Smoky Mountain Trail: Baskin Creek

Vibrant orange trees in fall autumn smoky mountains tennessee

Baskin Creek

Baskin Creek is 2.7 miles, from Trillium Gap Trail. This is a very strenuous hike, only experienced hikers should hike Baskins Creek. To get to Baskin Creek you will park on the side of the Cherokee Orchard Road just before the entrance to Roaring Fork Nature Motor Trail. Walk up Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail 0.2 miles to junction. At Baskins Creek Trail. Turn left onto trail.

Mainly due to the cryptic nature of its trailhead, Baskins Creek Trail is rarely traveled. From the junction. of roaring Fork Motor Trail and Baskins Creek Trail, a segment of the Baskins Creek Trail leads 100 yards to the right where it terminates into Trillium Gap Trail. The trail weaves through an impressive forest of chestnut oaks, red maples, Northern red maples, and Eastern Hemlocks, striped with maples and large blackgums.

At 0.2 miles you climb an easy piney ridge with many trees killed by the Southern pine bark beetle. Descending steeply from the ridge toward Falls Branch, you pass through more pines and an abundance of mountain laurel, in late May and June. Cross Falls Branch on stepping stones at 1 mile. The trail now descends steeper, down a short canyon dug by the rollicking branch.

Baskins Creek Trail intersects another rugged spur to the left at 1.3 miles that is sometimes signed Baskins Creek Falls 1/4 mile. This spur leads past a rock pile and homesite in a broad, flat area, besides the waters at Falls Branch. Tall, even-aged tulip trees mark an old field. The route becomes steep, slippery and dangerous where it cuts down to the base of the falls. If you don’t feel you can make the descent safely, don’t even try it.

The fall pours over a substantial Roaring Fork Sandstone Bluff 25-30′ tall. Baskins Creek Trail climbs steeply through rhododendron, then cuts over to an odd, dry gulch. The climb up the gulch is steep enough to raise a sweat in January. Make frequently stops, to admire the sizeable chestnut oaks and Northern red oaks growing on the slope to the left. Topping the ridge, you will be able to hear the Roaring Fork roar if its flow is high. After a quick descent of the ridge, you come to Bales Cemetery and trails end at Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The cemetery is currently closed for restoration.

You can also hike to the falls from these trailhead 1.5 miles, but starting from the other end is a bit more interesting of a walk. This is a very strenuous hike, only experienced hikers should hike Baskins Creek.