“A rolling trail past a stunning 35-foot waterfall in the Smoky Mountain backcountry.”
— Ken Wise
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers
While this trail's grades can prove challenging for younger children, they will find its stunning waterfall to surely be worth it.
Access to the falls is about equidistant from either end of the trail. However, in winter months when the Roaring Fork Road is closed to automobile traffic, the upper end of the trail is more easily accessed, reached by hiking 350 yards up the Roaring Fork Road from the point where it leaves Cherokee Orchard Road.
From its lower end, the Baskins Creek Trail leaves the Roaring Fork road and follows an old settler’s trace past a cemetery, dropping to cross a dry bed of Rocky Spur Branch before beginning an easy angling ascent of the flank separating the Rocky Spur drainage from that of Baskins Creek. Upon clearing the ridgeline at a sharp turn to the left, the trail descends steeply, following a ravine for a quarter-mile, then easing out onto a downstream course to a crossing along Baskins Creek.
Where the trail crosses Baskins Creek, the stream is deep and usually difficult to rock hop. After crossing, the trail switches back and into a low intervale between Baskins Creek and Falls Branch, where it follows an easy course to intersect an access path on the right leading downstream along Falls Branch a quarter-mile to Baskins Creek Falls.
The access path is a level course along Falls Branch except for the final approach where it clears a slight rise and then enters an exceedingly steep descent to the base of a great sandstone bluff. The bluff is an imposing natural edifice that guards the upper end of a wide, flat hollow. Near the center of the amphitheater, Falls Branch flows over the upper edge of a cliff and drops thirty-five feet to form Baskins Creek Falls.
A quarter-mile above the point where the Baskins Creek Trail passes the access path to the falls, the trail intersects another access path leading to the Baskins Creek Cemetery. Perched on a small knoll above the stream, the tiny plot bears a little more than two dozen graves, all but one marked with thin weather-worn fieldstones.
When it leaves the access to the cemetery, the trail turns and enters a steep hollow, climbing moderately before crossing Falls Branch. The stream here is not deep, but not always easy to rock hop. The trail climbs for another half-mile to clear a minor ridge shaded by Table Mountain pines, dry-ridge hardwoods, and mountain laurel. On the descent, the north face of Mount Le Conte and Bull Head come into view.
As the trail descends, it enters a gentle terrain continuing for almost a half-mile until reaching the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The Baskins Creek Trail crosses the road, proceeds another fifty yards, and terminates into the Trillium Gap Trail
This content was contributed by author Ken Wise. For a comprehensive hiking guide to the Great Smoky Mountains and to see more by Ken, click here
Flora & Fauna
Fine stands of northern red oak, red maple, striped maple, eastern hemlock, pine, chestnut oak, and black gum shade the trail along the way, while mountain laurel occupies the understory.