It’s always exciting to have a day where we can really do some sightseeing—the outdoorsy kind, anyway. I’ll be honest: We aren’t super enthusiastic hikers, although we do like to set aside a day to make it feel like we really are avid nature lovers (our sore legs remind us to ease up a bit). We went on a different adventure this time, even though we feel like there’s not many more we want to challenge ourselves with, due in part to the difficulty of many we haven’t done. Anyway, here are the details from our most recent hiking in the Smoky Mountains day.
Our hike was really a two part adventure that started with us going to the ghost town in the Elkmont Campground area of Daisy Town. What lies here are the abandoned homes of many rich vacationers who stayed here in the Smoky Mountains before it was designated a National Park. Elkmont used to be a logging town and it was when the Little River Lumber Company started selling the land to individuals was the time the Knoxville elite started to move in. You can read about more of the history here, but the National Park Service is still in the process of preserving or tearing down some of the old homes. We went in a few that we could and were amazed that such a place still exists in the Smoky Mountains. I recommend a walk through this area if you’re not familiar with it already.
Next was our planned hike on the Little River Trail to Huskey Branch Falls. When we were researching hikes to tackle, this one appealed to us because it mentioned the river on our left for the entire hike, (it certainly was!) and the fact that it didn’t have steep inclines; although it was long enough for us novice hikers. Being next to a rushing river for the entire morning was an amazing experience as it allowed us to take many photos of the beauty of this area of the Smoky Mountains.
The hiking trail itself wasn’t fraught with a lot of pitfalls and treacherous areas that some easier paths we’ve traveled have contained. We didn’t venture into anything that caused us to take miniature detours, as the trail was fairly wide for most of the way without many twists and turns at all. For a majority of the time we just enjoyed our walk with the boys naturally a good 35-40 yards ahead of us, but with the trail being fairly straight most of the way, we could easily see where they were—because you never know.
The funny thing about our hike was this: we actually passed Huskey Branch Falls without even knowing it. We came to a point in our hike where we passed a boarded footbridge with a little water flowing down the right side and underneath, emptying into the Little River. We thought: “this can’t be it” and kept walking another…oh, about one-third of a mile until we reached the intersection of the Cucumber Gap Trail. That’s when the lightbulb went off, and we said: “That was probably our waterfall.”
So we went back to the waterfall where we didn’t have the best views of it from the trail, but we saw that a careful climb could be done by myself and the boys to get a better view of it. This did provide us with a much better and more accurate representation of the pics we’d seen in our research (As it turned out, not as much research as we needed). So, in the end, I learned that I hadn’t researched the Falls enough, and we got in a little more hiking activity than we had planned, but hey, we had nowhere else to be other than the fact we were getting a bit weary from our walk by the end—which ended up being a solid 5 miles.
That’ll do it for this edition of our June vacation. Stay tuned for at least one more blog post about another memorable summer trip to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read about my experiences, and I’ll see you again soon!