Hen Wallow Falls and the Gabes Mountain Trail that lead out to it are located near Cosby, TN, a beautiful section of the northeastern area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the main benefits of this area is that it is generally a little less crowded than some of the more popular spots near Cades Cove and Gatlinburg. This gives you an opportunity to soak up some of the scenic mountain beauty without having to fight through the multitude of visitors during the peak visiting times.
Hike out to Hen Wallow Falls
In order to get to Hen Wallow Falls, you need to hike Gabes Mountain Trail, a moderate 4.4-mile round-trip path (2.2 miles each way) that rewards you with up close views of one of the many charming waterfalls that the Smokies are famous for. The trailhead is located at the Cosby Picnic Pavilion, and most of it winds through dense forest. As a bonus, it’s a great place to observe the fall colors if you come during the right season.
Eventually you will come to Hen Wallow Falls, which may not contain the largest volume of water of any falls in the park, but it more than makes up for it with its dramatic height and cascading flow that fans out for 20 feet. The top of the falls reach 90 feet, and it’s a great place to stop for a snack or a light meal before returning to your car or venturing on for a more strenuous hike if you’re up for it. The main trail leads to the top of the falls, and if you want to see it from the base you can take a side trail that veers down some steeper switchbacks.
Enjoy the beauty of the area safely
Hen Wallow Falls and the entire Cosby area contain some truly lovely examples of indigenous Smoky Mountain natural features, and it’s important for everyone to stay safe whether you are taking a quick walk on a nature trail or venturing out for a backpacking adventure. Appropriate footwear is recommend for the hikes in this area. Because many trails in this area connect to the backcountry it’s a hot-spot for wildlife, so remember never to feed any animals, and always properly dispose of or pack out your food and waste. There’s plenty of water features to enjoy responsibly around here, and you’ll want to bring a swimsuit and towel if you plan to explore it. Also, it’s always a good idea to pack a dry pair of socks in case your feet get unexpectedly wet (they will).
Explore more of the natural attractions near the Cosby area
One of the main draws of Cosby is that it offers something for everyone, whether you want to drive up and have a nice afternoon picnic or embark on a serious hike. Even if you aren’t up for the hike to Hen Wallow Falls, there’s still plenty to do and see in the Cosby area that makes it well worth the trip, including the easy-to-walk 1-mile loop Cosby Nature Trail that is perfect for all ages.Consider making your way to a part of the park that some visitors pass by, and you’ll find a wealth of natural beauty and scenic spots that give you a true taste of the Smokies.
You can find more waterfalls along some of the popular trails in the park. See our guide to more Waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And see more outdoor ideas in our Smoky Mountains Activities guide.
For more information see the Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains guide and also Things to Do in Gatlinburg With Kids. We have cabins throughout the area, so you can make your home-away-from-home base station during your stay from among our Wears Valley cabins, our Pigeon Forge rental cabins or our Gatlinburg cabins If the family pet is coming too, see our lists of pet friendly cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.