dogs on leash
Great hike! This took a few hours but we had two small children and two dogs. The ending was beautiful. If you continue further you will find two more waterfalls. After you reach Rainbow falls keep walking .2 miles and you will reach a sign saying you have reached the end of the trail. This area has the last of the three waterfalls. Although the view is a bit obscured by foliage, we climbed down a bit closer to the river to get a better view. This may have been on of my favorite hikes In NC for waterfalls.
Great although misleading long. the trailhead and most places indicate that it is only 10.4 however the northernmost part of the loop is closed (or overgrown at the very least). So its closer to 13 miles from what I can tell. Fitbit says 16, but it wasnt that long for sure. There is a lot of elevation changes and long uphills/downhills. The top is well worth the hike and definitely worth exploring up there for a while.
Make sure you stop into Outdoor 76 in Downtown Franklin, NC. They have many hiking supplies and lots of information on area and AT. Great people to talk to.
A few thoughts on this trail: when you're driving to the trail, you'll go through what seems like a neighborhood private drive but it will ultimately take you to a gravel lot. The grooves in the road are deep, so low riding cars may scrape at the bottom. The trail itself is rather challenging, with most of it being narrow, with not much space to wander off the trail without sliding down a hill. the observation deck at the top is incredible! it took my friend and I roughly 3.5 hours to complete out and back.
We didn't do the entire trail because we were tired from an earlier walk. There are many different entrance points for this trail. We started at the beginning, but there were many stops along where more people joined - I'm assuming mostly locals.