Indian Flats Falls
7-29-15 - My wife and I did this hike mid October in 2012 and I'm so glad we did! The fall color was really nice, and even though water levels were down, there was enough water for good photos. The hike is about 8 miles round trip and considered moderate to strenuous - mainly because of it's length. I would hesitate bringing small children, but bigger kids should be OK.
Directions: From the Townsend Wye - the intersection of Lurel Creek Rd and TN73 - drive west on Laurel Creek Rd towards Cades Cove for 0.25 miles and turn left on Tremont Rd. This heads up to the Great Smoky Mountain Institute and also the parking for Spruce Flats Falls. Two miles up Tremont Rd, the institute and parking for Spruce Flats Falls will be on the left. The road turns to gravel here and you'll continue another 3 miles to where the road ends at the parking area for the Middle Prong Trail and the waterfalls. This is the same parking as the hike to Lynn Camp Prong falls and cascades.
Begin the hike by crossing the iron footbridge and continuing up the Middle Prong Trail. The trail follows Lynn Camp Prong up stream. You'll pass a trail to the right which is the Thunderhead Prong Quiet Walkway. A sign ahead indicates the Middle Prong Trail and has the mileages to various destinations. At 0.3 miles you'll come to a bench with a view of Lynn Camp Prong cascades. I have photos of that and other cascades up creek in that section of my site, so I won't show them here. If you've never seen this section of the stream, you'll want to stop and can make this entire hike a day long experience. Anyhow, keep heading up the trail and at just under 2.5 miles, the Panther Creek Trail will go left. Stay straight on the Middle Prong Trail and at about 3.25 miles, the trail turns right and switchbacks up the mountain. In another 1/4 mile or so, cross Indian Flats Prong on a foot bridge. In maybe another 1/4 mile, the trail switchbacks up again. At the top of the first switchback, begin looking for, and take, a side trail to the right. It's just a short, but tricky distance to the base of the upper tier pictured above. You'll see where people - including us - scramble down to get to the other 3 tiers of Indian Flats Falls. This might be out of the question if water levels are higher and the rocks are slippery. If you can't get to this waterfall, I hope you'll enjoy the video and additional photos below.
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