Leaving from the campground area at Norris Botton, the Nemo Hiking Trail is a 2.5 mile one-way trail that follow the river upstream to Alley Ford. It is blazed with a blue arrowhead. The trail follow along a bluff above the river gorge. The rocks that form the cap of the Cumberland Plateau were laid down in an ancient shallow sea over 360 million years ago. Horizontal deposits of sediments were compressed into layers of limestone, shale, coal and limestone. The entire area was uplifted by the collision of the continental plates. The Cumberland Mountains southeast of the plateau are actually a severely folded portion of the plateau that reaches more than 3,400 feet in elevation . Erosion carved and shaped the landscape that you see today.
While the sandstone that caps the plateau is more resistant to erosion, the underlying rocks gave way more easily creating overhangs and rock shelters. Many rock shelter sites contain irreplaceable clues to what Prehistoric Native American Life was like for the past 10,000 years as well as clues to environmental changes that occurred through that time. Unfortunately most of these sites have been damaged through vandalism and the hunting of relics.
Directions: From Wartburg, From the main street in Wartburg, near the Courthouse and Federal Building, follow the signs to Catoosa. Drive across the Nemo Bridge. Turn onto the first road to the right and follow it across the Rock Creek to the campground and trailhead.
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