Monday, March 16, 2015

White County Tennessee Sink Holes and Waterfalls

Sink Hole Pond in White County, TN 

White County Tennessee Sink Holes and Waterfalls

Dana & Kenny Koogler
Thursday March 12, 2015

Pictures are here: 

Videos are here: 

I will add more video links as I get the videos

    Kenny was fixing to leave on Friday to start a shut down job in Georgia that would have him
staying there for about six weeks.   I had been planning on going down with him, but I needed to 
get back to Virginia to see family there. I was grief stricken over the loss of Teresa Lindsey, Michael's other grandmother.  Losing T-ma was a hard blow to our family.   I needed to get back and see my own
mother. I needed my parents.  I decided to go to Virginia this weekend instead.  Kenny and I spent a fun
day together Thursday. I knew that day together would have to hold me over until I could get down to 
Georgia the next weekend.   

      We both love exploring.  We love seeing the stuff that is off the beaten track.  I have
been intrigued by the Tennessee land forms database of sink holes.  I have been studying them on google maps.   I noticed a pattern and wondered if there was a way for me to predict which of them had interesting
water features inside? We've been going and checking them out to see if I was right. It has been great fun.
So far the theory remains unproven. We'll need to go check more to find out, but it has certainly been 
a worthwhile adventure.   Sink Holes are interesting geological features and are good places to look for
waterfalls, ponds, caves, and wildflowers.

      I had my eye on one particular sink hole that showed a blue dot in it on the map.
I had read on the history of White County, Tennessee that it was legendary in its size, mystery and beauty.
I wanted to see it and I didn't care if that was the only thing I got to do that day.  Kenny was equally intrigued so we went to find it.   We had the way points and that helped a lot.

         We were excited to find that Dry Creek had water on it for the first time ever for us!

We were also excited to find that a ledge we'd known COULD be a waterfall during wet weather finally WAS a waterfall. Chuck Sutherland says the name of it is Your Falls named for a cave above it.  It was very neat.

Pictured above: Bottom and Top portions of Your Falls 

   Once we had taken time to visit the first waterfall which was not in a sink hole but too good to pass up, we continued on our search for Hell Hole.  We tried the first trail which turned out not to go to it.
It went instead to the source of Lost Creek Falls.  It was worth seeing today. Lost Creek Falls was raging, but not so badly that it was red clay mud colored.  Merry Branch Falls next to it was also looking good.

Lost Creek between its source and where it goes over the falls
Three of the six source holes forming Lost Creek Falls 

 Sixty foot high Lost Creek Falls at  extremely high flow. 
The entire volume of this water goes underground here.  Merry Branch forms the stream that actually enters the mouth of Dodson Cave, but none of this water goes in the mouth of the cave.  Instead this water can be seen again inside the cave as another pair of sixty foot high waterfalls.  

Merry Branch Falls is another pretty waterfall right next to Lost Creek Falls. 

  We were fortunate that the next trail we tried lead to Hell Hole.
It is supposed to be one hundred twenty three feet deep. It is a bigger sink hole than some of the others we've entered. It is not as quite as deep, but its floor area is much larger.  It contains two sink hole ponds.
Both blue and pretty. One tiny and the other massive.  It has a cave. It also has a forty foot high waterfall dropping into the larger of the two sink hole ponds.   Trees grow in the larger pond.   It was worth the 
effort to reach.  It was very satisfying to find that one of the sink holes.. the first one I've checked which had a blue dot on the map actually had several interesting water features in it!  

Hell Hole Pond and Falls 

Close up of Hell Hole Falls

 We loaded up and went elsewhere to try to find some more sink holes with water features. We had no idea what was in store for us. We were searching for Big Sink. There are two. It is the one which I think technically lies in Van Buren County.  We did not ever find it today. I had researched it and had the way point.  The reason we did not enter it today was a miscommunication between Kenny and I.   He kept indicating it was "RIGHT OVER THERE!"  which was true.  I could not get him to understand that it was going to be impossible to enter it that way. The drop from there was five hundred feet from the rim of the plateau to the bottom of the sink.   It drops one hundred feet per one tenth of a mile. 500 ft/0.5 miles.
Steep drop off. Ain't going to be able to get down there from here.  If you're going to enter a sink hole...generally speaking.. you need to find the low end of it if there is one.   We needed to go round to the end that was nearer the Caney Fork to enter.   He finally understood it much later after we were home.

  Above is a pretty surprise.. a small sink hole pond with another mossy green waterfall by it.
It is NOT entering the pond.  The water actually goes into the ground first!  The pond does have an outflow though that goes down the bluff.

Closeup of waterfall at Sink Hole #2 today.

  Next in our futile search for Big Sink... we passed another sink hole.  It does not show a water feature or blue dot on the map.  Yet it has a waterfall in it sometimes. It sure did today!

Lynnie Gal falls flowing great today. It was forming a stream and a small pond and going underground again.
There is another section to the falls not pictured here. It is about a 20 ft upper falls.

   We were still hunting for Big Sink, but not getting there.  We had to pass right by another big sink hole on the way out where we'd seen a waterfall before.  We knew it would be flowing heartier than last time so while we were there recently we could not resist. Glad we went to have a look!

Trip #1 View of both falls.  

Trip #2 View of Both Falls. 

Wow!  What a difference!

   We continued on our way. We found lots of downed trees, but fortunately someone had cut them out.   We did not find the way into Big Sink today, but we had fun and saw loads of good waterfalls and sink holes.   We know more now and have a better idea how to get into Big Sink.

      Here is the tally so far. Out of the sink holes I've visited... 
One had a blue dot in it.  it had interesting water features.   
Three sink holes did NOT have a blue dot in them, but did have water features.
Of those.. one had NO water feature during lesser volumes of rain fall, snow melt, yet upon returning after the snow melted was a raging waterfall and very impressive!  

Big Sink has a stream shown in it so I expect it to have water, but I don't know anything beyond that.    I have another sink hole not too far away I want to check out which shows a blue dot and I'm hoping a waterfall in there?!!  


  1. That last video of the unnamed sink hole waterfalls was wicked. If you decide to go back to that one I wouldn't mind tagging along. You have been cranking out the waterfalls this year! Way to go!

    1. You got it. I want to go back when it warms up to see what blooms in there. That's the one I told you we'd take ya too if we get the chance. Maybe if Rogers Creek doesn't take too long we could fit that in also!


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