The Unicoi Crest above Tellico Plains


Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 373




Little River Canyon Dayhike
Saturday, September 8, 2012


Brief Description:     Described as the "Grand Canyon of the East", Little River Canyon was carved by the Little River eons ago.  Spectacular overlooks and unique waterfalls will provide first timers a visual treat.  Little River Canyon is located about 50 miles southwest of Chattanooga east of Fort Payne, AL.  This will be a joint hike with the Tennessee Valley Wild Ones (a native plant group). The Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones used to be the Chattanooga Native Plant and Wildflower Group; this group became incorporated into the Wild Ones organization in June 2012.  For more information see

Length1 mile

Difficulty Rating: Moderate to Strenuous

Elevation Gain: ?

Hike LeaderLeon Bates. In order to coordinate carpooling and hike details, hikers are asked to contact Leon Bates at 256-710-5508 by Friday September 7.

Directions to the Trailhead  Contact Leon Bates

Post Trip Report:  Twenty-six members of the Cherokee Hiking Club and the Chattanooga Native Plant Group (now the Tennessee Valley Wild Ones, see traveled to Fort Payne AL for an interpretive hike/drive along the western rim and into the scenic Little River Canyon.  Sandstone glade habitats provided glimpses of rare plant communities and associated seasonal vernal pools.  Hikers are encouraged to revisit these sites in the spring when the small plants and associated aquatic organisms abound.  Adjacent bog sites provide habitat for the threatened and endangered mountain pitcher plant, which occurs only in three or four AL counties.

Hiking down into the canyon from Eberhart Point was deferred due to the steep gradient and time constraints.  Instead, hikers entered the canyon mouth trail along the riverbed for a round-trip hike.  It was easy to see why the Little River Canyon is referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the East".  A short side trip to the Orbix Hot Glass glass-blowing gallery provided hikers a chance to observe the glass blowing and the resulting museum quality products.  The picture below shows a part of the glass-blowing demonstration that the Orbix folks gave the group.  Visit their website at for tours, demonstrations and to purchase their beautiful products, which include vases, candy dishes, window balls, frig magnets, and all manner of unusual glass delights. 

Since only a small portion of this area was visited, it is suggested that the Little River Canyon and Desoto Falls State Park areas be included on future hikes, especially during the spring months.

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