Enloe Creek Falls (7-31-16)
I'm going to come right out and say it. This hike isn't for the average waterfall tourist. It's steep (around 2,500' of vertical gain), it's long (around 7-miles), there's a steep bushwhack required, and you have a good chance of getting horse crap on your boots. If any of that sounds unappealing to you, I'd keep this trek off your list of potential Smoky Mountain hikes. Honestly, those reasons combined would likely have kept me from doing this trip. The thing is, at this point, I was 86 waterfalls into the Carolina Mountain Club's 100 Waterfall Challenge and lucky for me Enloe Creek Falls was one on the list. So, like it or not, I had to go. I had been putting it off as long as I could...but it was time to go...
Located in the seldom-visited south-eastern reaches of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just outside the Cherokee Indian Reservation, you'll be hard-pressed to find this waterfall on any park map. If you're intent on reaching them you'll have to do as I did and rely on Kevin Adam's waterfall bible to get you there. The hike began for me from the Hyatt Ridge Trailhead off Straight Fork Road, just north of the Big Cove community. Ascending the Hyatt Ridge Trail the hike climbed some 1,500-feet in the first two miles before diving into the rugged valley of Raven Fork. After crossing Raven Fork and passing through Backcountry Campsite #47, the path soon turned into the steep drainage down which Enloe Creek flows. The trail didn't take me right up to the falls, however. That required a bit more effort, in the form of a very steep but blessedly short bushwhack. Three-and-a-half miles after leaving my car...bee stung, nettle stung, hot, and muscles burning...I stood (or, rather, sat) beneath the 30' cascade.
Like I said earlier, you either have to be a bit of a waterfall masochist and/or a slave to some crazy waterfall challenge to do this one. It's a pretty one, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure the effort is worth the reward. Maybe I'm just spoiled with waterfalls though, haha. One thing I could appreciate afterwards, however, was that I was now one of a very select few that had ever been to Enloe Creek Falls...and that, for me, just about makes it all worthwhile...
Or I'm just nuts...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.608864, -83.222839
Mileage Hiked: 7.0 miles Hike Duration: 3:00
Trailhead Temp: 75'F Trail Traffic: 5-10 people
Min. Elevation: 2,930' Max. Elevation: 4,420'
Total Vertical Gain: 2,500' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 357'
Trails Used (blaze color): Enloe Creek (unblazed), Hyatt Ridge (unblazed)