Maury County is rich in history with it’s wonderful architecture and antebellum homes. However, our County is also rich in environmental history as well. For those that enjoy a great hike, Cheek’s Bend is a short, but extremely rewarding trek. The trail takes you through wooded areas and across creek beds of stone as you wind your way down to a series of bluffs overlooking the magnificent Duck River. Yes. I said down. Your first time on the Cheek’s Bend hike will be somewhat puzzling as it feels as though you are walking down hill for much of the hike. Then, at the very last there is short incline leaving you atop of giant stone outcroppings presenting you with a marvelous scenic view that is truly breathtaking. Suddenly, you realize that you are high above the river as it bends sharply and flows into the distance.
Under the Cheek’s Bend Bluffs are ancient caves that can be seen from the river by those in canoes or kayak. Hikers can make their way down to the entrance of these amazing natural structures. More adventurous hikers may even dare to go inside at least until the darkness and narrowness slows their resolve. Currently there is one of the caves that is fenced to prevent access, but that’s a good thing. Researchers from the University of Tennessee have discovered that these caves are treasure troves of environmental history of Maury County. Over the centuries birds of prey have deposited “owl spitballs” that filled the cavity in some places as much as 15′. These deposits are a window into what types of animals lived here in past eras, what the climate was like and help scientists understand what Maury County was like at various points in time.
Cheek’s Bend Bluffs is a great addition to a day on the river or a vigorous, but accessible short hike for any resident or visitor to Maury County. The pictures you take will be well worth posting and the memories will be even better.