Laurel Falls (information used from Great Smoky Mountains National Park resources)
“Laurel Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park and parking at the trailhead is limited. The area is especially busy on weekends year-round and on weekdays during summer. Laurel Branch and the 80-foot high Laurel Falls are named for mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub which blooms along the trail and near the falls in May.
The trail is 2.6 miles roundtrip and considered moderate in difficulty. The trail is paved and is suitable for strollers.
Access trail: Laurel Falls Trail
Trailhead: From Sugarlands Visitor Center, turn toward Cades Cove on Little River Road and drive 3.5 miles to the trailhead where there are parking areas on both sides of the road.”
The literature said “2.6 miles roundtrip and the trail is paved.”
Sounded good to us! We could do it!
We didn’t realize, however, the “paved trail” was a STEEP UP HILL climb. OH. MY. GOODNESS.
Along the way, we stopped VERY BRIEFLY to photograph the bear that was enjoying lunch at a near by tree.
Sorry about the quality on the bear photo. I simply didn’t hang around long enough to properly composed or expose the shot. (Taken with a 105 mm lens; cropped only enough to get rid of lens vignetting.)
This particular outing was one of those that we’re glad we did it, but probably won’t do again. I’ll bet you know the feeling.