Accessibility – Easy+
Height: Approx 351′
Distance – 2.0 miles (out and back)
Beauty – 8
Photo rating – 7
Solitude – 5
GPS Info: LAT 35.43296 LONG -82.259565
Hickory Nut Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. depending on where you get your height measurement it will fall between 350-400 feet. I’m not sure why there isn’t a more precise or definitive reading but I’ll go with the more conservative measurement until I hear otherwise.
The hike for me began in the upper parking area in front of the gift shop. It came it at 4.0 miles round trip and isn’t overly strenuous. There are some steep sections but for the most part the hike is pretty straightforward. From the gift shop walk down the parking lot through the hairpin turn to the left. After doubling back on itself the road will veer into another hairpin turn to the right. The entrance to the trail is at the apex of this turn. From the overhead trail marker to the falls is 0.6 of a mile. The trail is crushed stone and wide enough to walk 3 abreast. The Four Season’s Trail will intersect on the right before you’ve been walking for more than a few minutes. This is the last side trail you’re going to see. The mountain will be on your left and the precipice on your right.
The trail will end at a set of rough stone steps leading to the base of the falls. You can get a few shots from the trail and a few more from the top of the steps. There is nothing you’re going to do to capture the height of this waterfall. No picture is going to do it justice.