|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – May 2009
Take is stunning rivers and waterfalls, killer views, and amazing wildlife in Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Texas with these hikes.
RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
Cascades National Recreation Trail, VA 4 miles (Easy)
Need to cool off, fast? This out-and-back hike near Blacksburg climbs 700 feet over two miles of rock- and root-studded terrain, quickly reaching a cold-water oasis at Cascades Falls. Here, Little Stoney Creek dumps 66 feet into a wide hollow; the spring-fed water remains chilly year-round, which keeps the swimming hole from getting overcrowded despite the easy access. Season Summer for swimming, winter to see the frozen falls
Info (540) 552-4641
Chinnabee Silent Trail, AL 11.8 miles (Moderate)
As the name of this trail implies, you won't hear more than a gurgling creek and chirping cicadas on the round-trip from Lake Chinnabee to 2,005-foot Talladega Mountain. Two miles from the start you'll pass waterfalls at Devil's Den and Cheaha Falls–and their respective swimming holes–but save your dip for after the 1,000-foot climb up Talladega.
Info (256) 362-2909
Chattooga Trail, SC 13.3 miles (Difficult)
The iconic Chattooga River is the domain of solitude-loving hikers and trout-loving anglers along this rugged stretch of trail (and boat-free river). The one-way route hugs the river, save for a three-mile stretch where the water picks up some class V teeth in narrow Rock Gorge. Start at the trailhead on SC 28.
Season Year-round Info (864) 638-9569
Tallulah Gorge, SC 4 miles (Moderate)
This out-and-back dives to the bottom of a 1,000-foot gorge that shelters rare regional treasures like the green salamander–and a sweet swimming hole at Bridal Veil Falls. Season April-October Info (706) 754-7970