Hiking to Hen Wallow Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains

April 25, 2023

People love hiking to waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains. They’re beautiful no matter how big or small, and it’s a fantastic reward at the end of a hike. While seeing some of the most popular waterfalls can be fun, sometimes you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy nature itself. If you’re looking for that perfect Smoky Mountain hike with a waterfall that’s not too crowded, you should hike to Hen Wallow Falls!

Round Trip Length 4.4 Miles
Elevation Gain 900 Feet
Trail Highlights Waterfalls


To get to Hen Wallow Falls, you will hike along Gabes Mountain Trail. To get to the trailhead from Gatlinburg, you should turn at Light #3 onto 321/73 and travel east for 18.2 miles. The road will dead end into Highway 32. Turn right to head towards Cosby, and drive 1.2 miles until you reach the entrance to the national park. You’ll turn right to enter the park then drive another 2 miles until you come to the Cosby picnic area. Once you park, you’ll cross the street to get to Gabes Mountain Trailhead.

Trail Description

hen wallow falls in the fall

Gabes Mountain Trail starts out climbing Snake Den Mountain. You’ll pass through a beautiful forest of rhododendrons, which are incredible in spring and early summer. There are ferns scattered across the forest floor. You’ll see downed trees covered in fungi, moss covered trees, and possibly small wildlife along the floor and in the air.

Hikers will come up on Rock Creek on the right, and you’ll follow along the creek until the trail crosses over it with a footbridge. After about 1 mile, you’ll come up on old homestead remains, which include an old rock wall. About 1.5 miles in, you’ll pass Messer Gap. There is a gravesite of a woman named Molly Sutton that marks the pass.

At 2.1 miles, you’ll see an access trail that descends down to where Hen Wallow Falls is. The waterfall is gorgeous any time, but it’s especially impressive after a big rain storm. It is also pretty unique, because it stands at 90 feet tall. At the top, the waterfall is about 2 feet wide, but at the bottom, it fans out to 20 feet.

Insider Tips

yellow salamander found in the great smoky mountainsJust enjoying the simple beauty of the forest and the waterfall is a great way to spend the day. But if you want to truly take in all that the Smokies have to offer, keep reading for our insider tips on this hiking trail!

At the bottom of the waterfall, the water flows into a pool. If you look closely in the pool, you might just see some of the famous Smoky Mountain salamanders!

To the right of Hen Wallow Fall, there is a small cave in the ridge. While you can’t enter it, it’s pretty cool to see caves in the mountains!

Gabes Mountain Trail is known for bear activity, so you will want to be educated on how to handle bear sightings. Check out our safety tips for spotting black bears in the Smoky Mountains!

Now you know all about hiking to Hen Wallow Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains! You’ll love the serenity and quietness of the Cosby area since it’s away from the more popular areas of the park. Want to see even more unusual waterfalls? Check out these unique Smoky Mountain waterfalls for even more fun!