Top 5 Outdoor Attractions in the Sequatchie Valley
Believe it or not, there’s more to Sequatchie than amazing bicycle routes. When looking for an adventure within driving distance of Chattanooga, look no further than the beautiful Sequatchie Valley, where you will find outdoor fun waiting just around the curve in the road. Check out some of these spots for your next day trip or weekend staycation or after your next bicycle tour, and don't forget to lift your eyes up to see the cliffs and mountain sides while you are driving or cycling through this beautiful landscape. You won't be disappointed.
• Oren Wooden's Apple House
Oren Wooden's Apple House is a perfect destination for freshly picked apples and produce. You will find many varieties of locally grown apples and other produce, including pumpkins and gourds for fall decorating and pumpkin carving fun. Their gift shop also offers local honey, jams, salsa, and other yummy treats, including their refreshing apple cider and delectable apple dumplings. Don't forget to take some photos in the giant green chair under the beautiful shade trees where you'll find their pumpkin patch during pumpkin season!
Oren Wooden's sits at the top of Dayton Mountain on New Harmony Road in Pikeville, Tenn., and is just southeast of the Sequatchie Cove Ramble routes (https://www.bike-the-south.com/tours/sequatchie-valley-ramble). They are open seasonally from August 1st until the day before Thanksgiving. Watch their website or Facebook page for their Orchard Cafe menu and for when they open briefly in the summer for the peach harvest, which is usually in June or July. (http://www.woodensapplehouse.com)
• Dunlap Coke Ovens
If you’d like to add a few miles to the Sequatchie Valley Ramble (https://www.bike-the-south.com/tours/sequatchie-valley-ramble), the Dunlap Coke Ovens are near the southern end of the route. Or to visit by car, head a few a minutes down the road from downtown Dunlap, Tenn., where the 88-acre park and museum preserve the fascinating history of coal mining in the Sequatchie Valley.
Take a step back in time as you roam through the wooded park and discover the 268 beehive coke ovens. Then stop in the museum to view the photos and memorabilia from the coal boom days when the ovens were used to help supply the foundries in nearby Chattanooga starting in 1899 and continuing to 1927. The park and museum are both free, and the park is open to tour from sunrise to sunset. Call for the museum hours. If you find yourself in the area the first weekend in May, bring your lawn chair or blankets for the annual Bluegrass Festival hosted at this historic and beautiful site. (http://cokeovens.com/)
• Head of the Sequatchie at Cumberland Trail State Park
For a memorable day in a pristine setting, you don't want to miss this park that features the valley's beautiful river and intriguing history. The Sequatchie River emerges as a spring at the Head of the Sequatchie at Cumberland Trail State Park north of Pikeville and winds 116 miles through the Sequatchie Valley before emptying into the Tennessee River near South Pittsburg, Tenn.
Hike the easy-to-moderate half-mile Falcon Warrior Trail and roam the paths in the footsteps of Native Americans and the first European settlers of Tennessee. The trail leads to the overlook of Devilstep Hollow Cave, an important ceremonial site where archaeological treasures of ancient writings and markings have been discovered and are now protected. Pack a picnic, plan a hike, and step back in time to the beginning of the valley's history at the beautiful headwaters of the Sequatchie River.
The Head of the Sequatchie Park is open every day from 9am - 5pm Central Time. (https://tnstateparks.com/parks/activity-detail/cumberland-trail-head-of-sequatchie). You can also visit the Head of the Sequatchie as part of the Sequatchie Valley Overnight Tour (https://www.bike-the-south.com/tours/sequatchie-valley-overnight) or schedule a visit on any private tour.
• Sequatchie Cave State Natural Area
At the Sequatchie Cave State Natural Area, the valley's unique ecosystem reveals itself for exploration and wonder. Two tiny creatures -- the caddisfly and the royal snail -- make their home in and around the pristine waters of Owen Spring Branch, which flows out of Sequatchie Cave. The royal snail is found in only two other areas in the world, both in Marion County; and the caddisfly, first described at Sequatchie Cave, is found in only three other areas, also in Marion County.
Standing near the cave while you marvel at the tiny wildlife, you may notice the cooler air as it flows out of the entrance, especially on a summer day. Also of notable historic significance, Owen Spring Branch is said to have led in part to the settlement of the community of Sequatchie. The Sequatchie Cave State Natural Area is located five miles north of Jasper, Tenn., and parking and picnic areas are both available. (https://www.tn.gov/environment/program-areas/na-natural-areas/natural-areas-middle-region/middle-region/na-na-sequatchie-cave.html)
Additionally, Sequatchie Cave State Natural Area makes a one-of-a-kind stop while cycling in the area as it is located just south of the Sequatchie Cove Ramble routes (https://www.bike-the-south.com/tours/sequatchie-valley-ramble).
• Sequatchie Cove Farm – Saturday Farm Stand
Hungry for some farm-fresh produce on the way home from your ride? Sequatchie Cove Farm is a short distance from the Sequatchie Cove Ramble routes (https://www.bike-the-south.com/tours/sequatchie-valley-ramble). The Sequatchie Cove Farm Stand is open on Saturdays from 9 - 11 am Central Time or by appointment. You can also make an appointment to visit and tour this family-owned farm where all the produce and animals are raised organically and humanely with love for the land and animals. The farm is located at 320 Dixon Cove Rd. in Sequatchie, Tenn. Be sure to sign up on their website for the newsletter to stay up to date on workshops and farm events. (https://www.sequatchiecovefarm.com/)
Plan your day trip, weekend staycation, or scenic cycling routes in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley, and you will find an idyllic place to put down the gadgets, look around, breathe deeply, and refresh your spirit.