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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rain Has Its Benefits

While it's true that it rained the entire time I was in Kentucky, rain has its benefits.

Bell Falls from the pullout

There was a book of photographs from the Gorge on the coffee table in the cabin that Sharon and I rented and one of the spots shown was Bell Falls.  The girl at the Gladie Visitor Center was of no use whatsoever when we asked questions about hikes and sites in the area, but a little research and I found out how to find the little falls that was on the road not too far from the visitor center.  It was my first stop on the day Sharon left to return to Tennessee.

The falls was actually visible from the road and I even left my car running in the pullout while I got out to take a look.  A few minutes was all I needed, but since there had been a continuous light rain there was adequate water flowing.

From Bell Falls I started making my way back toward Sky Bridge, and a stop along the way was at the Tower Rock trailhead.  You have to look carefully for the sign, Sharon and I hadn't been paying attention when we drove by and missed it.  There are a couple of pullouts in either direction on the other side of the road, but not one right at the trailhead itself.

From the trailhead up to Tower Rock is a fairly steady incline so while it is only about 1/2 mile each way it was moderately strenuous.  When reading trail descriptions for the area be cautious about what the authors rate them.  The site we used had many trails rated "easy" that we felt exhausted at the end of and had lots of hilly sections.  Look at the slope of the hillside in the photo below, it is pretty typical of almost every trail we were on.

There is a list of the trails on the Daniel Boone National Forest website, but it does not rate them nor does it give trail lengths.  Another thing we noticed was that the trailhead markers in the area rounded them all up/down to the nearest 1/4 mile.

Tower Rock
Tower Rock is a 90 pinnacle that is used often by rock climbers.  If you're interested in climbing opportunities in the area there are outfitters to guide you, and if you go on your own please be sure to follow the USFS rules, like the one stating you cannot add new climbing routes to the rock without permission.

The advantage here to a rainy day was that I had it all to myself.  What was I looking up at in the picture?

The hiking trail loops around the base of Tower Rock, adding a little extra length if you choose to check it out.  I thought it was worth it, but it is narrow in some spots and in one section so steep I had to grab a tree for support while hoisting myself upward.  That section was only a few feet long, so don't let that deter you from getting to see it from all sides.

The rain did keep me from checking out Sky Bridge like I had planned.  The air was so thick with fog when I drove up there that I decided to skip it and save it for when I return to the area. I did hike two more short trails instead which I'll share soon.

Other rainy benefits include the fact that while the trees don't have leaves the grass is still mostly green.  I'm sure the donkeys like the fact that the grass stays green most of the year in Kentucky!


  1. Really enjoying reading about your hikes and places you explore.

  2. I like that big split rock, those fascinate me when I come across them. I like too that picture of you looking up, leaning in like that. What a great hiking trail.

  3. Just read through your last few blogs, looks like your haveing a great time

  4. I like the foggy last picture best.

  5. Rain is great because the cloudy skies mean no shadows and the soggy atmosphere means saturated colors. Nice shot of Tower rock.