It's been a few days since my last adventure, I've been slowed with a sprained ankle and allergy season has my head completely stopped up. I have however saved a hike from the other day to share when I had some time to sit down and work on it.
Whenever I talk about my love for hiking and going to waterfalls, the other person almost always suggests Laurel Falls as one that I should visit. I have, about twenty times. There's good reason that Laurel Falls is the most popular waterfall destination in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. The trail is well maintained and worn considering it's a section of the Appalachian Trail. The hike isn't extremely strenuous from the Denis Cove parking area as it winds through and around several mountain tops before descending steeply into the gorge at the falls. There are steps leading to the falls for your convenience, all 500+ of them! It's a fairly easy hike going down but climbing out can wind the best of hikers.
My buddy, Daniel doesn't hit the trail too often, he would much rather be elbow deep under a car hood somewhere or eating at one of his favorite Italian joints. We have been friends since my junior year in high school when I transferred to Twin Springs and he and his family took me in as one of their own. Needless to say, I was excited to have one of my close friends along for the journey.
From Hampton, the road up Dennis Cove climbs up, straight up into the mountains. After a few miles a Appalachian Trail crossing sign is just off the road and within a hundred yards you arrive at the parking lot for Laurel Falls. An information board directs you toward the falls, although the direction is fairly obvious. The creek follows the trail and you get to cross it once on a really neat one railed bridge. Laurel Falls can be heard high above the canyon on the trail and continues to get louder with each step down the mountain. The falls become visible halfway down the trail and are hard to take your eyes off of. Daniel done surprisingly well considering he was wearing slick bottom driving shoes. I could tell he was excited when we finally came into full view of the falls and I explained to him that the falls seem different each time I visit. We took some pics and sat and rested enjoying the cool mist of the falls. The water was still cool but we already decided we would return for some swimming in a few months, after all there's falls above the main one that can be jumped off of, so until then...happy trails.
|Stairs winding toward the falls|
|trail to top of Laurel Falls (kinda steep and dangerous)|
|this really isn't that high, but still a great shot|
|the old, one-railed bridge|
|the stairway out, it's tough!|
|Daniel at the falls|