This Wilderness spills down the western slopes of the Unaka Mountains, which form part of the boundary between Tennessee and North Carolina. Birch, beech, maple, oak, cherry, poplar, hickory, pine, hemlock, spruce, and fir forest the slopes. Some of the hemlocks are almost 100 years old, but loggers worked their way through most of the original forest prior to designation. The deciduous trees paint a glorious fall tapestry best appreciated from high elevations such as the 4,800-foot Unaka Mountain Overlook. More than 10 waterfalls tumble down 20-foot-plus drops along seven major streams. The Limestone Cove Trail, about 3.2 miles total, climbs steeply then levels off slightly along an old logging road to the top of Stamping Ground Ridge. The Rattlesnake Ridge Trail descends for three miles across the Wilderness from near Unaka Mountain Overlook. Rock Creek Falls Trail is a moderate 2-mile hike to two cascading falls. Foot and Horse access are allowed at Limestone Cove and Stamping Ground Ridge.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Unaka Mountain Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.