The 2.2-mile (one-way) Ritchie Hollow Trail links the Tennessee River with the Pot Point Loop Trail on top of Suck Creek Mountain. The trail is a moderate, gorgeous day hike that climbs 1,000 feet in elevation and features Blowing Wind Falls
The Ritchie Hollow Trail was opened on January 27, 2018. This well-made path tours the beautiful, mature hardwood forest, complete with a 30-foot waterfall (Blowing Wind Falls) that cascades along moss-covered rock. There are also several moonshine stills along the way, an intentional reminder of the area’s pushback to America’s short-lived prohibition era. The Ritchie Hollow Trail links the Tennessee River with the Cumberland Trail—it’s an excellent day hike as an out and back to the top of the mountain.
What Makes It Great
The unique Ritchie Hollow Trail links the Tennessee River into the Pot Point Loop Trail in Prentice Cooper State Forest, connecting the bottom of the mountain to the top and into the 300-mile-long Cumberland Trail system.
Starting at the Pot Point Cabin and Nature Trail parking lot off of River Canyon Road, the trail enters a mature hardwood forest filled with grand American Beech trees and gives views of the Tennessee River in the winter. The trail passes over many rock slides, historic moonshine stills, and crosses over multiple streams before starting the steep ascent to Blowing Wind Falls, a 30-foot waterfall.
The trail continues along an old mule road above the waterfall before turning off and meandering through rhododendrons and a mature forest of chestnut oak, hickory, and tulip poplar. Ritchie Hollow ends at the 12-mile Pot Point Loop Trail at the top of Suck Creek Mountain. From the junction, you can hike down river to Natural Bridge, or upriver 1.6 miles to the Snooper's Rock overlook, and continue on into the 300-mile Cumberland Trail system.
Who is Going to Love It
What makes this trail appealing is that is it geared toward a wide range of hiking abilities even though the trial itself is moderately strenuous. The tread is steep, rocky, and narrow at times, but beginner hikers and families can go slow and can enjoy their time on this scenic trail. It is an out-and-back, so hikers can turn around at any point along the trail—or add extra distance by wandering along the Cumberland Trail.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Park at the gravel parking lot used for Pot Point Nature Trail at 17805 River Canyon Rd, Chattanooga, TN, 37405.