Hike #20 of 52 – Porters Creek Trail to Fern Creek Falls – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN

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After hiking to Grotto Falls on the Trillium Gap trail, Mom and I took a quick lunch break in Gatlinburg and then decided to tackle one more warm-up type hike for the day.  After consulting with our maps and guide books, we settled on the 4-mi roundtrip Porters Creek Trail to Fern Creek Falls.

The road to the Porters Creek trailhead was super narrow and rocky, with some parts being so narrow that there were warnings posted for cars to wait and see if anyone was coming before heading down particular stretches.  It made me feel a touch more secure that we were in a vehicle that could off-road if we were to meet a large SUV barreling down the road the other way.  Eventually we reached a one-way loop that led to the trailhead.

With another very gradual gradient of less than 700-ft of climb, the trail started off as gravel, but then eventually became a single-track dirt path.  Approximately .6-mi in, we passed an old stone fence and very steep stairs, which are all that remain of an old homestead, and then shortly after was an old cemetery, which had a lot of tombstones with dates in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  Interestingly, a large number of tombstones had the year of death as 1909.  Mom and I tried to look up in books and online what happened in 1909 that would have caused so many deaths (i.e. natural disaster, disease, etc.), but weren’t able to find anything.

Overall, I think Mom and I decided that the hike was OK – not bad by any means, but also not very exciting either.  I will say that it’s a very easy trail to navigate for people of all ages and levels of physicality, so it would work well as less crowded family and/or group hike.

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