and kids playing in the creeks; wide, fairly flat trail. It's worth the time if you're at Frozen Head.

Hiked this loop with my dog. Went up South Old Mac, up to the Fire Tower, then down North Old Mac. If I did it again, I'd probably go up the North trail and down the South trail because South Old Mac was steeper. There aren't a lot of views or streams to enjoy on this hike, but it's a beautiful walk through the woods.

The trail head is not marked, when you arrive there is a gate across the entrance. Walk past the gate and about 50 yards there is a sign to see you are on the right path. There isn’t much parking room and you will question yourself whether you are in the right area.

The path up is kinda steep, but lined with gravel. I would recommend going to the west side of the mountain to go up. There are no trail markers or anything until around 2.5 miles where all the trails come together.

Awesome trail that winds around the mountain side. Just difficult enough with a pack and dog. We continued on the Chimney Top Trail and stayed the night at Mart Fields Campsite before backtracking the next morning. Beautiful views well maintained trail/site.

3 months ago

Worth the time

Ok. When you start stay to the left. Follow the purple dots. Then when you get to chimney rock stay left and follow the yellow dots. When you get to South Old Mac take that back to the trailhead. We clocked 8.3 miles. This trail is not for the weak-ankled folks. Listed as moderate but definitely on the harder side in places. Lots and lots and lots of rocks. Not the prettiest of hikes but it’ll definitely get your heart rate in the zone! We ran across 5 wild boar and mountain lion tracks so pay attention to your surroundings!

I hiked up Spicewood and down South Mac. The trails were well marked and in pretty good condition. Lots of rocks and roots to navigate and a moderate climb, but easy downhill on the way back. The views from the tower are nice!

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail for families with small children. Not too long and goes along a river/creek so also gives the kids plenty of areas to explore.

hiking
4 months ago

This was a very easy hike it took me and my husband less than two hours to hike it and we stopped a lot to enjoy the neat insects we found. It registered on our gps as only 3.2 Miles that’s with starting at parking lot going out on judge branch and coming back on part of ol mac. We even did the interpretive loop. very pretty home we would definitely do it again. There is a camp sight just off the trail we’re considering camping at soon too.

hiking
5 months ago

It was perfect for young kids and a puppy. Wide trails. No drops. They could play in several stops along the river and even at the fall.

hiking
6 months ago

Continuing past DeBord, it’s an easy, steady climb (about an additional mile) to the next fall on Emory Gap trail. Muddy and rocky but not difficult. Only complaint is that the fall isn’t impressive and rock climbing is necessary to get the best view.

hiking
6 months ago

Easy and beautiful trail for young kids. Take water shoes bc playing in the water is fun. Flip rocks and look for salamanders.

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