540 – Gunter Fork Falls

Accessibility – Hard

Height – 65-70′

Distance – 16.8 miles RT

Beauty – 3

Photo rating – 2

Solitude – 4

GPS Info: LAT 35.69638 LONG -83.19599

First visit: 05-24-2019


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From Mouse Creek Falls, return to the Big Creek Trail and resume the walk upstream. In a tenth of a mile a metal bridge will cross Big Creek and the trail will continue on river right for a while. The hike to the far side of the bridge is 2.26 miles from the trailhead and slightly more than a quarter mile from Mouse Creek Falls. Hopefully you’re tracking this hike but if you’re not, 5.1 miles from the TH the Swallow Fork Trail meets the Big Creek Trail shortly before Big Creek Trail crosses the creek at campsite #37.

Ignore the Swallow GFork Trail and stay on the Big Creek Trail and cross the creek to the next trail intersection. At this point the Low Gap trail comes on on the right.This point is 5.25 miles from the trailhead and thus far you have gained 1400 feet in elevation. The point where the Low Gap and Big Creek Trails meet the name changes to the Camel Gap Trail and continues upstream. You will pass campsite #36 in around half a mile and half a mile from that the Camel Gap Trail is intersected by the Gunter Fork trail. You should be very close to 35.71009 -83.17621.

Make a left onto the Gunter Fork Trail and when you get to Big Creek you will have to cross. there is no bridge at this crossing and if the water is up, you will be taking a risk getting across. The remainder of the hike will be on the not nearly as nice Gunter Fork Trail. At 7.87 miles from the TH, the trail will come to a small side path on the right that leads down to the Waterfall on Gunter Fork. It is a small sliding waterfall with a great swimming hole. I like it better than Gunter Fork Falls. Well, we’ve come this so let’s get this over with. Return to the trail hike head upstream for less than 0.2 of a mile to where the trail crosses below Gunter Fork Falls.

The waterfall is about 70 feet high and totally un-photogenic. Most of the falls is a giant sloping rock with a freefall at the top. From the base, the freefall seems about as far away as your car but have no fear, you can enter the woods on river left and make your way up to the flat area between the sloped rock and the free fall. It’s kind of neat up there and the way the rock is eroded is cool. Otherwise, you have hiked  long way for a meh result.

It’s only 8.04 miles back to the car from here. I included three images to get you fired up for this one!

DSC_20958DSC_20959DSC_20967

 

 

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