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The trail itself was pretty boring. It felt like an old road (which it may have been given the numerous hotels over the years right off of it near the top) rather than a hiking-specific trail developed within the woods/mountains. Also be prepared to not have a lot of shade during the hike. It offers a steady climb to the top that I would consider moderate but nothing more (if you hike fairly often), though certain areas will definitely get your heart racing. That being said, we got lucky and went on a very pleasant day in July (low 80s and low humidity). The incline could definitely take a toll in severe heat.

All of that being said, the views from the top are worth the trip. Try to visit on a day when the fire tower and “museum” are open. The mini-museum offers some fascinating history about the area as well as the abandoned hotel you pass by on the way up. Plus, the views from the top of the fire tower are even better than those from the overlook (which is saying something). We did not encounter any rattlesnakes.

A three mile hike straight up hill? You sound less crazy when you get to the top and have the opportunity to admire the views. This place is also highly populated with Timber rattlesnakes so I would recommend sticking to the trails and keeping a close eye on your pets. Otherwise the trail is well maintained and worth it!!

The hike up to the summit is a steady incline up a road. The top is absolutely beautiful especially the view from the fire tower. My only concern was the Timber Rattlesnakes that are very common along the trail and at the top. We saw a big one in alert mode with its head up. Think twice about bringing a dog with you on this hike because the snakes are no joke

An absolutely stunning hike!! This hike is packed with scrambling, climbing, impressive waterfalls and an abandoned railroad tunnel (which is open to the public). While my boyfriend and I are not experienced hikers, we did manage to complete the entire loop. With that said, invest in some quality hiking boots and use extreme caution when near the falls. Tip: go to the left trail, instead of the right trail, first when beginning the hike. The left trail is consistently strenuous due to the steep footing and rocky terrain. Complete the difficult part of the trail first. Many people were turning around after the last fall, however, you can continue by following the well-marked trail blazes. This will lead you to a less intense, more secure climb down to the parking lot.

backpacking
4 days ago

Nice to have the hotel ruins as a destination and the extra half mile to the tower is worth it

nice scenery , good hike uphill to the falls.. definitely worth the trip

Hiked with our 11, 10, and 5 year-olds, and they loved it. However, we came across several families with scared/crying/injured kids. This is NOT a hike for unpracticed families. Hiking boots, not sneakers, definitely help kids with the upward rock scrambles.

cross country skiing
5 days ago

I loved

23A is not the correct parking lot. That lot is dangerous, very small, and easy to get boxed in. Continuing up the hill on 23a, there are 4 more parking lots that are much larger, much safer, some even closer to the falls. There is a parking lot behind the Mountaintop Historical Society--take the rail trail to the falls area (also cool to check out what the area used to look like back in the day). Laurel-House Rd Parking---can hold up to 50 cars, has porta-johns, is wheelchair friendly and it's a .3 mi hike to the viewing platform, .7 to the pools. Schutt Rd, just past Laurel-House road---another huge lot with porta-johns and trail access to the falls. North South Lake campground---trail access to the falls but you might have to pay a cheap day-use fee (still better than walking down 23a, super sketchy).

Absolutely stunning. The challenging terrain is worth the views!

Hike itself is a 1/5 stars (nonstop loose rock and gravel track at steep incline for 2.4 miles)
Ruins of the old Outlook Hotel are a 9/5 stars
View from the fire tour is 5/5 stars

Total Rating: 5 Stars

Very very worth the hike up for the views and attractions.

challenging but worth it. not well marked. had to use gps a bit especially at the top and around the look out point. very easy to follow an interconnecting trail and find your self back on a trail you already took. red and orange markets are not clear.
falls are nice. look out at very top is really special.

Great trail Waterfalls were fantastic was a little slippery.

Love this place. Challenging but fun

Awesome hike! This was a very well maintained trail and I would highly recommend it. While it is certainly not easy, it is still doable for beginners that are up for a challenge. The view and the hotel make it well worth it.

Beautiful trail ! It is not easy and at some areas dangerous and very treacherous . Be careful and cautious- wet and slippery spots .
All worth it though !

Really well maintained trail. Not a lot to sew until you get to the top. But the views are so worth it! Definitely recommend.

Cool trail. Go early to avoid encounters with other humans. :)

I loved this trail but was not for everyone. There were tons of people and one man fell and had to be rescued after trying to climb up the waterfall barefoot with no gear. The rangers said that was the 5th call in TWO DAYS there. I wore chacos and was fine but if you are unsure, wear boots. There's lots of scrambling and the rocks are wet and slippery. Once you get past the falls it's a pretty nice decent back to the parking area, much easier to keep going than to turn around and hike back out.

Very hard hike, very beautiful and worth it. I hiked it in sneakers and was okay. The beginning of the trail wasn’t marked. The trail could be very dangerous, def not for small children or large groups. I would recommend lots of water and pace yourself!

My husband and I hiked this trail with our 5 year old son and our toddler in a backpack carrier. The kids both did great. I’m really surprised this is rated as easy, but I guess it’s due to the length. I’d say it’s moderate and I hike often. You’ve got to definitely watch your step with all the rocks. I am so amazed at the amount of people we passed wearing flip flops or no shoes at all, you definitely need proper footwear to handle all the rocks,, they’re slippery. If you want to be able to take in the falls without a large crowd I’d suggest getting there very early in the morning. The walk to the trail head wasn’t ideal with kids along but it’s definitely manageable as long as you keep aware of cars. Overall, we enjoyed this hike and the falls a lot!

“I loved it”. “It was one of the best I’ve ever been on”. “That was a great hike”. Those were the comments from our group. Wear hiking shoes as it can be slippery and very rocky. It was a good workout, and the falls were beautiful.

Well maintained trail. Not much to see until you get to the hotel and all up hill. Easier after hotel and the view makes it all worth it. Moderate difficulty, difficult for beginners but doable. Definitely worth the effort. Get there early it is a small lot and it fills up by 9 or 10 on weekends.

Great for anyone looking for a short day hike with a high reward. Such beautiful views will make you never want to leave.

This hike has always been a favorite with something for all levels. Lately they’ve made some changes to the trail to make it more accessible to beginners and families like fixing the boulder stairs and adding a deck to walk out on and view the falls.

It’s usually crowded, so come early or be careful walking on the road to the trail. Make sure you are fully in the shoulder of the road I’ve seen people get towed before!

Beautiful climb up the falls and an amazing view of the gorge at the lookout. Follow the recommended trail here and go up the falls and down the steps. Bring plenty of water and wear shoes with good grip. Flip flops are not appropriate.

Did it with three kids- 12,10 and 5. Little hard for the 5 year old with short legs.

Def .5 but straight up, steps helped the little one. Worth it! Rocks at top are slippery so be careful.

Parking SUCKS walking with three kids in a twisty road was scary.

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