Laurel Fork Trail, TN
January 18, 2010
Route: Coon Den Falls Trail to Appalachian Trail to Lacy Trap Trail to Laurel Fork Trail
Distance: 7.2 miles
Conditions: Sunny, but cool and snowy
Impressions: This started off as a great hike, Coon Den Falls is spectacular and very much worth the trip out there...after we descended off the AT on the Lacy Trap Trail, we (girlfriend and i) found ourselves in a little field surrounded by the Laurel Fork...this is where the trip took an unexpected turn for the worse...we had to ford the stream 10 times, the last two with the help of a wire that was stretched over the water...in high water times, which we found ourselves, these fords can be very deep (none were less than knee high and most near or above waist) and moving very fast...extreme caution must be had when fording...the final two that we did with the assistance of the wire were VERY difficult and DANGEROUS...this trail is not recommended in the winter or high water times because of this...we ended up skipping the 11th and 12th fords, opting instead to bushwhack our way over the side of the mountain back to our cars...thankfully i had a GPS unit with us...while i'm all for adventure, this trail is very, very dangerous in the conditions we faced (melting snow and fresh rain water), making this a summertime only trail in my opinion...a fun hike that i will never forget...
Directions to Trailhead:
Drive east on U.S. 321 out of Hampton, Tennessee for 0.8 miles. Turn right onto Dennis Cove Rd. The road is marked with a small, brown national forest campground sign but it's easy to miss. It looks like you're turning into a residential area and you are. Drive on through and the road will head up.
About 4 miles from U.S. 321 will be a small parking area on the left side of the road for the Appalachian Trail and Laurel Falls. The trailhead is 0.6 miles past this on the right. There is no marked parking but if you look close you should spot the trail and blue blazes. The trail is marked as CNF 37. There is room on the right side of the road to pull over and park here. If you reach the Dennis Cove Campground you've gone too far. Turn around and go back about 0.2 miles.
Coon Den Falls