Sydney on the Trails: Whitehouse Cliffs at Rocky Fork State Park

Trail Team 11

FLAG POND, Tenn. (WJHL): Up, up, and up you go! In a little more than 1 mile, hikers will take on a 1,000+ foot elevation gain as they make their way up to the Whitehouse Cliffs! 

The trail up to the cliffs is relatively new after rangers completely re-did it and opened it in December 2019, making it the newest trail in the park. 

This new trail provides a much easier hike, but even still, it is very difficult. For those who are new to hiking or have bad knees, this trail would not be recommended.

While it’s just a little over 2 miles round trip, the uphill portions will make it feel like much more.

This trail offers something very unique; on the Whitehouse Cliffs trail, you will be surrounded by the largest population of American Chestnut Trees in the world! 

After a blight killed many of the trees in the 1980s, the American Chestnut now only grows to a few feet before it is killed off again, re-growing itself over and over again from the roots of the trees that died decades ago. 

The chestnuts aren’t the only tree facing an unwanted infestation. But for this battle, rangers have gotten involved and released soldiers of their own. Watch the video below for more details.

About halfway up the trail, hikers will come across what appears to be a slope of rocks. It may appear man-made to some, but this rock slope was created thousands of years ago and is actually part of the Whitehouse Cliffs you are trying to reach. Ranger Tim explains in the video below.

Once you reach the summit, hikers will have to keep walking about 100 yards before they get a perfect view of Flint Mountain. Here is a great spot to rest and recharge before taking the long hike back down the mountain. 

In total, this hike is about 2.2-2.4 miles long, with a whole lot of uphill climbing to be done! However, with the uphill, you also get the downhill! So heading back to the car is a breeze.

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