Colditz Cove State Natural Area
Site Directions: Follow Hwy 52 to Allardt, TN. The turn off for this site will be just to the West of town and is called Northrup Falls Road (County Road 1636). The sign for Colditz Cove State Natural Area is on the right about one mile down Northrup Falls Road. Follow the signs to the parking area.
Trailhead Parking Lot - Lat-Long: 36.35772, -84.86886
Hours: daylight hours
Seasonality: year round
Site Description: Colditz Cove is a 165-acre natural area located approximately two miles east of Allardt, Tennessee in Fentress County. Its most impressive feature is Northrup Falls. This is one of Tennessee's most stunning waterfalls plunging more than 60 feet over a protruding rock ledge into a scenic, narrow, gorge along Big Branch Creek.
The waterfall is named for the family who settled here and operated a mill above the falls in the 1800's. The hike to the falls offers a dense canopy cover with large old growth hemlock and white pines along the route.
The dry ridges above the falls support a mixed oak-hickory forest dominated by white oak with Virginia pine scattered throughout. On the more xeric southwest bluff, oaks, hemlock, Virginia and short leaf pine are common with a shrub lay of mountain laurel underneath.
The spray field from the falls creates a unique habitat on the rock ledges underneath and in the vicinity of the falls. Several species of ferns, sedges, rushes, and plants like grass-of-parnassus and alumroot are associated with this waterfall-gorge habitat.
Wildlife to Watch: Colditz Cove is also home to several, relatively rare animals including the Black Mountain dusky salamander (Desmognathus welteri), the woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis), the smoky shrew (Sorex fumeus), the pygmy shrew (Sorex hoyi), and the southeastern shrew (Sorex longirostris).
Bird watching can be productive during spring and fall migration where the forests team with migratory songbirds.