|Elevation Profile shamelessly borrowed from|
|The trail head just passed the signs|
The trail starts off innocently enough. Make sure to stay close to the signs though, many people have made short cuts to save a couple of steps. Just after the left turn in the picture above, the trail begins to get into its normal swing. There are rocks and roots that fill the trail and it is pretty much constant for the first mile. There was a power couple who were crunching through the trail and stopping to take pictures every tenth of a mile or so. I was amazed at how they were never getting sweaty. I was about to sweat to death and they were still cool as a cucumber. The trail switch backed several times in its climb. The trail follows LeConte Creek for the first half mile or so and then it leaves it behind and the trail becomes a forest walk with switchbacks occurring fairly regularly.
|The bridge at mile 1.7|
After we passed the bridge, we kept going up the trail. I let Jackie take the lead on the trail and we were talking about how the Park did not mark the trails with i's or paint or anything like that when we ran into two deer in the middle of the trail. They looked at us and began to walk up the trail away from us. Jackie kept trying to get close and take pictures, but with one of the deer being a faun, I was afraid of her getting too close and having mom come after her. Another power hiking couple caught up to us, right after the deer turned a corner. I told them about the deer being up ahead and they said thanks. They guy started talking about how he hoped that they ran into a bear. I rolled my eyes and told Jackie if they saw a bear, I was going to trip the guy as we ran down hill away from it. They ran into the deer and took out their phones and started snapping pictures. The deer began walking up the side of the mountain eating as they went. It was a neat experience for us, something that had not happened before. We were really excited about it.
We needed to rest further, but our hunger pushed us from the falls. We started going back, and when we were about 2 miles from the car, I did something to my knee. I do not know what I did, but it made the hike a long two miles back to the car. The trail is a tough trail, with lots of rocks and tree roots. If you are not ready for it, the trail can get you when you least suspect it as any trail can. I did not want to say anything to Jackie, but by the time we reach the car, I was ready to start asking people in the lot for some hydros or morphine. The doctors say that I just stretched the tendon that runs up the outside of my knee. I know that I was glad that I was able to complete the 5.4 miles we hiked and made it to the car under my own power.
We had ran into several people going up to the falls, and with it being after 4 PM, I did not expect to run into many other people. Instead as we kept getting closer and closer to the car, we ran into more and more people going to the falls. It took us a little over 2 hours to get to the falls and these people were just starting out. Most did not have any water and the few I saw with drinks were taking Coke's and Dr. Peppers along. I told Jackie that I wished them well but did not think that they would make it to the falls.
Over all we enjoyed this hike. True I messed up my knee some how but overall it was a good hike. There is something about taking your special someone to a place they want to go to. Plus being in the woods is always a good thing. As long as the water is running, this hike would be a good one to do. Always be ready for anything! We had the two deer on the trail with us and as we were leaving, we saw a Momma Bear and two cubs with her. I would recommend this trail to anyone with some time to spare in the Gatlinburg area.
Directions: Turn onto Historic Nature Trail Road at red light number 8 at Ripley's Believe It or Not. Go out this road until it turns into the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The first trail head is on the right. If it and the parallel parking areas are full, there is another parking area on the right. Parking at the second parking area will add about .5 miles to the hike.