Lost Creek Falls / Dodson Cave

November 15, 2014  •  6 Comments

Another great day was had exploring what Tennessee has to offer.  I made a return trip to Lost Creek Falls with one minute difference.  This time I would hike to the waterfall inside Dodson Cave.  This was also a location used to film Disney's live-action version of "The Jungle Book".

I found some "tree graffiti" near the parking area.

Lucy & PoohOlympus E-M1: Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8: ISO 200: 1/40 @ f/2.8

Lost Creek Falls is a short hike down from the parking area while the cave entrance is a few hundred yards away, opposite the falls.  Lost Creek emerges from a small cave at the top of this 60 foot descent and disappears into the Ste. Genevieve-Gasper limestone at the base of the falls and are thought to be the source of the waterfalls inside Dodson cave.

Lost Creek FallsNikon D750: Nikkor 12-24mm f/2.8: 2 sec @ f/22.0

After taking pictures from just about every angle and vantage point we headed towards the cave entrance. The entrance is a very large opening in the rock face on the hillside. If you turn around from inside the cave entrance you can get a nice shot of Lost Creek Falls.

Dodson Cave EntranceOlympus E-M1: Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8: ISO 200: 1sec @ f/11.0


View from inside caveOlympus E-M1: Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8: ISO 200: 1/5 @ f/16.0

I was told the hike back to the falls inside the cave was a half mile so we donned headlamps and started our journey.  

There were several areas more difficult to navigate than others, climbing over rocks and making our way back amongst all the modern day graffiti left here by the Krylon tribe certainly kept us entertained along the way.  Notice the figure throwing rocks down on the animal from above (my favorite).

Krylon tribe cave markingsApple 6 Plus: Apple 4.15mm f/2.2: ISO 64: 1/4 sec @ f/2.2

We had almost gotten to the falls when we arrived at a 12 foot ledge almost straight down.  There was a slab of very slippery rock that we needed to use in our descent.  Yes, the rope came out.  I used the "butt slide" method while holding onto the rope and made it down with ease.  This obstacle would prove to be quite a challenge on my return trip.  This isn't the "slab" but still impressive.

Me and Ronnie Phipps Photo by Barry Cole

A long exposure with headlamps produced a neat photo.

Headlamp paintingOlympus E-M1: Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8: ISO 100: 60sec @ f/20.0

The faint sound of water could be heard in the distance so we knew we were getting closer.  As we rounded the corner and yes, there are things "just around the corner", the Waterfall(s) suddenly appeared.  These are Dodson Falls, 40 feet high and running very well during our visit.  It appeared there was an overflow running as well so the area we were standing was very wet with water and mist completely enveloping us.  It was almost impossible to get a good shot of the waterfalls due to the lack of sufficient light and the amount of mist in the air.

Dodson Cave WaterfallApple iPhone 6 Plus: Apple 4.15mm f/2.2: ISO 400: 1/4 sec @ f/2.2

After capturing some images and videos we departed Dodson Falls and headed for the exit.  We had walked a few hundred feet when I said "I don't remember it being this easy".  Sure enough, we had taken a different route on our exiting the falls so we turned back and found correct junction.  Now where were all those painted "out" arrows that we saw on our way in.  Not far into our return trip we encountered that 12 foot high rock slab.  This proved quite the challenge for me but after staking rocks for a stepping stool and a lot of assistance from a friend forming foot hold with his hands I made it out.

This is definitely one of those "been there done that, no need to repeat" trips.

Group Shot at Lost Creek FallsPhoto by Ronnie Phipps




Eldon & Bonny(non-registered)
Terrific, as always! Must have been quite the experience. Still the
adventurous one, aren't you?
Great blog as usual John. Sounds as though you are getting in you daily dose of physical activity as well! Enjoy!
Ted Bowling(non-registered)
Looks like fun. Can't wait to get down there. Thanks for sharing.
What an adventure, John and good for you for making it through that challenging climb. Lovely waterfall pic. That's a winner for sure.

Always great to hear from you.

PS I've somewhat damaged the sensor on my D3 I think from the Pendleton Round Up and have purchased a used D3X on eBay that's working just great for my little business.
Now all you need is a Doberman to accompany you and your friends.
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