Walls of Jericho

Lower falls emerging from the cave at the Walls of Jericho

The Walls of Jericho are a canyon on the Alabama/Tennessee border that contain a few cascades and a 35-foot waterfall. Getting to the falls requires a 6-mile round trip hike starting at an elevation of over 1700 feet at the trailhead along Alabama state highway 79 north of Hytop. The trail almost immediately begins descending into the canyon, losing about 1000 feet to an elevation of over 700 feet at the bottom of the canyon. The descent is fairly moderate but continuous, with no up/down sections.

Footbridge across Hurricane Mill Creek

Dry stream bed between the upper and lower falls

At the bottom of the canyon a narrow footbridge made of a single tree takes you across Hurricane Mill Creek. The trail continues through the bottomlands for a short distance, crosses Turkey Creek, and passes primitive camping areas before continuing on up along Turkey Creek. There isn't a lot of elevation change along the this section of the trail, but there is a bit of climbing and some descending before you arrive at the Walls of Jericho.

The trail ends just prior to the Walls proper, but you can continue walking through the stream bed past some smaller cascades to reach the Walls. If you continue scrambling (yes this requires the use of your arms) up the stream bed, you will eventually reach the upper falls (35 feet high). These falls descend into a pool, and when water levels are normal, the water flows through a submerged cave and emerges out of the Walls. During high water the water may flow through the main channel that you climbed up between the Walls and the upper falls.

There was distant thunder for much of the hike to the bottom, but just when we were about to leave the Walls, a fairly intense thunderstorm hit, dumping rain and hail on us for about 15 minutes. Fortunately, we didn't leave and were able to wait out the storm under a rock ledge at the bottom of the canyon. After the storm passed there were a bunch of ephemeral waterfalls in the canyon where just a few minutes prior there had been dry rock. As we hiked out of the canyon, we began to hear more thunder before light rain fell. Almost as soon as we arrived at the car another intense storm hit.

My photo album related to this post:
Upper falls
An ephemeral watefall

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Stock Photos from 123RF


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