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Hen Wallow Falls

Intermediate

Trail

4.5 mile 7.2 kilometer out and back
86% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 855' 261 m
Descent: -855' -260 m
High: 2,874' 876 m
Low: 2,198' 670 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Amber Scott

A steady climb through the forest along Gabes Mountain Trail to the 90-foot, cascading Hen Wallow Falls.

Amber Scott

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This moderately challenging run is 4.5 miles round trip, climbing steadily to the falls before heading back down. The falls themselves are spectacular, as are the numerous, mossy creek crossings and the old-growth forest. While Hen Wallow Falls may be a little lesser-known than other waterfalls in the park, they're stunning year-round and totally worth the trek!

Need to Know

Bears are known to frequent this area—check the NPS bear guidelines before setting out so you know what to do if you encounter wildlife: nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/b…

Description

Gabes Mountain Trail begins from Gabes Mountain Trail. From the park entrance outside of Cosby, it's 2.0 miles along Cosby Entrance Road to reach the Cosby Picnic Area where there's parking for runners. From the parking, head to the trailhead (which is on the opposite side of the road from the parking lot) and begin up Gabes Mountain Trail.

The trail switchbacks steadily up the mountainside, ascending at a fairly consistent rate—you'll gain over 800ft climbing to the falls. It's well-marked, easy to follow, and other than a couple of social trails branching off occasionally, there aren't any major trail intersections prior to the waterfall access trail.

At just over 2.0 miles, you'll reach the signed junction with the Hen Wallow Falls Connector. Descend this short, steep spur trail to the foot of the falls. Enjoy the cascade (but only from the bottom—do NOT climb the rock face as it is slippery and could result in a dangerous fall!!), look for salamanders in the pool at the base, and, when you've had your fill, clamber back up the spur trail to Gabes Mountain Trail and proceed back down to the trailhead.

Footing along this trail can be tricky at times as there are loose rocks, abundant roots, and multiple narrow bridges that can get slippery when wet. Accessible year-round, the falls are flowing most spectacularly after rainfall and they can form beautiful ice formations in the winter—but watch your footing when the trail is wet or icy!

Flora & Fauna

The typical, lush, Great Smoky Mountains fare - rhododendron, ferns, eastern hemlocks, and yellow poplars. The rhododendrons bloom spectacularly around mid-summer. Salamanders are common in the creeks, and bears do frequent the area.

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  4.0 from 1 vote

#2

in Cosby

#3625

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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#2

in Cosby

#3,625

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93 Since Mar 16, 2020
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Photos

Hen Wallow Falls - courtesy of the National Park Service.
Aug 4, 2016 near Newport, TN
Bridge crossing on the way to Hen Wallow Falls.
May 3, 2017 near Newport, TN
Hen Wallow Falls after a good rain.
May 3, 2017 near Newport, TN
First foggy hike for us. Very creepy as we literally only saw one person on the trail. But, there was cell signal at the falls! Facebook live!
Mar 17, 2018 near Newport, TN

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