Saturday, August 4, 2012

It's rare that I go on a hike that allows me to park within eye sight of the waterfall I'm "hiking" to, but that was the case today when I visited Elrod Falls near Sneedville, TN. For some reason, Elrod Falls has always stayed just a little off my radar until yesterday when I spoke to someone who had visited them although it had been years.
Lower Elrod Falls
lower section of first falls
halfway up the first falls

Amber and I traveled the hour to Rogersville and then across Clinch Mountain via highway 31 into Hancock County earlier today. Once you cross the mountain it's only about three miles to the left hand turn on Elrod circle, from there the road forks and a small sign is roadside indicating Elrod Falls Park. The road dead ends at the parking area for the falls and the first falls is visible just up the creek.
upper section of 1st falls
Amber making it up the trail
Upper Elrod Falls

I think the most surprising thing about the falls is that they are still in pristine condition, I can't think of any trash I seen anywhere. The creek itself was somewhat low considering the heavy rains we had yesterday but as I approached the base of the first falls I was surprised at the size of the drop before me. The water drops off a 25ft ledge near the top of the falls and then slides the remaining 75ft on a sloped slick rock face before emptying into a deep green pool. A trail to the right side of the base climbs steeply to the top and after a few minutes of photos, Amber and I started climbing up the side of the falls. Amber's climbing skills have drastically improved since we first met and seeing her make it up the trail with ease was an awesome moment for me. As we topped the falls, the second 100ft falls becomes visible. I have never seen such a unique waterfall, a big piece of rock has broken free about halfway down allowing you to stand under the ledge and the water to skip just over you allowing you to stay dry. I spotted a log at the base of the falls for Amber and I to sit on and soak our feet so we rested and watched the small minnows swim by until we realized the log was also home to a yellow jackets nest! We calmly and swiftly escaped the danger by wading downstream and away from their turf.
my beautiful wife

I would recommend visiting these falls, and I plan to do it again. There is a third falls further back but the climb to it looked downright deadly, especially after the rain from yesterday. The trail was the slickest I've hiked, all the rocks have been worn down from visitors over the years and footing is tough even on the level parts. There was a group of people from Grainger County there and several of their group ate some trail. I even got a picture of one of them falling when they had me take a group picture. So next time you crave some adventure, head down to Hancock County, take your camera and some good shoes, you won't be disappointed, and until next time...happy trails!
heading out, literally a rock's throw from the parking lot

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