Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve
CCCNP “The Citadel”
A view from “The Citadel”
The Citadel is just one of the many beautiful locations in the Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve.
Do not enter the Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve at any point other than either the main entrance or the Behel Lane North Entrance. Entering at any other point would require TRESPASSING across private property.
About Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve
CAUTION!! Enter this area at your own risk!
Wear good hiking footwear, take water and snacks!
Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve is maintained as closely as possible to its natural state, and visitors are advised that this commitment to “naturalness” offers many potential hazards that must be considered in order to be safe while on the preserve. In the 700+ acre Preserve, there are about 15 miles of trails, numerous waterfalls and bluffs, rock shelters and other hazardous areas. Please use caution at all times. Always monitor children carefully. Please remember, other than the cache contents, “Leave only footprints. Take only memories and photos”.
The “Citadel” is an overlook in the northwest part of Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve and is accessible by two main routes. There are also route variations that will put you near other caches in the Preserve.
Route #1 starts at the main entrance to the Preserve. The parking area for the main entrance is at N34 37.335, W87 47.662. This route, if you go only to the Citadel and back, is about a 6 mile round trip. It is longer than the other main route but the hike is somewhat easier. Trail maps are available in the mail boxes on the porch of the Lacefield’s home or can be downloaded and printed in two sections from:
Map of Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve – North section
Map of Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve – South section
Downloading the maps is especially recommended if the north entrance off Behel Lane is used.
View from an Overlook near the Citadel
Route #2 starts at the end of Behel Lane (see directions below). There is a small parking area at N 34 38.561, W087 48.315. The trail is a narrow track that is currently marked only with yellow ribbons on trees and it starts almost due south of the parking area. This route is about 1.5 miles shorter if you go only to the Citadel and back. However, the first part of the trail is harder to follow and there are several creek crossings that could be a problem at times. Also, the trail crosses over the top of the Northeast Falls and the footing can be treacherous. Shortly after you cross the creek above the waterfall and CAREFULLY climb down beside the falls and rock shelters, you will reach the intersection of Devil’s Hollow Trail to the south and North Devil’s Hollow Trail to the west. To reach the Citadel, take the North Devil’s Hollow Trail. The trail significantly improves at this point.
At N 34 38.306, W087 48.727, you will find another intersection. Going south down the hill at this intersection will take you within feet of The Old Homestead cache then on to the Citadel trail. Going west will take you to the trail to The Fin and another cache, CCCNP – The Fin. The Fin is only about 0.2 mile STRAIGHT LINE from this intersection but unless you have bluff climbing skills and appropriate equipment, DO NOT attempt the direct approach. By the much safer trail, the Fin cache is a little more than 0.5 mile.
Now on to the Citadel
The final trail leading to the cache has a couple of steep hills and is fairly strenuous. The final segment is common to all of the approaches to the cache and starts at N34° 38.157', W87° 49.016'. At this point, you will be approximately 0.75 of a TRAIL mile from the Citadel cache.
Stay on the trail until you reach the Citadel. The trail ends very close to the geocache. Approaching the Citadel by the direct route would be quite dangerous.
The cache container is the gold ammo can that I received for my 1000 find milestone. In turn, I used it to present a combination 1K and 2K award to my bride of 36 years, Lady Gem. It contains the usual log book, pen and small trade items. It also contains an unactivated Lion Courage geocoin that was designed by my daughter, CornCrazy.
The cache is very close to the end of the Citadel trail. The cache should be fairly easy to find although the less experienced cacher may have a little difficulty. All of my geocaches in the Preserve are fairly easy to find since my goal is getting cachers and hikers to the beautiful areas of the Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve rather than placing a tricky, hard to find geocache. The terrain using the trails from the main entrance is a 3 to 3.5 because of the distance and several steep hills. However, the terrain using the north entrance is closer to a 4 largely because of the first 1500 to 2000 feet.
This cache, as well as all of the other caches in the Preserve, was placed with permission from the Preserve owners.
Directions to Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve Main Entrance:
From Hwy 72 in Tuscumbia, go south on Frankfort Rd. Please note that Frankfort Rd. runs under Hwy 72. The ramp to Frankfort Rd. (N34 42.711, W87 43.236) is immediately west of the Co-op. At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Frankfort Rd at N34 42.676, W087 43.378. Go 7.5 miles to Loop Rd. (N34 37.391, W87 46.974). About 700 feet after turning west onto Loop Rd., the road forks with the paved road curving to the right and a gravel road veering off to the left. Take the gravel road. Follow the gravel road about 2500 feet to the entrance to Cane Creek Nature Preserve. Hold your breath as you pass the chicken houses on the left if you want to avoid the odor. Continue on into the Nature Preserve and park in the designated area at N34 37.335, W87 47.662.
Directions to Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve North Entrance:
Note: I recommend going to the main entrance first especially if this is your first trip to the Preserve. At the main entrance, you will find information about the preserve, trail maps to use while on the preserve and cache #1 of the CCCNP series. If you are fortunate, you may have the opportunity to meet Jim and Faye Lacefield, the Preserve owners.
A. From the main entrance, go back to Loop Rd and turn left at N34° 37.393’, W87° 47.127’. Go 1.7 miles then turn left at the junction of Loop Rd with New Bethel Rd / Hawk Pride Mountain Rd at N34° 38.704', W87° 47.751' . Go northwest 0.75 miles to Behel Rd at N34° 39.088', W87° 48.357' and turn left. Proceed to the end of the pavement and park at N 34 38.561, W087 48.315.
B. If you are coming from east of Frankfort Rd, follow the directions for the main entrance until you get to Loop Rd. Instead of bearing left onto the gravel road to the main entrance, stay to the right on Loop Rd then follow the directions in ‘A’ above.
C. If you are coming from west of Frankfort Rd, take Hwy 72 to Hawk Pride Mountain Rd at N34° 42.740', W87° 46.554' and turn south. Travel 5.2 miles to Behel Rd at N34° 39.088', W87° 48.357' and turn right. Proceed to the end of the pavement and park at N 34 38.561, W087 48.315.