Hen Wallow Falls
Hen Wallow Falls is another one of the lesser visited waterfalls in the Smokies. The hike is a moderate one and is well worth the 4.5 miles round trip if the water flow on Lower Falling Branch is good. The waterfall can be more of a trickle in drier times.
Directions: From Gatlinburg, take US 321 east out of town towards I-40. Depending on where you are, drive 15-18 miles until 321 intersects with TN 32 at a stop sign. Turn right on TN 32 east and drive 1.2 miles to the entrance for the Cosby area and campground. From I-40 in NC, cross into Tennessee and drive 8 miles to exit 443 - the Foothills Parkway. If the Parkway is closed, you will have to continue to exit 440 at US 321. Take the Foothills Parkway until it ends at 321/32. Turn left, drive about 3 miles to the Cosby entrance - passing the right turn for US 321 to Gatlinburg on the way. Turn right into the Cosby entrance and drive just over 2 miles to the day hiker's and picnic area parking on the left. Just before turning left for the entrance to the parking lot, look on the right side of the road for the Gabes Mountain Trail. This is the trail to take for the waterfall.
The trail begins it's gradual, but continuous ascent up the mountain. At a little over 1/4 mile in, a trail from the campground intersects from the left. If you are staying in the campground, this trail begins in Section A in a curve past camp site 64. The trail continues a short distance and crosses a stream on a log foot bridge. After several more stream crossings and a more steep ascent, the trail descends towards another creek and crosses it on a stone bridge at about 1 mile into the hike. Soon after this point, the trail follows an old road bed to where it leads to an opening and a trail sign. Keep following the Gabes Mountain trail as it ascends more steeply before leveling out at about 1.5 miles into the hike. This is short lived, however as the trail heads up more before the intersection with the Hen Wallow Falls spur trail over 2 miles into the hike. Take this spur trail the short distance down to the base of the 50' waterfall. The good thing is the trail back is mostly down hill.
The waterfall flow over a very steep rock wall to the viewing area, then continues spilling down the mountain through thick shrub and steep rock. Warmer and wetter weather will show off the many mosses, ferns, and small plants growing on the rock.
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