Looking for a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch while you are in the Townsend, TN area? The 1.9-mile hike to the Spruce Flats Falls may be just what you are looking for. The trail is moderate and may be challenging for smaller children, but older kids and adults should have no problem. Along the way, you will encounter some steep, rocky sections of trail, especially as you reach the end of the trail at the falls.
What to Expect on Your Trip to the Spruce Flats Falls
While this is one of the less commonly hiked trails, the journey is more than worth the effort. The trailhead begins as the Great Smoky Mountain Institute. You need to park on the right side to find the trailhead. The trail to Spruce Flats Falls branches off of the Buckeye Trail, but your journey starts on the Lumber Ridge Trail. You have to look for the sign that says “Falls Trail” as you won’t find the trail listed on any maps.
The trail to the Falls tends to be like most in the area with more than its fair share of roots, rocks, and foot traps. You must keep an eye out as you go unless, of course, you want to twist an ankle. At one point, you have to cross Bull Branch and then do your best log walking trick across a log with steps cut into it. Once you cross the log, it’s just a short trip down to the bottom of the Spruce Flats Falls.
Although the trail might not show up on maps, the falls are relatively popular among waterfall enthusiasts and nature photographers. Not only is the early morning light the perfect time to view the falls, it is also the perfect time to take awe-inspiring photographs.
The Spruce Flats Falls
The Spruce Flats Falls drop 30 feet over four stages into the pond below. The pool is the perfect place for a cool refreshing swim after the hike down to it on a hot summer day. This is also the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing family picnic. There is plenty of shade in which to relax and then take an afternoon dip in the pool below the falls before heading back out. Just remember, if you pack it in, pack it out: don’t leave your mess behind, including your kids!
While the trail to the falls may be a little steep in places for some families, those of you who like to “backpack” your littlest ones should have no problem. With so much shade and a good sunblock, your kids can hang out and play to their heart’s content. There are a number of smaller pools that are perfect for letting the kids wade in and chase salamanders under a watchful eye.
Although Spruce Flats Falls is not one of the better-known waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains, it is quite beautiful and well worth making a day hike out of your journey. Pack a tasty picnic, take the family, and make the most out of getting back to nature.
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