Skip to main content

Rock Island Gorge

When Daniel and I were first married, we lived in Cookeville, TN where Daniel was an engineering student at Tennessee Tech. 

At the time we didn't have a lot of income so we spent most of our free time exploring the state parks and trails that were closest to us. Rock Island was among the places we enjoyed visiting.

Rock Island State Park is unique in that it is a confluence of three rivers at the head of Center Hill Lake. TVA has a presence in this park, with a dam that is used to generate power at certain times of day.

On this visit to the park, we took our boys down the Old Mill Trail into the Caney River Gorge using the trail that departs from the Old Mill picnic area. 

At the trailhead, you will find cautionary signs everywhere stating that you must exit the gorge immediately if you hear sirens indicating the dam is opening. *We have been here many times and I have never heard the sirens go off. Just be sure to pay attention any time you are in the gorge!

At 0.5 miles, the trail into the gorge is not very long, but it involves climbing down a steep, wet staircase and then over loose rocks and boulders. It is listed as "strenuous" on all park materials.

The gorge itself is quite beautiful with several waterfalls to check out, including Great Falls. There are also numerous swimming holes – back in 2002 there was a rope swing over one of the upper pools, I don't know if that still exists. Swimming is at your own risk, so be careful! *Swimming is not permitted at Blue Hole or Twin Falls.

With our boys in tow, and the sun setting, we only had about 30 minutes to explore the gorge. Jack had a lot of fun climbing and we could have spent a lot more time there if we had arrived sooner.

I had hoped to go down to Twin Falls, located below the TVA generator. The base of the falls has great white water and experienced kayakers often practice here. The park actually hosted the Freestyle World Cups in 2012. I think Jack would have loved it. We will have to go back another time.

Since Daniel and I did our triathlon here, we were actually able to explore more of the park than we have before – including kayaking the headwaters for Center Hill lake, biking down all of the park roads, and running on a dirt trail.

As for lodging, you can find both cabins and camping spots in this park. Since it was a race weekend, we were unable to get a cabin, but Daniel and I went on a marriage retreat here in 2003 and thought the cabins were pretty nice at the time. 

A drawback is that there is almost no cell reception or wi-fi in the entire park. But if you want to unplug, this is a great place to go!

With nine trails rated moderate and strenuous (from 0.5-3 miles) there is plenty of exploring to do here – on foot or on a bike! 

If you are interested in kayaking but don't have a boat, you should check out The Happy Yaker. Their kayaks were fairly comfortable and not too difficult to maneuver. Rates are $35-$40 to rent a boat and the owners are super friendly!

If you are in the area, Rock Island is definitely worth a day trip. If you have more time, you could easily spend a weekend here. Or you can do what we did and visit Rock Island one day and Fall Creek Falls the next (our Fall Creek Falls hike will be on my blog tomorrow).


Popular posts from this blog

Baby Update: 32 Weeks, What's It Like to Have Polyhydramnios

I have had some questions about how I am feeling so I thought I would share what it has been like for me to experience Polyhydramnios with this pregnancy. If you have missed my previous posts, I have too much amniotic fluid in my uterus which makes my belly really big and it also causes early contractions (and possibly labor) because my body thinks it is further along than it is. For me it meant a hospital stay at almost-30 weeks to stop contractions.

Yesterday I had my follow up with the high-risk OB. Their ultrasound measurements showed the fluid is currently 21cm (which is below the risk). The measurements are a bit of an art project with different people getting different numbers (last week I was still measuring 25cm). The doctor I saw said they will continue to measure and assess me on a weekly basis for now. According to him, once I make it to 34 weeks, they would not try to prevent birth if I went into labor. He also mentioned wanting to induce me at 38 weeks. We shall see... my…

Weekend Project: Sign Art

UPDATE 01/07/16
This project is by far my most viewed post thanks to Pinterest and also this blog post from Make Magazine in 2014. If you are interested in purchasing a PDF of the words from me, you may do so for $20. Contact me at cheree dot moore at gmail dot com to make the purchase. If you make your own sign, I would love to hear about and see your results!

For some time, I have been intrigued by the idea of transferring printed art to wood. Specifically the transfer of words (or typography). Sign art is all over the internet – be it blogs I follow or Pinterest – and I have had an itch to try my hand at it. 

Daniel and I had some scrap wood from pallets from our move to Alabama that was in good shape and I thought that this wood gave me the perfect opportunity to create a (cheap) sign for our living room.

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to go on the sign and then it took even longer to research how I would do the transfer. Actually doing the project took even longer sin…

It's the Final Countdown

Three long years ago, we learned that Daniel was going to be relocated from working in Hollywood, Alabama to two hours north in Spring City, Tennessee. We knew it was coming, but it still turned our world upside down. We spent eight months living out of suitcases, in and out of hotels and vacation homes during the week, until finally settling into our current home on Signal Mountain.
We both felt strongly that we made the right choice in regard to the location of our new home, but we knew it would be a difficult journey – Daniel's new position promised long hours, with a 70-minute commute each way. We were told the job would last about a year, so we hoped and prayed for the best.
To say it's been a hard experience would be an understatement. Jack went through a phase where he didn't believe that Daniel lived at our house. Which was kind of true. For months on end, Daniel worked 6-7 days a week, and sometimes weeks at a time without a day off. The hours were lo…