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Laurel Falls Out and Back from Dennis Cove

Intermediate
 4.0 (1)

Out and back hike to one of the bigger waterfalls right on the AT. Starts out easy, but watch out on those stairs!

J H

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Map Key

2.8

Miles

4.4

KM

80%

Runnable

2,584' 788 m

High

2,154' 656 m

Low

773' 236 m

Up

781' 238 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

43%

Max Grade (23°)
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Dogs Leashed

Features Waterfall

Need to Know

From 19E heading north through Hampton, turn right on 321. Gas station on the corner is a good place to stop for snacks, bathroom etc on the way in or out. On 321, fork to right after about 3/4 mile on Dennis Cove Drive, becomes Dennis Cove Road. Another 3.6 miles of switchbacks and white-knuckle driving to reach the trailhead parking on the left. Looking from the road at the parking lot, there are two sign boards and two trails. The trail on the *left* goes to Laurel Falls. The trailhead is convcenient to hostels used by through-hikers.

Alternate for another day: Start at the Laurel Falls trailhead further along Rt 321 past Dennis Cove Dr on the right and hike from the opposite direction on the AT to Laurel Falls. Much longer hike (about 5.5 miles round trip, I think), but avoids the white knuckle driving on Dennis Cove Road and the treacherous stairs. Still at least an intermediate-level hike from what I have read. YMMV.

Description

Starting from Dennis Cove trailhead, the hike begins down a wide, flat trail surrounded by rhododendrons, and the river on the right. After about 3/4 mile, go around a few curves and downhill to a bridge across the river, followed by uphill stone steps -- these are just a sample of what is to come. After a few more curves through rock canyons, at about the one mile mark, look for a wood sign on a tree pointing to the left down the steep stairs towards Laurel Falls. If you don't see the sign and walk past the stairs, a blue trail mark will greet you at a rock just past the turn, this is the high-water AT alternate route. The AT goes down the stairs, but I don't recall seeing any white marks. This is the difficult part -- about 0.3 mile down to the falls. Good shoes and poles will be helpful. Will be treacherous if wet, please be careful! About 10 steps before the bottom, the AT turns right along the river, but there is the Laurel Falls in front of you! At about 50 feet high and 40 feet wide, Laurel Falls is probably one of the bigger falls directly on the AT, and quite picturesque. After some time at the Falls, retrace your path up the stairs, turning right at the top, and back to Dennis Cove trailhead for a total mileage of 2.6.

Flora & Fauna

Rhododendron tunnels

Contacts

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J H

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#1

in Hampton

#21016

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#1

in Hampton

#409

in Tennessee

#21,016

Overall
4 Views Last Month
9 Since Oct 16, 2021
Intermediate

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Photos

Laurel Falls
Oct 16, 2021 near Hampton, TN
Laurel Falls
Jul 20, 2020 near Hampton, TN
Top of the steep stairs down to Laurel Falls.
Oct 16, 2021 near Hampton, TN
Bridge on the way to Laurel Falls from Dennis Cove.
Oct 16, 2021 near Hampton, TN

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