Laurel Falls

The highlight of today’s journeys was a hike to Laurel Falls.  This is the easiest waterfall to visit in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, and was our first foray into the park during the trip.

We drove in via a little road into the park that lies near the cabin.  A short distance into the park, we  found a roadside waterfall, and stopped for a view and a little lunch.  This is when I realized that I forgot my cable release at the cabin.  (Note to self:  NEVER change camera bags!)  I figured out some ways around not having it, and made the best of the situation.  This was a good stop, and there was plenty to see.

We continued on to the trailhead for the Laurel Falls Trail, gathered up all our gear, and started on the hike.  This was only 1.5mi each way, and was considered an “easy” hike, probably based on the trail being paved.  It was moderately easy, but the grade of some parts of the climb were definitely rough on the knees.  The walk was really worth it though — Laurel Falls is beautiful, and is like an oasis at the end of the trail.  The trail opens up about midway up the falls, and there we found dozens of folks tromping around, playing in the pool of water there, and peering up and down the falls.  This was a nice location, and I would’ve loved to try more long shots here.  I took nowhere near enough photos, and didn’t capture enough of the essence of the locale.  I would’ve enjoyed being up there on a less crowded day too.  I had to work around too many little kids splashing and parents letting them run amuck.  Oh well!

I’d like to get back up there again someday.  It was a nice hike, and with a colder day, I expect there’d be fewer folks on the trail, and less rugrats in the water.

With storms on the horizon, we called it a day, ate dinner in Pigeon Forge, and headed home to await the storms…