Road Trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Day 7: Hike to Hen Wallow Falls
Photography by Luke Daniel Photo
Sadly, it was our last day in the Smokies. We wanted to do one final hike before hitting the road, so we drove back up to Cosby to check out Hen Wallow Falls.
We followed the Gabes Mountain Trail through a forest thick with rhododendron and ferns growing densely under the shady canopy of hemlock and yellow poplar. I looked around expectantly for black bears who are supposedly active in this area. I didn’t spot any, proving once again that bears are far more active in my imagination than in real life.
Roughly two miles into the hike, we took a short side trail that led to Hen Wallow Falls. At this point, we could hear the sound of Hen Wallow Creek cascading down 90 feet of glistening rock and neon-green moss. I sat on top of a boulder and tried to watch individual water drops fall while Luke explored the entrance to a small cave. We spent the next hour reflecting on the beauty surrounding us, then begrudgingly began our hike back to the truck. We had plans to make it to Indy by nightfall.
My first visit to the Great Smoky Mountains taught me a lot of things: the accents are strong, the people are warm, the weather is unpredictable, and the landscape is so beautiful, it hurts your heart. My advice to those planning their own visit is to pack an extra rain tarp and check your sleeping bag beforehand. The rest will take care of itself.