SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.


» Welcome Guest
[ Log In :: Register ]

 

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]

reply to topic new topic new poll
Topic: Frozen Head State Park, TN, Anyone been there?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1
Drift Woody Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 6649
Joined: Feb. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 15 2014, 12:06 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm planning a trip in that area of Tennessee towards the end of March, and what I've read about Frozen head State Park sounds pretty good.

I'll have 2 days to spend there at the most, possibly with a one-night backpack. What are some of the shouldn't-miss highlights in terms of views and outstanding features like waterfalls?


--------------
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.
-- Native American proverb
Online
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 2
kevinumberger Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3951
Joined: Dec. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 16 2014, 3:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

hey drift...

i was up there not this weekend but last weekend for an overnighter....

one can get a map at ranger station for 3.27 (3 bucks plus tax) that shows trails and campsites...

you need to get free permit to overnight.....

the weekend i went was pretty warm and the first real warm weekend of the year----which meant the place was crowded....

tons of dayhikers and a few groups of backpackers....

at least three (including me) groups of backpackers on the "east" side of the park (using the road to cut park in half).....

tub spring campsite is fairly nice......seems to be used a lot........kinda sits on a knoll of a hill..........there's a spring (tub spring) a couple hundred yard away.......

i went up old north mac trail to panther gap rockhouse on saturday and came down old south mac trail on sunday....

trails are marked at intersections and have blazes......easy to follow (at least the ones i was on)...

i was going to stay at panther gap rockhouse but when i go there and looked at it, i decided to move on.......

the campsite is under a rock overhang (think big south fork rock overhangs)......and it was wet and muddy underneath.....

to me---it was a crappy spot and i had no desire to stay there...

i went up to tub springs to check it out knowing the group in front of me was heading there.......while i was drawing water, more people showed up so i decided not to stay there....

so i went up to the lookout tower (which is way cool)....

and figured id watch sunset from up there, which was a good decision.....

there used to be a campsite up there, but it was taken off map, but i decided at 5 pm to go ahead and pitch my tent and take the chance.....no fires up top so all i needed was a tent....theres a table up there where one can cook on...

lookout tower and sunset and watching stars and moon was really a nice way to spend evening...

on sunday---more dayhikers......

there is some waterfalls that i didnt go to as my route didnt pass by them.......

there's a campsite within a short distance of the waterfalls but my guess is that campsite would get full a bunch.....

the waterfalls are only like a mile and a half from road so that's pretty easy.....

i envisioned spending a ton of time up there this summer as i was looking for new places to go but with the way it seemed crowded, and me not having been around crowds like that for the last two years in the back country, not sure if i'll just wait til fall to knock out the trails in that park.....

hope all this helps.......
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 3
Drift Woody Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 6649
Joined: Feb. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 16 2014, 4:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks, that is very helpful!

I'll be there mid-week, so maybe the crowds won't be an issue. The lookout tower sounds great, though I assume no nearby water source. My hiking partner has a one-man tent, and I'm a hanger. I found a map online which shows both Old Mac trails to be south of the Lookout Tower trail, so I assume that's on a separate hike.


--------------
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.
-- Native American proverb
Online
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 4
kevinumberger Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3951
Joined: Dec. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 16 2014, 4:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

yeah....i didnt see any water up top but i didnt look.......i drew from tub springs and while its downhill, its only 0.5 to come up......

i used a water bag for storage....

yeah....im guessing during week you wont see as many people as weekends....

one can combine the south and north old mac trails n(which are a touch north of the lookout tower trail) and the lookout tower trail and it's only like 3.5 miles or so.....
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 5
schlanky Search for posts by this member.
Lead singer, driver of the Winnebago
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 732
Joined: Oct. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2014, 10:20 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey Drift Woody,

I've spent a good bit of time there the past couple of years. If the search function is working, you should be able to find a couple of old threads where I gave some descriptions. Those old threads will be more detailed, but here's what I remember:

Up on top, Tub Springs is the only pretty definite water source.  Out at Mart Fields, there is a spring that dries up in warmer months. The last couple of years, I was able to get water there during March/April even if it was just a trickle. Out toward Squire Knob, there is Coffin Springs that also often dries up at some point into the year. The spot I looked at at Coffin Springs was just wet mud last spring (I think it was late March or early April). Hikers I saw later on told me I should have gone farther down the hill and I may have found some, but not being in dire need, I didn't look that hard there.

I agree with Kevin on not staying at Panther Gap Rockhouse. Cool spot, but not a good campsite. You also don't want to camp at the Chimney Top site. That's so small I don't really know why they even call it a campsite. Mart Fields is great. Squire Knob is great.

During the week, you may get Tub Springs to yourself, but I wouldn't camp there on a Saturday night. It's popular with Scout groups.

Every time I've been to the tower, there were people camped there---I guess they've recently stopped calling that a campsite.

If you're flexible on when you go, I'd definitely keep in touch with the park folks to find out when flowers are blooming. It's a pretty spectacular place in full bloom.

ETA---for a two day, one night trip, I'd try to do something with a couple of these trails: Spicewood, North Old Mac, Chimney Top.

Maybe go in on Spicewood with a side trip to the tower and back to Mart Fields for the night and go out Chimney Top Trail.

Maybe go in on North Old Mac, hit the tower and go out Chimney and camp at Mart Fields along the way.

An easier version would be go in Spicewood, head to Mart Fields to camp. Next day, go to tower and go out on North Old Mac. Note that the trail between where Spicewood hits Chimney Trail over to the tower is an old jeep road. Not too ugly for being a road, but some good easy walking.

I've only walked the Chimney Top Trail headed out of the park. It's every bit as steep as it looks on the map. Unless you're up for some punishment, I would not take this as the route in. Taking it as the route out, you have a steep climb toward the end (followed by a steep descent), but from the trailhead in, this would be pretty brutal with an overnight pack.


--------------
Looking out the window
The trees are getting closer, it seems
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 6
Drift Woody Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 6649
Joined: Feb. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2014, 10:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Much thanks, schlanky. The info in your post is helpful, and I'll try the search function for more details. My trip is next week, no flexibility on the timing.

I've been to Big South Fork several times and quite a few other hikes west & southwest of there in middle Tennessee, but for some reason never made it to Frozen Head.


--------------
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.
-- Native American proverb
Online
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 7
schlanky Search for posts by this member.
Lead singer, driver of the Winnebago
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 732
Joined: Oct. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2014, 10:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Forgot to mention, if you stay at Mart Fields, there are two places to camp. Coming from the tower toward Mart Fields, close to the camp,  you'll make a switchback and come up a short, very steep section and level out. Soon you hit a big, pretty open flat area. The water source is about a quarter mile beyond and runs right along the trail. (when you register, I'd ask the park folks if they know if this is currently flowing). The old CCC chimney is just beyond that and there is an area there big enough for one tent. I think there are Mart Fields signs at both spots.

The campsites at Frozen Head aren't the nice semi-private sites like at Savage Gulf. They're just one big area for communal camping. I've been lucky every time I've been there and camped alone.


--------------
Looking out the window
The trees are getting closer, it seems
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 8
Drift Woody Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 6649
Joined: Feb. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2014, 1:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My hiking partner has a 1-man a tent but I've converted to hammock, so all I need is some good trees. Thanks!

--------------
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.
-- Native American proverb
Online
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 9
Drift Woody Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 6649
Joined: Feb. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2014, 10:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was just poring over the map, which has numerous overnight loop possibilities. For variety I'd like some water features as well as higher elevation views so I'm contemplating the trail combination of Panther Branch, North Old Mac to the Lookout Tower, then return via Spicewood or Chimney Top.

The decision point for the return leg depends on how soon I get to the lookout tower (if it's late I'll camp there; if early I'll go to Mart Fields) ... and also how much more the Chimney Top trail has to offer than Spicewood (which is considerably shorter and easier with less wear & tear on my aging joints).

The loop I outlined involves a stretch of road to the Panther Branch Trail; does that have TH parking? Also, have you hiked that trail and the Emory Gap spur to the falls?


--------------
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.
-- Native American proverb
Online
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 10
schlanky Search for posts by this member.
Lead singer, driver of the Winnebago
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 732
Joined: Oct. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2014, 9:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm a little more fuzzy on this one. I walked the Panther Branch area on my first trip and haven't been back on it since. I did a loop with Spicewood and North Old Mac, then moved the car and day hiked to Emory Falls and Panther Branch up to North Old Mac.

There is a parking area back somewhat near Panther Branch, but I don't recall how big it is and don't know if they allow overnight parking there. Basically, the paved park road ends at a gate and there is a parking area there, then you have an easy old dirt road walk (mile or so, but I'm guessing on that) back to reach Panther Branch campsite (with a small waterfall along the way) and the trail that splits off to reach Emory Falls. Don't recall how long the spur is other than I know it's more than just  a few minutes. It ends at the creek and you can rock hop across the creek to go upstream for a better view of the falls.

When top of Panther Branch trail meets North Old Mac, turning right on North Old Mac leads to another campsite if you need one day to be short. This is a small site. Beyond the area where you'd set up camp, a faint trail leads out to a nice rock ledge. There is another ledge within sight of where you'd set up camp. I've never seen a sign for this site, but approaching the camp coming from Panther Branch trail onto North Old Mac, walk a few minutes on N. Old Mac until  trail makes a 90 degree turn to the left. A short visible spur leads straight downhill to the site. Even if you don't camp here, it makes a great rest stop or lunch stop.

On Panther Branch, you'll have a short section that goes along a narrow ledge that is sometimes wet. It's a place you definitely don't want to fall. I had no problems on it, but also was wearing a daypack when I walked that section.

Chimney Top definitely has more to see than Spicewood, but it's also much harder. Chimney Top is much better in my opinion after leaf out, so you may want to save that one for a different trip when it's more worth it to stress your joints. Spicewood has some rocky sections that bothered my wife who has some knee problems a little, but it's monumentally easier than Chimney Top and is a nice trail too.


--------------
Looking out the window
The trees are getting closer, it seems
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 11
kevinumberger Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3951
Joined: Dec. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2014, 3:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

from the way i gather (from my own observation and not from talking with ranger) is that they want all the overnight backpacking parking to be in the one lot just pass the rangers station on the way in....

from that parking lot to the end of the road loop is not that bad of a walk......maybe ten minutes on flat pavement.....
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
10 replies since Mar. 15 2014, 12:06 pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]


 
reply to topic new topic new poll

» Quick Reply Frozen Head State Park, TN
iB Code Buttons
You are posting as:

Do you wish to enable your signature for this post?
Do you wish to enable emoticons for this post?
Track this topic
View All Emoticons
View iB Code



Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions