I got to the area just after sun up with the intention of hiking to both falls and all of the overlooks before sundown, which I accomplished in a little less than 6 1/2 hours. The trail is marked moderate which I would have to say is accurate, the first 1.5 mile stretch running along the creek is easy, flat and peaceful, once past the old broken bridge things start going up toward laurel falls, and there are a series of ever increasing switchbacks to navigate. Laurel falls was a trickle when I went, but it was still a beautiful sight, the real gem is the overlook above it. The snow falls trail is much longer, and has its own set of switchbacks to navigate, once on top of the ridge you run into a dirt road which can be walked in either direction, one to the overlook one to the falls, I saw only 5 other people on the fall trails while I was out on Sunday (sunny, high of 70, with a breeze) so it was quite peaceful. On the hike out I saw about 20 people with kids in the creek swimming. I am 24, in decent shape, and I had no problem hiking the entire area in a day's time, I also carried a backpack and DSLR camera the entire time. The best hike I have been on in TN so far.
To get the most out of this trail, research before going on this trail!!! Read all the user comments, especially the man who was generous enough to give the correct coordinates- and go to this website listed ( http://cumberlandtrail.org/maps-and-guides/trail-segments/laurel-snow/laurel-snow-sna-section/ ) to see the map and point by point descriptions. The first part is simple to understand, but then you hit a place that the trail seems to vanish. This is where the trail marker is on the BACK of the tree. We did not see this, kept going, and saw a pretty dam with rushing water over it. Came back, then saw the trail blaze. When we were on the correct path, we came across a makeshift camp set-up with rocks that said "Smoke room". We lost the trail again!!! Almost gave up, and then finally we spotted a trail marker across the way, behind the graffiti rocks. We climbed over them and continued on. We finally came to the massive 80 foot Laurel falls. SO WORTH IT. We were so thankful we had not given up. On the way back, take the short cuts, which are directly downward slope trails. Makes it much faster of a return. All in all, this trail reminds you of a magical fairy tale. You are taken in by the marvelous second to none views within a couple of minutes starting on the trail. And it just gets better and better, finally peaking at Laurel falls. However, there are two overlooks beyond the falls (the link I enclosed has a youtube video of them) and those look even more incredible!! We did not make it to them this time, but definitely coming back soon to see them next time. My favorite hike ever.
Michael H. on Laurel-Snow Trail
This trail can be tricky. They are not marked the best so you have to be prepared to back track. But the hike to Snow Falls was worth it. I was amazed at the scenery the old coal mines and the list goes on. I do plan on going back and hiking the short hike to Laurel Falls. By the way the trail marked on this app is to Laurel Falls.
I have been hiking for 30 years and this is probably the best easy short hike I have ever been on. We hiked in and camped just short of snow falls. After setting up camp we hiked up to Laurel falls and played on the abundant boulders. My son is 11 and he absolutely loved it. this should not be marked moderate. Anyone at any age should be able to do this.