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Stinging Fork Pocket Wilderness Professional Review and Guide
"This trail through Bowater’s small Stinging Fork Pocket Wilderness descends from the plateau-top to the base of a 30-foot fan-shaped waterfall on Stinging Fork Creek. Nearby Newby Branch Forest Camp offers camping.Enter the woods just to the left of the pocket wilderness sign and walk through a planted pine forest along a moss-lined trail trimmed with mountain laurel. At 1.0 mile a side trail left leads to Indian Head Point for a view across the gorge and Stinging Fork Creek below. Continue on the main trail and descend through boulder fields on switchbacks and wooden steps; blue arrows on trees mark the way. Below to the trail’s left, Stinging Fork Creek cascades around the bend, then makes its 30-foot fall."
--Russ Manning, 40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland (The Mountaineers Books).
Trails starts out great, the climb down and out are moderate and if you go after a fairly decent rain the trail will be fairly slick.
One set of stairs is missing a step and is starting to rot from being in constant contact with water dripping from rocks next to it.
But the climb in and out is well worth it once you get to the bottom in the little valley where the creek is. There are several twists and bends in the creek and it sounds amazing, as well as a small 'water slide' type feature that drops off into a small blue hole (around 12' diameter) perfect for swimming.
The Falls themselves are beautiful though, and the blue hole is more than inviting. After the storms recently though several trees and other debris have built up in the creek.
The trail isn't very busy, so chances are when you go you will be the only people on the trail. Great place to spend the day though.
The day was overcast but beautiful. The trail to the falls was moderate, but the climb out of the falls was quite difficult. Just bring your long, strong legs. The falls was as far as we went, but the beauty of the falls was a feast for the senses. Go soon!
The trail was pretty much as described -- quite easy at the beginning, more difficult as it enters the canyon. Starting back up we lost the trail at one point, but quickly found it again by keeping close to the creek. Our only regret was the low volume of water coming over the falls as a result of the dry weather, but we will definitely go back.
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