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Rock Slab Falls

A gentle waterfall flowing over smooth rocks sparkling with bands of quartz, Rock Slab Falls is a former logging camp littered with reminders of those who used to call it home.

Fed by Forney Creek, the falls features a long, two-part slide, with each section standing at about 25 feet high. Iron pipes, railroad fragments, and even an old wheel and axle from a train car litter the grounds around the falls, evidence of the former community. Among the fresh-smelling Fraser fir-red spruce trees surrounding Rock Slab Falls, hikers can also expect to see Rugel’s ragwort, a rare, cream-colored wildflower that only grows in the highest elevations of the Smoky Mountains.

Contact Information

Get Directions 35.54707, -83.51402
Photo of Rock Slab Falls

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Hike Description

Begin the hike on the far western end of the parking area between the information kiosk and the paved trail leading to the Clingmans Dome tower. You’ll descend on Forney Ridge Trail for 275 yards to a junction with Clingmans Dome Bypass Trail. Turn left at the junction to remain on Forney Ridge Trail and hike the exceedingly rocky 1-mile route to the junction with Forney Creek Trail.

Turn right on Forney Creek Trail and begin the continuous moderate descent to the falls. At about 1.4 miles from Forney Ridge Trail, you’ll reach a side stream. Don’t cross here, even though it may look like you should. Instead, cross the tiny braid onto the little island, walk downstream a few yards, then cross back over the braid and continue the hike on the river-right side of the creek. In another 0.5 mile, you’ll cross Forney Creek just below a scenic cascade. You’ll then make the first brief ascent of the entire hike, then descend via a left-hand switchback to reach the creek near the falls. A short side path leads to the base. Another path leads up to the base of the upper drop.

Trails and Waterfalls can be dangerous; take no chances, only photos for memories. Read our Safety and Insider tips to have a safe, fun and enjoyable trip to Jackson County.

Leave No Trace — Seven Principles

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

For more details, visit
©1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

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