This area of the country is a beautiful one, all year long. But when the autumn colors begin to arrive, it’s especially gorgeous.

So last week, I went to the South Cumberland Plateau area to highlight some of the region’s natural beauty.

Heading west on Interstate 24, I decided to get off on exit 134 and explore. I took a left towards Franklin County when I saw a sign for a natural bridge. Curiosity took hold and I found myself driving down a quiet, two-lane road until it dead-ended at the trailhead of the Sewanee Natural Bridge Trail.

Sewanee Natural Bridge is a 25-foot-high natural sandstone arch, spanning 50 feet.    

I swung by Sewanee, The University of the South, to admire the beauty of their campus’ neo-gothic architecture. These grounds are so beautiful, the university was noted as the 2011 Travel & Leisure, “….most beautiful campus’ in the southeast.”

Travel down Green’s View Road from campus and enjoy a stunning hike along the bluffs. Or you can soak up the valley views from a park bench along the cliffs.

After a quick stop at the Amish Hippie to check out some locally made Amish goods, I headed to South Cumberland State Park Visitor’s Center.

South Cumberland State Park is located within four different Tennessee counties: Grundy, Franklin, Marion and Sequatchie. The park is composed of nearly 26-thousand acres in nine separate areas and boasts some of the best hiking and backcountry camping in the region. 

One of the trails, The Fiery Gizzard Trial in the Grundy Forest State Natural Area, is considered one of the top 25 hiking trails in the United States.

Fiery Gizzard Trail is a 17.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tracy City that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. Although the water has nearly dried up for the season, a walk among the Hemlock and old growth is good for the southern soul. 

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