Hiking the trails… Laurel Falls trail provides a comfortable hike with plenty of scenery

Published 12:07 am Friday, March 4, 2022

BY GRACIE FIELDS
STAR CORRESPONDENT
* Editor’s Note: Gracie Fields is an avid hiker and today will begin a series looking at the many trail opportunities available to outdoor enthusiasts here in Carter County. She will be providing photos of her hikes with each article.
Located on Dennis Cove Road, Laurel Falls via the Appalachian Trail is an easy to moderate hike that almost everyone can enjoy.
The trail begins at Dennis Cove Recreational Area and leads to Laurel Falls, one of East Tennessee’s prettiest waterfalls. Hiking the trail includes features such as; diverse wildlife, many small waterfalls, and impeccable views.
In total, the hike is 2.5 miles long and has an elevation gain of 469 feet. The trail to Laurel Falls consists of three major portions containing steps. Traversing these steps is moderate and might be difficult for someone who is not used to them.
Regardless, the trail can be quite easy the rest of the time.
The trail includes one bridge that extends over one river, making the hike exciting for everyone. Reaching the steps that lead down to the falls, the trail becomes moderate to difficult.
Traversing the rock steps can be nerving, especially when they are slick. The steps are steep and sometimes sharp, making this portion of the trail more difficult than others.
The steps lead to Laurel Falls waterfall, which makes the traverse worth it. The waterfall rests at 80 feet high with rushing water. Going back up the steps that lead to the Falls can pose difficulty, mainly because of how quickly they ascend.
Although the trail poses difficulty in some sections, it is overall scenic and friendly to almost everyone. The trail welcomes dogs, but they must be kept on a leash at all times.
Many hikers recommend bringing water and possibly food for your pets throughout the hike.
In total, the trail takes about two hours, there and back, to fully finish. Anyone choosing to hike this trail can enjoy the noise of flowing water and the surrounding rhododendron shrubs.
Ranging from easy to moderate, this is one trail that everyone can easily enjoy.
All photos by Gracie Fields.

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