Incline up, downhill on the way back. I would say more moderate. Had 3 kids 11 and 7 who did just fine. Lots of wildlife, flowers, and the views are beautiful! Bring a hat/sun protection.

great trail

muddy
off trail
rocky
scramble
4 days ago

always love doin this trail loop, half of it is walking near the creek, and other half is in the peaceful woods. the stairs are a pain since there a bunch but one you hit the top and see the high shoals waterfall, its so worth it and refreshing.

We hiked from the parking lot that comes before the high shoals trailhead. So all in all we hiked about 4.5 miles. There's A LOT of stairs. But it's a great trail and awesome workout, especially carrying a 25lbs baby on your back.

Quite the climb, with the Jacob’s Fork overlook about halfway up. Very limited hikers (many on waterfall trail) and great overlooks. Cool overlook outcropping and then back to trail for a few more feet up to top for stunning views from the hammock.

Gorgeous the whole way but after a heavy rain particularly slippery. Recommend hiking poles if you worry about your knees or back. Quite a lot of stairs. Absolutely wonderful

hiking
16 days ago

I loved this hike. We did it on Mother’s Day with our 4&7 year olds and they did the entire thing! The stairs going up to and past the falls are the biggest challenge but you can stop and rest if you need to. Beautiful falls and you feel totally emerged in nature here.

hiking
rocky
23 days ago

did this hike midday with the family. it's marked hard but I would say its moderate/hard more towards the moderate side. there was a fair amount of people on the trail and everyone tried to social distance as much a possible but the trail is narrow so it makes it hard. by the time we left the park was over crowded. would recommend going in early morning to avoid crowds

Super fun and beautiful scenery. Tool young kids and small dog and made it up and own just fine. Strenuous on the final climb but so worth it.

hiking
blowdown
off trail
over grown
25 days ago

Did this today and I'm honestly not sure how to rate it! This would easily be a 4* hike for me except for a mile and a half or so. A good amount of elevation gain, but totally manageable for me and an enjoyable workout on a cool day. The HQ and Upper Falls trails were great, which made the change when turning onto Shinny Creek Trail all the more dramatic. Honestly I wondered if I missed a "trail closed" sign. The top section is a recovering burn area, and there are tons of blowdowns of burned trees- some of which require leaving the trail and bushwhacking around. In other spots, the trail is pretty overgrown, including with what looks like poison ivy in a few spots. The lower section of Shinny Creek Trail, once I was through the burn area, was absolutely worth hiking- but I'll probably skip the top section until it is cleared! (It is interesting to see all the saplings springing up though). Just a heads up that there are a few water crossings which, when the water is high like it was today, mean a high likelihood of getting your feet wet.

hiking
over grown
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

We decided to bail on the trail and hang hammocks instead. Too many people today to be safely distancing ourselves.

hiking
2 months ago

Excellent trail. Some good elevation but I’d say it’s more moderate than strenuous. There’s some excellent views along the way, around a mile in you get an awesome view of High Shoals Falls and the surrounding area. Once up top you get a great view of the valley. I brought my hammock along and had a nice nap at the peak.

A very nice hike through the Appalachian Mountains/Foothills. Several good views along the way including a distant view of the falls. Would rate more moderate than hard, though.

This was a great hike up to the falls. Great views and lots to see along the way.

This was an awesome hike! I strongly suggest taking the left fork to the falls. Your legs will be burning by the time you get to the top, but the right fork is steep and long with few steps. It was icy on this morning at 22F. Beautiful hike in a beautiful park. If your going just to see the falls, take time to go above the falls for the beautiful cascades. I thought they were more worthy of the hike then the falls itself.

Starts out with an aggressive climb then follows a ridge for a few miles before a descent and another smaller climb. Great trail, get there before 10 as it gets crowded on weekends and watch out for horses!

Beautiful trail and waterfall (s). The view is well worth the trek!

Beautiful hike.

Trail is moderate to steep at the top with lots of steps. Lots of falls and drops in the creek. Beautiful views.

Cold but the waterfall was awesome!

Enjoyed this trail along with a short walk to the overlook

hiking
4 months ago

Trail was fun and easy, also extremely quiet. “A Hike in the Woods”

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Took my 12-year old Lab with me and he did much better than I did. I did this trail last year during Memorial Weekend and it was extremely populated but this time we went when it was freezing cold and during the weekday, I only saw one person. I was very serene and beautiful. The stairs are definitely going to not only elevate your heart rate but it will make your quads cry for mercy! Well worth a great workout in God’s creation.

I really enjoyed this trail, we hardly saw a soul after the first 10 min and before the last 30 min of the hike. It was very peaceful and quiet! The majority of the first part of the trail passed through a ridgeline so we had great views almost the whole time. It might not be as good of a view during the summer with leaves on the trees, but with recent fires there arent too many anyway! We saw a few horseback riders but didn’t pass anyone during the majority of the hike. I will definitely be back to do it again and the great thing is there are so many trails that you can mix it up or add on as desired. About 2.5-3.0 miles in, there was an option to essentially cut the trail loop in half if you didn’t want to do the whole thing. Between overlooks and exploring slightly off trail, I would account for 8-10 miles for this route.

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