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Laurel Falls and Buzzard Point

Intermediate/Difficult
 5.0 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

One of the best hikes in Tennessee.


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Map Key

9.3

Miles

14.9

KM

Out and Back

1,788' 545 m

High

930' 283 m

Low

1,720' 524 m

Up

1,719' 524 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

Overview

The entire hike is beautiful. From the 1.4. miles along the level Richland Creek Trail, to the climb up to Laurel Falls and then the showstopper of a view at Buzzard Point. This will be a hike you'll want to do in every season. Fall is the prettiest. If camping is your thing there are many excellent camping areas. There are several waterfalls. So, if photography is what you are in to, you'll not be disappointed.

Need to Know

Camping reservations are required for the area.
On weekends it is packed and parking can be difficult. Get there early.

Once finished with the hike I HIGHLY recommend Monkey Town Brewing Company for lunch/dinner. I have been several times and it is always delicious.

Description

This particular map is for Laurel Falls and Buzzard Point. Laurel Snow Pocket Wilderness is located in Dayton, Tn. The trail goes along the Richland Creek Trail for about 1.4 miles before cutting back up to the right and up steep switchbacks. You'll eventually come to a large metal bridge and, if it is after a good rain, some absolutely gorgeous waterfalls.

Take the sign pointing to Laurel Falls. You'll wind around some huge boulders and the trail even goes directly through one that you'll have to, most likely, scoot through. Laurel Falls is right around the three mile mark from the beginning of the hike. Great place to stop for a break and take it in.

Turn back and head back to the junction where the sign is for Snow Falls. Follow the sign (the only sign). You'll come to a split and if you go straight there is an incredible camping area. Go more towards the right and continue on the trail. About a half mile from the junction from Laurel Falls you'll come to a huge bridge. The trail wraps around a boulder and has very crude railing. If it has rained or is icy be extremely careful. The rocks/steps are very slick.

Just keep going on the trail all the way to the top. Right as you are nearing the top you'll go between two huge boulders. Take the path towards the left all the way up to the service road. Once there, go left and hike until you can't. You'll arrive at Buzzard Point.

Snow Falls would have been towards the right on the service road. There are no real water sources (unless you go to Snow Falls) once you get past the signs at the junction so be sure to have plenty especially in the hotter months.

Flora & Fauna

You'll see the usual critters for trails. Mostly chipmunks and squirrels.

History & Background

According to Tn.gov Logging and deep mining took place in some portions of the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Some remnants of the mining activities can still be seen along the trail near the parking area. Part of Richland Creek was impounded to serve as the Dayton Reservoir and was once the water supply for the town of Dayton. The low dam across the stream can still be seen, although water is no longer collected here for the town. The Laurel-Snow trail was the first National Recreation Trail designated in Tennessee.

Contacts

Shared By:

The Cairn Chronicles

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 2 votes

#1

in Eastern TN

#1173

Overall
  5.0 from 2 votes
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Photos

Small waterfall/Three Crosses
Jan 15, 2021 near Dayton, TN
Laurel Falls
Jan 15, 2021 near Dayton, TN
First metal bridge
Jan 15, 2021 near Dayton, TN
Water, Water
Jan 15, 2021 near Dayton, TN
Buzzard Point
Jan 15, 2021 near Dayton, TN
Buzzard Point
Jan 15, 2021 near Dayton, TN

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