Time to Hike
There’s still plenty of fall color to be seen in the areas around Clabough’s Campground and Cabins, so now is the time to lace up your comfortable shoes and hit the trail to see some falls in the fall. These five hikes will take you through the autumn color to see some gorgeous waterfalls.
If you plan on visiting Gatlinburg while you’re staying at Clabough’s, this is the hike for you. Take the opportunity to get off the beaten path up the Parkway and take the more scenic and colorfully named Boogertown Road to ultimately get to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg (the travel time is basically the same). You’ll find the trailhead to Grotto Falls on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This moderately difficult, 3-mile roundtrip hike will take between two and three hours, depending on how long you stay at the falls themselves. The trail goes behind the 25 foot high waterfall; step carefully on the wet rocks.
You can access this trail in the Greenbrier area of the National Park. Again, take Boogertown Road to bypass the Parkway traffic, then take US 321 N to the Ramsey Cascades Trailhead Parking. This hike is the most strenuous of the ones listed here, but is more than worth the effort. Ramsey Cascades is the tallest falls in the Park, dropping 100 feet. In truth, the falls isn’t really a falls at all, but a long series of tumbling cascades that sends the water splashing brilliantly all the way down. This 8-mile roundtrip hike will take you through old-growth forest during the last two miles, where you’ll be able to see some enormous hardwoods like yellow birches, basswoods, and tulip trees.
This hike is a popular one because it is accessible on the Cades Cove Loop. From Clabough’s take Wears Valley Road to Townsend to get to Cades Cove. Allow three to four hours to make the moderately difficult 5-mile roundtrip. Although Abrams Falls isn’t a particularly high falls, it makes up for the shorter drop with a high volume of water rushing over the edge.
Hen Wallow Falls
Located near the Cosby entrance to the National Park, Hen Wallow Falls is a 90 foot high falls that begins as a slim 2 foot wide stream at the top and tumbles and spreads to a fanned-out 20 foot wide base. This 4.4 mile roundtrip hike is moderately difficult and will take you between three and four hours to complete. To get to the trailhead, take Boogertown Road to US 321 N and park at the picnic area in the Cosby entrance to the Park. The trailhead is a short walk back up the road to the picnic area.
Indian Creek and Toms Branch Falls
This hike is by far the easiest of the ones in this list and you get to see two falls along the way. It’s also the farthest from Clabough’s. You can enjoy a scenic drive straight through the heart of the Park on US 441, then through Cherokee, NC and on to Bryson City, NC to the Deep Creek Campground access to the trailhead. On this easy 1.6 mile roundtrip you’ll see both the 60 foot high Toms Branch Falls and the 25 foot high Indian Creek Falls.
Hike Again Another Season
Hike one of the trails or hike them all. Be sure to come back to Clabough’s to hike them again so that you can see what they look like in different seasons. Go ahead and book your next-season spot now!