Baskins Creek Falls Trail is a 4.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, TN that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.
The waterfall is picturesque and well worth the difficult scramble required to reach the base. The access road ( Roaring Fork Nature Trail) is closed Dec 1 -Mar 31. However, the ending trailhead is located close to the start of the motor nature trail. One creek crossing on this hike could be a little tricky in very wet weather.
I was disappointed with Baskins Creek. I'm not sure if the sign is wrong or the trail isn't marked correctly, but it was no where near 2.7 miles. It was not challenging at all either. I wouldn't do it again, unless I wanted to go trail run.
My wife and I hike this trail on our week long trip to the Smokies. This was our favorite trail we did this week. We like to be more secluded and away from the crowds and this trail was good for that. Plus there was lots of really neat things to see along the way. The trail goes pretty much all downhill to the falls, so all the work is at the end. The falls were beautiful and it was nice to spend some time alone there.
We hiked a little past the falls on a very light trail that follows the creek, but we turned back as it kept going down the valley. On the way back we visited the graveyard which was beautiful also.
This trail is well worth the hike, and I'm glad that it isn't on the park map and is traveled lighter than some of the other trails in the park. Not much parking near the trail-head though so you'll probably need to park along the road and walk down to the trail-head like we did.
I hiked this trail from Roaring Fork Nature trail to the waterfall in June of this year. I would rate this as an easier hike relative to other hikes I have completed in the GSMNP. We saw a black bear and two cubs near the parking on area on Roaring Fork Nature Trail.
Here is a short video I made of the hike.
*No facilities at the trail head. On your drive in on Cherokee Orchard Loop Rd, they can be found at the Bullhead/Rainbow Falls trail head, or make a pit stop at a gas station/restaurant in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg.*
Parking for this trail head is limited. I chose to start my trek at the Baskins trail head that is kiddycorner from the Grapeyard trailhead....more parking options. There are a few parking spots/pull offs along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, at the Baskins/Trillium trail junctions. It will be up to you, where you decide to start.
This was a wonderfully challenging trail, with some significant elevation gains, inclines/declines. Going down may be hard on your knees, and going up may give your quads the work out of their lifetime. It's no joke, however the upside is that this trail is 90% dirt....no huge rocks/boulder, or copious amounts of tree roots. So, although the trail can be steep at times, it's easy on the feet and not difficult to get a nice pace going to get yourself up and down.
The temperature and air felt very damp/humid...but that made for excellent conditions for all the beautiful, varying mushrooms!! Things are VERY green, on this trail.
There are a few creek areas where you may need to rock hop/walk through water, if the levels are high. No foot bridges are in place to help you cross. So, keep this in mind, if the rains have been plentiful.
The falls are amazing!!!! Be extremely cautious navigating down some of the steeper rocks...they have a significant pitch to them, and the trail is very slippery and wet. Once you get down to the fall...there is no swimming hole, but you can stand in the falls and get yourself very wet, like standing in a shower. There are many big boulder and rocks to sit on and enjoy the sounds and sights.
This trail is not heavily trafficked, at all, so you may have the falls all to yourself, like I did. I was there for 30ish minutes, and didn't see another person until arriving back at the main trail.
The two cemeteries are peaceful. The Baskins Cemetery, although only 0.2 miles off the main trail, has more significant elevation/steep grade to climb. But, I feel that some time should be spent at both cemeteries that you come across, to pay respects to the mountain folks who once called the Smoky's, their home.
The book, Hiking Trails of The Smokies, states that there are beautiful views from the Trillium trail junction side of Baskins Creek Trail.....but to see them, it's best to hike this trail in the fall when the leaves are all off the trees. But, that didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying this trail, and the falls.
If you have time, be sure to visit the many old historical cabin homes, that are along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail...lots of history about this area is listed on the information placards.