Hen Wallow Falls
|Roundtrip Length:||4.4 Miles|
|Total Elevation Gain:||900 Feet|
|Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:||409 Feet|
|Highest Elevation:||2923 Feet|
|Trail Difficulty Rating:||6.20 (moderate)|
|Parking Lot Latitude||35.75719|
|Parking Lot Longitude||-83.20872|
Directions to Trailhead:
At the junction of 441 and 321 in
Gatlinburg (Light 3), turn to travel eastbound on 321/73, and drive 18.2 miles until the road
dead-ends into Hwy 32. Turn right here towards Cosby, and drive 1.2 miles to the
Park entrance. Make the right turn into the Park and drive another 2 miles
to the Gabes Mountain trailhead. The trailhead is on the right side of the
road, but the large parking area, located in the Cosby Picnic Area, is across the
street. Hen Wallow Falls is located off the Gabes Mountain Trail.
Almost from the start the path leading to Hen Wallow Falls begins to make a steady climb up the northern flank of Snake Den Mountain. While ascending the Gabes Mountain Trail, which was once known as the Messer Trail, the roots and rocks will testify how rough the route can be in some places. Although rugged, the trail passes through a beautiful lush-green forest of rhododendron and ferns, with hemlocks and yellow poplars providing a nice overhead canopy.
After walking a short distance Rock Creek will appear on your right. Soon you'll pass a side trail that leads to the Cosby Campground, almost four-tenths of a mile from the trailhead. Shortly thereafter the trail crosses over Rock Creek.
At roughly 0.7 mile you'll pass a social trail that leads off to your right. Continue going straight here.
Roughly 1 mile from the trailhead you'll reach Messer Gap. There's another faint side trail on your right here that supposedly leads to an old grave site. To continue on towards the falls, hikers should go straight here. Just past this junction look towards your left and you'll see the remnants of an old rock wall from an old homestead.
At 2.1 miles hikers will reach the short (and somewhat steep) side trail that leads down to the base of the 90-foot Hen Wallow Falls. Although Hen Wallow Creek is only two feet wide at the top of the falls, it fans out to almost 20 feet at the base. We were fortunate to have visited the falls after quite a bit of rain. During the drier seasons, water flowing over the cliff side can be a little low.
If you're looking to go home with some great photographs of the falls, you might be better off avoiding this hike during mid-day, as the sun will be directly in your eyes, as well as your viewfinder.
Be sure to check out the small cave in the ridge just off to the right of the falls.