Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Indian Flats Falls hike

A couple weeks ago we hiked in the Tremont area of the Smokies in effort to check another waterfall of our list. There'd been a hard rain previously, the day was mostly cloudy and we anticipated showers and good water flow at the falls - we weren't wrong.
The access to Indian Flats Falls is via Middle Prong Trail, an old railroad bed which parallels Lynn Camp Prong. It is just under 4 miles to reach the Falls, but if you don't want to go the whole distance there are many attractive little cascades to enjoy along the way.
Heavy rain had contributed to a fresh rock slide near the beginning of the trail.... that large rock is about the size of a bean bag chair.












A nice bench to view Lynn Camp Prong Cascade.





Rain did fall, slowly at first then progressed to a steady downpour then sporadic showers - we broke out the ponchos and continued onward.



Some serious force to pile these huge rocks.



A small creek falls on the right of the trail, runs under it and feeds into Lynn Camp Prong.







By now it was really raining hard and as we approached from a distance I saw the handrails of this bridge and thought maybe we could shelter underneath it until the downpour slacked off.... then again, maybe not.





When you get to the downed log across the trail, look for a well-worn footpath to the right for viewing the old car.

At 2.3 miles is the intersection with Panther Creek Trail, which branches off on the other side of the swiftly flowing Lynn Camp Prong... one would get majorly wet crossing there on this day.


A brick chimney still stands.




Old fire ring behind a tree growing on top of a rock in a wide clearing. Iron rail is nearby.


Occasional bursts of color punctuate an otherwise green and brown landscape.





The trail bed becomes quite rocky along the way and by the return trip I'd developed a stone bruise on my left arch, which was uncomfortable but not unmanageable.

A wooden bridge crosses the river at about 3.5 miles, then you climb a few switchbacks to a wide muddy spot with a scraped tree (probably from horses being tied to it). To the back and right of that tree is the narrow footpath to Indian Flats Falls. Use caution as the footing is a little treacherous in spots, especially when wet.


The falls are quite wonderful and have a nice little area to spread out and enjoy the atmosphere. We spotted a crawfish in the shallows. I took off my shoes and waded for a couple minutes until the icy waters made my feet numb.... yeah, in August. Then some aggressive honey bees discovered us and sent us packing along.

Video at the falls - showing the main/upper portion of 4 drop-offs, then panning over to the second drop-off.
video
We encountered several groups and an individual moving toward the falls as we headed back. Always pays to get an early start, as we are finding it more common to encounter folks on nearly all trails lately. Summertime + the most-visited national park = running into others is just about inevitable these days.

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