Cheeks Bend Bluff View Trail

Columbia, TN

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Cheeks Bend Bluff View Trail is a 1.8 mile out and back trail located near Columbia, Tennessee and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

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Jason Franks (80)

2 Completed2 Reviews

Ali HuYoung (112)

2 Completed2 Reviews

Hiked this trail with my 2 and 3 year old, and it was perfect for them. Not too steep, but plenty of rocks and fallen trees for mountain climbing :) The trail is very well marked and my 2 year old loved leading the way and finding the "blue trees."

Amanda Lipoelt (82)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Great tucked away lesser known beauty! LOVED the cave.

Ryan Gray (56)

1 Completed1 Reviews

It's a nice little trail that's fairly easy to hike. It's very well marked, so you don't have to worry about getting lost. Apparently there is a cave somewhere off the trail, although I could not find it. I'm going back today and will update if its found.

Henry P. (639)

This is a great trail with beautiful views. The trailhead is a little hard to find but after that the trail is very well marked. I hiked it with my 12 year old who had never hiked before and she did fine. We will absolutely do this trail again!

Jerry Jenkins (171)

8 Completed5 Reviews

I love this trail. Cave is somewhat hidden, but if you really look you'll find it. Oh, if you go during the wet season waterproof shoes are nice because the trail starts by running through a marshy area.

James Johnson (347)

34 Completed4 Reviews

Auston Green (69)

2 Completed1 Reviews

Hiked trail with wife and two children, one of which is 4 years old. Easy trail with nice scenery. Was expecting cave to be on main trail path. Never found it.

Orson Bell (92)

2 Completed2 Reviews

this is an easy with a scenic overlook along the Duck River. The kiosk at the trailhbead was difficult to find, but the hike was well worth the effort

Erik Toft (77)

1 Completed2 Reviews

After "discovering" this trail and caves last year, I wanted to explore more, so 2 weeks ago I took my daughter and a friend to the caves at Cheeks Bend, and returned again last week with my 8 year old Nephew. The hike is really easy, but the climbing and caving are as difficult as you care to make them.

When you get to the bluff look for a triple blaze. Put your back to the blaze and walk away from it and the bluff about 30-40 feet...the trail wraps down into a depression that holds the the entrance to the cave. This a through cave that exits on the face of the bluff. That may be enough for some, but as you exit onto the bluff you can go right to another (terminated) cave about 30 feet away. This cave is open to the public.

If you go to the left you will find that there is another large cave that is fenced off due to WNS. No closure notice is posted (most likely someone removed it illegally) and the fence has been cut, but you should not enter this cave due to the disease.

(Edit 6/24/12- I read up on WNS, and then found this on the state's website. It seems that all of the caves at Cheeks Bend and all other caves on state owned land in Tennessee are officially off limits. Please note that there is no posting of this at the Cheeks Bend site, and I was unaware of this until today. )

The small cave (the one to the right) has some really great features as long as you can deal with some tight squeezes...I'm 6 ft tall and 250lbs so it is a bit snug for me. One of these snug spots leads to a very cool room with a ceiling that goes up 15-20 ft and a well that goes down well over 25 ft. I have not yet had climbing gear with me, but hope to acquire some and go down in to the well at some point to see where else this cave goes. These tight spots contain some really nice examples of flow stone and some small stalactite/stalagmite formations.

To get to the "well" go in the small cave, and climb up to the "main landing". From here you can go straight back into a low crawl tunnel that is nice in its own right, or if you look to your left (while facing into the cave) you will find a low, belly crawl entrance to the tunnel that takes you to the well room. About 8 ft in you will encounter an area that looks like the entrance to your throat...with a descending formation that looks very much like the uvula at the back of your mouth. On the other side, you will be able to stand up...the ceilings are at least 15 ft here. Next is a 4ft squeeze past an angled flat rock. Then you encounter the real sphincter...a rough hole about 22-25 inches in diameter. You have to pull yourself up and through it...I have to have my arms stretched out in front of me to squeeze through. (note: empty your pockets before going through...bulky things in pockets tend to get you hung up a bit...I ripped the pocket off of my cargo pants.) But I think the squeeze is worth it to get to this fantastic well room.

Note: I recommend coming back out feet first...just a reverse squeeze of how you go in.

Wildlife: Inside the cave we have encountered some orange and black cave salamanders, a juvenile ground hog (or large ground squirrel of some kind) , and a rat in addition to many insects and spiders. No snakes, or dangerous spiders (widows or recluses) have been seen by us on any of these excursions. Outside of the cave we have seen deer, turtles, rabbits, and mice.

If you are going to explore the caves to any extent I would expect to spend 2.5 to 3 hours, and be prepared to get muddy, and encounter rat feces and other unpleasant things. Heavy leather gloves are highly recommended as are knee pads. A really good flashlight or head lamp is REQUIRED.

I have uploaded a number of photos...for some reason not all show up.