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Team Lightning - Wildflower Day Hike: Shakerag Hollow

  • Shakerag Hollow Sewanee, TN (map)


Spring has sprung and it's time to get out and discover some of Tennessee's most beautiful wildflowers! We will start the day off by hiking Shakerag Hollow/Beckwith’s Loop (3.5 miles). Then we will proceed to Thumping Dick Cove, 2 miles round trip, which features Solomon’s Temple Cave! Between the hikes we will break for lunch at Shenanigans Restaurant!

Don’t forget to bring plenty of water, layered clothing, nutrition (snacks), rain gear and sturdy hiking shoes.

Cost: FREE event

Trip Leader: Kate Jackson & Keith White

Difficulty: This is a beginner friendly day hike with a total length of roughly 5.5 miles

Registration Deadline: Wednesday, March 28th at 3pm

Group Size Limit: This trip is limited to 15 participants and 2 trip leaders

Parking: There is free parking available in the trailhead parking lot


Children Policy: Children who have experience hiking moderate distances (5+ miles) are allowed on this trip. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Dog Policy: Friendly dogs on leashes are welcome on this trip

Weather Policy: This trip is drizzle or shine. In the event of serious weather, this hike will be postponed to a later date. Participants will be notified of any weather-related changes by their trip leader in the days leading up to the hike.

Cancellation Policy: If you register and can no longer make it, please email


Estimated Drive Time One Way: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Hike Distance: Roughly 5.5 miles
Estimated Hike Time: 4.5 hours

Shakerag Hollow

Take a walk through Shakerag Hollow, a forested area just off Green’s View that has remained virtually undisturbed by humans and is one of the most popular areas on the Domain of the University of the South for botanists and wildflower enthusiasts. The two-mile walk extends from the University gates on the eastern end of campus to Green’s View. On either end, the trail enters a forest typical of the Cumberland Plateau: the soil on the Plateau, derived from sandstone bedrock, is relatively poor and dry. The forest is  of the “mixed oak” or “oak-hickory” type. It is a forest of nut producing trees, and the acorns and hickory nuts attract much wildlife. The understory is well-developed, with sassafras and dogwood trees, along with blueberry and mountain laurel shrubs.

The trail was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. As it descends into Shakerag Hollow, there is a marked change in species composition: some of the larger trees here include buckeye, basswood, and sugar maple. This is a cove hardwood forest, an area known for its high species diversity. Here, the bedrock is limestone, or calcium carbonate, which is rich in plant nutrients. In addition, the soil on this north-facing slope is  more moist than that on top of the plateau.

Thumping Dick Cove

Thumping Dick Hollow, also known as Thumping Dick Cove, is a small cove in Franklin County, south Tennessee, within the domain of the University of the South and town of Sewanee. It is noted for its unusual name, old-growth forest, and caves. Thumping Dick Hollow is a small cove with multiple sinkholes and caves including Solomon's Temple. It is also noted for its old growth forest. 

There are multiple traditions as to the origin of the unusual name. The hollow was referred to as early as 1858 before the University of the South was built. A popular version relates that a local resident named "Dick" built a water-powered grain mill in the 19th century; when in operation, the mill made a "thumping" sound that was heard throughout the surrounding forest.  Another version of the origin states that the a hydro powered sump pump or sawmill made a thumping sound when in operation.

Thumping Dick Hollow located off of the old Stagecoach route of the Breakfield Road in Sewanee, Tennessee and forms part of the Sewanee Perimeter Trail. It is approximately 700 feet (210 m) in elevation below Breakfield Road. From gate #7 on Breakfield Road, follow the path beyond the gate for .8 miles (1.3 km) until it crosses a stream with a collapsed bridge. Cross over the stream and follow a faint path to the left until the entrance to the Columned Entrance Cave is visible. The second cave, Solomon's Temple, is further ahead around the cliff on the right.


Registration is required. Upon registration, you will receive an email with additional details and driving directions. If you have questions about registration, please email