Hiking Baskins Creek Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains

March 16, 2021

Baskins Creek Trail is a great hike to go on when you visit the Smokies. It’s considered easy to moderate, and you’ll get to see an amazing waterfall at the end of the hike. Find out more about hiking to Baskins Creek Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains:

Round Trip Length 3.1 Miles
Elevation Gain 912 feet
Trail Highlights Waterfalls


baskins creek fallsThe trailhead to Baskins Creek Trail is right outside of Gatlinburg. At light #8, turn right onto Historic Nature Trail/Airport Road. After 0.7 miles, take a slight right onto Cherokee Orchard Road. Drive 2.2 miles until you enter the one-way Cherokee Orchard Loop. You will drive 0.9 miles on this loop before turning right onto the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. After 0.2 miles, the trailhead will be on your left.

Trail Description

The beginning of the trail starts out with an easy climb. The trail eventually evens out, and you will be able to see views of the mountains and of downtown Gatlinburg except in the summer months when foliage is grown in. About a mile into the hike, you will cross Fern Branch Creek.

baskins fallsAfter crossing the creek, the trail descends with the mountain and still follows alongside the creek. This is where most of the elevation is, because on your way back, you’ll have to hike up this steeper part of the trail. At about 1.1 miles in, the trail splits. If you go left, you will head to Baskins Cemetery. If you want to see the waterfall, you should go right.

The trail crosses another creek, and then has another junction around 1.3 miles. If you continue straight, you will cross Baskins Creek and Roaring Fork Motor Trail. If you go left, you will head towards the waterfall.

The last 50 yards to the waterfall is steep and rocky, making it a little more difficult. But when you see Baskins Falls, it will have been worth it. This waterfall is 40 feet tall and is split into two tiers. People refer to it as one of the most underrated waterfalls in the entire park.

More Information About the Trail

baskins creek falls

Baskins Creek Trail is a great hike if you want to stay away from crowds. Since it is considered off the beaten path, you probably won’t see many people on the trail.

Note that Roaring Fork Motor Trail, the access road to the trailhead, is closed during winter. However, the trailhead is near the beginning of the road, so you could park and walk to the trailhead. Keep up with specific dates of when the road is closed on the National Park Service’s seasonal road closure.

If it has recently rained, the creeks may be higher than normal, and it could be muddy. Use caution when crossing creeks.

The legend of where the trail and waterfall got its name comes from a local hunter named “Bearskin Joe.” Over time, it came to be pronounced Baskins.

You’ll love hiking Baskins Creek Trail when you visit the Smokies. Looking for other short trails to explore? Check out these short hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains!