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This hike is definitely worth it. It’s also worth paying the $10 to park. They have excellent, well maintained facilities at the lake, and the trail is also very well maintained. If you are a trail runner this is ideal because the path is relatively smooth and even for the first stretch, then when it gets steep there are rock stairs or rock gardens. There was not one place that was sketchy to navigate.

I’d call this a moderate hike because while somewhat long and a bit a steep at places, you never question your life or abilities. Hard hikes, I think, should have you second-guessing your ability to complete them. This hike never required any thought. It was smooth.

Also, I thought I’d be showing up “late” when I started about 7:45am on Sunday, 12/9. It wasn’t crowded at all and I had long stretches to myself. There were a few groups going up but not too many. And while I didn’t take a picture, there was no line do so. Definitely more people on the way down (coming up), but there were a few large groups. Bottom line, don’t stress if you are not there at sunrise, you can still get some alone time in. And there’s a lot of shade in the morning. It took me about 1:20 to get up and 50 minutes to come down, and I ran part of the way down.

If you need a hike to really kick your ass, try El Cajon Mountain. Even if you don’t go the full 11 miles, it is challenging and up hill both ways!

great trail to challenge your leg strengths. I am a beginner hiker and it was a bit hard. it was worth to see the view on top!

Definitely a good hike that wears you out on the way up....as long as you hike the side starting at the lake. Will definitely hike again soon.

Beautiful hike!

Do the hike several times a month.
Great hike,magnificent view from the rock face.
One of my favorite hikes.

monster workout. great views. facilities at the bottom. The description and all trails is incorrect it is closer to 8 Miles not 6.9

Great hike! Good trail running parts of it as well, especially on the descent. The view was beautiful, but wish there was a bit more to it. Recommend, though!

Great trail that isn’t too challenging with some great Mountain View’s.

September 2017- such a pretty hike on the NC/TN spine. The overlook was very cool. Would highly recommend this one at the park. Took us about 4 hours.

be prepared to go up alot of steps. beautiful falls . crazy busy

Gorgeous views from the tower. Very busy, lots of people when we were there. Concrete pathway with incline.

Wouldn't rate this as "hard" but decent hike up with a nice view at the end.

Very nice trail with incredible views from the observation tower! Trail is wide and paved, but steep.

Short and easy hike on an old Forest Service road along Goforth Creek. Plenty of campsites just off the trail.

Trail is well marked. Switch backs make the trek to summit tolerable. A bit slick in spots later in the trail. Views are incredible.

It was amazzzzing! it was fairly long, taking us about 4 hours, including stopping along the way and at the top. lots of zigzags, and an upwards hike at almost every location on the trail, but the view is totally worth it! you're so high, and youre standing on a stone face overlooking miles and miles of mountains and trees, and it is really just breathtaking. really makes you feel in tune with nature!

Excellent workout, we did the shorter trail; it was hard but definitely worth it!
Highly recommended.
D

It’s alright. Very, very busy. Fantastic views of the Smokies. Concrete path all the way up.

Short hike, but with an incline. We went at sunrise hoping to see the sun hit the trees in the fall, but the fog was so thick we could see much at all. However, this didn’t bother me. It was absolutely beautiful – the fog rolling off the evergreens. I’d say this is a must do for everyone visiting the park. It’s a great spot with wonderful vantage points.

hiking
18 days ago

An experience I’ll never forget. This backcountry is absolutely stunning. My friends and I signed up for the lottery twice. Got picked on the 2nd attempt. We arrived and made acquaintances with our fellow lottery winner and a volunteer hiker, Charlie. He ended up guiding us all the way to the Wave and giving us some lessons along the way. Best way to spend my birthday week! Try to grab a spot on the BLM page. If not, best of luck on the day you sign up at the BLM office!

hiking
18 days ago

Solid hike with a nice reward at the top. The view off the rock face was great. Pretty steady incline the whole way that is not hard. I hoofed it pretty quickly so I actually did feel it a bit the next day.

Overall a nice trip if you are looking for something in between leisurely and challenging that has a unique lookout at the top you will remember. Seemed like a great date hike or family hike.

I went on a beautiful fall day so there was a steady stream of people. Quite a few dogs (maybe 15 or so) making the hike up since the incline is reasonable and no real climbing needed. Almost all were on a leash although two were not - plus there was a sign for a lost dog. :( Sounds like a lot of dogs but over the course of 6 miles it wasnt really much.

walking
18 days ago

Nice hike up the hill. Mighty cold on top but nothing you can’t survive.

We went the wrong way up by mistake but it was a good choice. Trail is not easy but was fun. The view from the top is a great panoramic one. The view of the falls from the bottom of the steps was the best. Great day.

hiking
20 days ago

I won the Lottery! The lottery today was for Thanksgiving & Black Friday. 90 groups, representing 264 hikers, wanted the 20 permits. I feel like Charlie from Wllly Wonka and the Chocolate factory. I was the last one called for Friday. I got the last winning ticket. My first time in the walk up lottery. Did I mention I won the Lottery?

Great trail. Walked with my 10 years old daughter and her friend. Good walk out.

Took the AT approach trail to walk the steps up. The steps are not for the faint of heart. The views of the falls on the way up are great. And at the top is awesome. Took the East trail on the way back down. Very rocky at the top. Watch your footing so as to not roll an ankle. The trail itself is nice, wooded.

Good Long trail steady climb. And obviously the awesome photo opp at the end

Hard to find but AMAZING!

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