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Lower Higgins Creek Falls

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Cherokee National Forest

Lower Higgins Creek Falls is a 1.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Erwin, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 1.8 miles Elevation Gain: 577 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

Nice hike. A bit rough getting down to the first falls.

hiking
rocky
3 hours ago

Quick and simple hike, great scenery entire way to falls, beautiful falls! Very rocky - wear boots or good shoes. I personally wouldn’t recommend for dogs. Scrambling required to get down to falls.

hiking
16 hours ago

Definitely worth the moderate hike! The falls are magnificent and the trail is not crowded.

hiking
rocky
15 days ago

Very moderate trail, with a beautiful waterfall. Steady, but consistent incline the whole way, with a scramble down to the base of the falls. Going in May, we saw a wide variety of wildflowers just off the trail. We also only saw a handful of people.

hiking
16 days ago

Beautiful falls! After hiking a couple other falls in the area, I got there around mid day. There were maybe 5 cars in the lot. Had no trouble getting to the parking area in a Subaru. As stated, a nice incline to the falls. Steep going down to the falls, but lots to hang on to. Next time I'll get there earlier and hike on past the falls. Its a nice walk up an old logging road.

hiking
muddy
rocky
washed out
1 month ago

This is one of my new favorite trails in the area! The falls were spectacular and there are many trickling cascades that surround it. As mentioned by other hikers, it’s about 100 foot drop from the trail to the bottom of the falls. This climb is not for inexperienced hikers and it helps to have a walking stick or pole. Please note: it was very muddy and there is a part of the trail where you are practically walking in a small creek from all of the water draining off the mountain and the spring rains. Parts of the trail are slick, so again a walking stick is an asset. I would write this as moderate and difficulty because of the slick mud and the climb down to the falls. I’m not sure how it would be at other times of the year, but spring is wet in East Tennessee. There are several small cascading waterfalls in the creek and along the mountainside for beautiful photographs, especially with spring wildflowers. I went on a Friday morning at 8:30 and there was no one there until about 10. I had the falls to myself for most of the time. I packed a brunch and spread out on a rock to watch the falls while I ate. Follow Lower Higgins Creek Road until it turns to gravel. It will narrow into one lane with a sign that says “Parking in .2 miles.” The parking lot is a giant loop and there is plenty of space for at least a dozen cars. There is a large BLUE metal barrier that blocks cars from driving on the trail, which also marks the trailhead. The trail is not well marked, but I did not have any trouble following it, even through the watery creeky-part.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Great trail rocky incline scramble down to the waterfall but awesome adventure

hiking
8 months ago

Steady climb the whole way but worth it!

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful waterfalls! I did end up passing them up the first time though. I didn't use my GPS for the distance and ended up going almost two miles. I highly recommend using the GPS so you don't go too far like I did. Basically, if you have to cross the creek, then you've gone just a little too far. If you do keep on going, then you still get a nice hike, cross the creek several times, but the upper waterfalls are small and not as nice as the big one. At the main one, if you're probably fit enough, do yourself a favor and walk down to the base of the falls. The view was with the extra effort. Overall a nice hike, just a little confusing on when you're actually at the big waterfall or if you should keep going on the trail.

hiking
rocky
10 months ago

Short but rocky trail to falls. Falls are worth the hike but be careful descending to bottom of falls from trail.

hiking
muddy
rocky
11 months ago

Wondering if anyone else has ran into ATV’s on this trail? Was hiking today and seen two ATV’s zoom by. Thought this was odd.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
Wed Apr 17 2019

Need 4WD. Rugged, old creekbed. Park at the loop. There was a tree down so we had to walk extra but not too far. Short but steady incline. Multiple areas of water, we walked through and across shallow water. Once you get to the waterfall, it’s a steep rocky downhill path. It’s worth it. The climb back up is a scramble. Your feet and knees will be working hard. Dress accordingly & be safe. :)

hiking
muddy
Mon Apr 08 2019

Great short trail but I wouldn’t really rate it as easy. It’s pretty much going at a steady incline the whole way up so it may be easy for experienced hikers but not for most people seeking an easy hike if they have physical limitations. The road gets pretty dicey on the way up the trail that’s mapped on AllTrails actually begins right where there’s a chain on the right side of the road that says no trespassing. If you want to do the full 1.8 miles or don’t have a 4x4 vehicle then just park off to the left of the no trespassing gain and walk up the left side road till you get to the trail. If you have a 4x4 or a truck you trust them keep driving till you get to the loop then you’ll see that the trail officially starts there. It’s been rainy so there were some muddy areas and a small creek to go through. Once you get to the falls it’s worth it to clamber down the steep area to get to the base of the falls and enjoy it in all its splendor.

Wed Feb 06 2019

really a nice hike to get back there. I kept worrying about if we had passed it, but when you get there you'll know. The hike down to the base is tough if you're not as agile. steady incline the whole way. The road getting back there is a little rough. I imagine it might be extremely difficult after a rain event once the road turns gravel. Once it goes though, it means you're close. easily accessible in a 4WD vehicle

Mon Feb 04 2019

I don’t know if it’s just my winter body talking, but I would not rate this as “easy.” Definitely more moderate, to strenuous at times. It is a good short trail, but it was rocky & wet, & I absolutely had to be focused on my footing the whole time, & strategic about it at some times. It was a beautiful short trail with a huge payoff, so with that factored in I guess some could call it easy, but I don’t think short necessarily equals easy. Like, I would not tackle this coming off hip or knee surgery or with heart problems, and small children would require assistance at a lot of points. Again this was with winter bod & in really muddy conditions, but this is probably the hardest “easy” rated trail I have done. It’s in a narrow holler, so keep that in mind for daylight hours. The hike down to the falls looks more intimidating than it actually is. It gets easier as you get closer to the bottom. Definitely worth going down.

Mon Jan 21 2019

Steady incline and steep down to falls so be careful. Beautiful!

hiking
Sat Jan 05 2019

Good little hike. Got a little confused at first because the GOS didn’t take me all the way up to the correct parking area. I parked down near a gate with no trespassing signs. You can drive about 1/4 mile on up the gravel road to get to the correct parking area but if it has rained a lot then it will be very muddy, and could possibly get stuck if your in 2 wheel drive. You will see a little wooden gate where the trail begins. A lot of rocks, watch your step on this trail. Trail had a slight incline almost the entire way with the incline getting a little steeper near the end. A lot of mud and water today from heavy rainfall last night. The trail itself had turned into a water run off in some areas it was like walking through a very shallow creek. I had hiking boats on and still got my feet a little wet. Highly recommend walking down to the base of the falls. You can get much better pictures from that angle.

Sat Jan 05 2019

Nice short hike. Waterfalls was larger than expected. Significant amount of running water on the trail but still easily navigated after much rain.

Wed Jan 02 2019

Awesome water fall, lots of water thanks to all the rain and snow recently. Moderate hike. I would recommend it to everyone and will be doing it again.

hiking
Sun Nov 25 2018

Your pretty much going up the whole time. Its easy except for the incline the whole time. The waterfall itself is beautiful! On the path you see the waterfall. Your right beside of it! But if you want to go down to the foot of it, then there's a little path about 15 feet down and it is beautiful down there, but I'm not very experience at hiking and that path made my legs a little shaky. It is still a beautiful hike!

hiking
Sat Nov 24 2018

Short hike to a beautiful waterfall. Waterfall in a medium size bluff so you must be very careful getting down to it but definitely worth it!

hiking
Wed Oct 10 2018

PROS - Very pretty and clean area with the sound of rushing water nearby. Impressive and very tall falls. Open trail without much traffic. CONS - Steep hill all the way. The road to the parking area had a huge mud puddle that made me nervous about getting the car stuck (it has rained recently).

Wed Aug 08 2018

Short, mostly uphill. The wet and rocky path made the walk difficult for some of our group. At the end of the trail marked on this map, there is a steep scramble path down to the base of the falls.

hiking
Sun Mar 04 2018

Epic short hike to an amazing falls. Very cool camping locations near the falls. Beware aware of Black Bear in area. When water levels are high this trail really transforms into something special.

hiking
Wed Feb 28 2018

easy hike beautiful falls, if it's wet you could take a rope to make it easier to get down to the falls

Sun Jan 07 2018

Did this hike a couple of times this week and the falls were frozen. Beautiful!!! Pretty easy hike. Always quiet and pretty. If you can cross the creek above the falls it is worth it to go a little further up more falls. We have done this hike in the spring and in winter and much prefer winter. Views are a lot better

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