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Writing Sample

Hiking to Baskin’s Creek Falls

Karen Harricharan - 2013


The Baskin’s CreekFalls hike is a rejuvenating, three mile round-trip excursion.  This hike is a favorite because of the relative smoothness of the trail and the lack of tourism.  While the trail is easy to access, it is not advertised.  One can often hike the entire trail in the middle of summer without crossing paths with anyone else.  At the mouth of the trail, a small cemetery sits on the left, enclosed by a low metal fence.  The graves, some marked and some unmarked, date back to the early 1800's with several family names and several dates indicating grave-sites of infants and children. 


Past the cemetery, hikers find a steady climb for approximately one quarter mile.  Then the trail levels off on a ridge with old trees lining the sides; several beech, fir, and mountain laurel.  Approximately half a mile of ridge hiking then descends steeply with several switchbacks into a ravine where the hiker will find a babbling creek.  This crossing has no bridge, so a balancing act on rock steps or a refreshing wade can be the options.  A moderate climb followed by a level meadow hike are next along the trail, where wildflowers abound in springtime and there is a good chance of seeing deer or bear.  A sign-post marks the turn-off to the falls, which is at a right angle to the trail and turns to the right.  From standing about twenty feet before the sign-post, one can turn to face left and away from the side trail to see a magnificent face in an old hemlock tree.  This tree has the appearance of a conscious watcher, guarding the forest.


At the sign, take the side trail to the right.  This part of the hike is around one quarter of a mile and leads along a soggy creek-bed and straight down to the falls.  The pleasant damp scent in this area is worth remembering. This stretch of trail is perfect hornet territory, so hikers should watch each step to avoid disturbing hornet nests in the ground along the trail-side.  These nests appear as irregular cave-type holes in the terrain ranging upward from one inch in diameter.


At the falls, the hiker is secluded in a partial-circle of cliff face and can walk through the pool of water to stand directly under the falls on a hot day.  There are rock ledges along the cliff face that hikers can climb, but because of slippery algae climbing is not recommended.  The falls area is shaded most of the time because of the high cliffs and dense forest, so it is a refreshing destination for a picnic when the temperatures are not high enough to get into the water.  There are often salamanders on the rocks near the falls. Of all the hikes in the Great Smoky MountainsNational Park, Baskin’s CreekFalls is definitely a top ten destination. 

Article Reviews

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