The Letter “W”
Wayfarers wish for woodlands wet with waterfalls.
PHOTO CREDIT: modified photo from unsplash.com.
With weather forecast to reach 60 degrees in Knoxville, Tennessee, I decided to wear shorts on a hike to Hen Wallow Falls, a 1.5 hour drive by car – forgetting that temperatures in mountain elevations are often much colder…whoops!
It was 34 degrees when I began my pre-sunrise hike of less than 5 miles out and back, along the Gabes Mountain Trail, through a hemlock and rhododendron (seasonal) forest. At 90-feet tall, I’d visited this waterfall once before, and soon recalled both the inclination and rough surface trail conditions.
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If you’re interested in taking the family for an easy & fun hike to see a waterfall, then visit the Frozen Head State Park – near Wartburg, Tennessee. The scenic 20-foot tall Emory Gap Falls is only a 3 mile out and back hike, and you’ll also pass Debord Falls along the trail.
See earlier post: Emory Gap Falls At Frozen Head
Like many waterfalls on the Cumberland Plateau, the best time to visit is when there’s water present. This was my second trip to the falls; though autumn foliage was gone, by comparison, recent rainfall bolstered the volume of water flowing.
If you’d like to enjoy the great outdoors in your living room or place of employment, you’re invited to visit my shop to select a print of your choosing. Many options available. Thanks!
Wow! I’ve hiked many areas in the state, but so far none can compare to the plethora of waterfalls as found along the Laurel-Snow Trail To Laurel Falls, located near Dayton, TN.
From the moment I stepped out my vehicle and on to the trail, the sound of running water was loud, present throughout my hike. Though alltrails.com lists the hike at 6.1 miles out and back, a placard at the trailhead cites the total distance as 5 miles. Whatever the case, I definitely added another mile or two exploring off trail – there were photography opportunities around every corner!
The road into the park is filled (no pun intended) with potholes – it’s somewhat of an obstacles course. Thus, drive slowly with caution around sharp turns near steep hills.
Richland Creek was full, with a wonderful blue-green coloration in deeper pools and dozens of small-to-medium size waterfalls visible from the trail. Other water sources – including Paine Creek – were flowing with waterfalls to enjoy while hiking. Also, huge boulders – some 30 feet tall – periodically peppered the waterside.
The trail, formerly a railroad bed of The Dayton Coal & Iron Company, Limited, was mostly hard-pack dirt and flat, though muddy in areas. Though the trail splits (a white blaze leads left along the creek, and, orange ribbons around trees mark a route into the forest, leading to the right), both trails soon reconnect before reaching a new, aluminum bridge. Thereafter, the trail becomes quite rocky, and signs are posted for Snow Falls (left) and the 80-foot Laurel Falls (right).
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See Also: Laurel-Snow Trail To Buzzard Point
Walking through a hemlock and rhododendron forest, I’d rate the hike to Hen Wallow Falls as moderately difficult. This 90′ waterfall is situated in the Smoky Mountains along the Gabes Mountain Trail, taking between 3-4 hours on a 4.2 mile round trip.
Because conditions on the trail are often rocky – or, covered extensively with tree roots – proper footwear is very important! More than the knees or calves, it’s always my feet which are most sore the next day, having hiked over such uneven surfaces:
Several signs are posted along the trail to help hikers find Hen Wallow Falls –
Footbridges allow hikers to keep dry while crossing over several small streams –
Here’s some enjoyable landscape scenery you’ll encounter along the trail –
Finally, Hen Wallow Falls
You may not live near the Smoky Mountains, but you can nevertheless enjoy nature from your home or office with a print of Hen Wallow Falls. Please visit my gallery at Pixels to review several pleasant photographs from my hike.
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