Tom Branch Falls
Be sure to see this one in winter or early spring, as the post-rain flows make it one of the most beautiful in the Smokies, while in summer, overflowing foliage can obstruct it from the views of passing hikers.
Tom Branch, which feeds the multilevel, 75-foot cascade, is named for Tom Wiggins, the operator of a gristmill on the stream between for nearly 40 years during the second half of the 19th century.
The trail, a continuation of the paved road, turns to gravel beyond the turnaround. If you’re hiking in summer, pay close attention because you’ll walk right by the waterfall if the sign is missing. Look for a little clearing at a large oak tree beside Deep Creek. The waterfall drops into Deep Creek from the opposite mountainside.
Leave No Trace -- Seven Principles1. 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 www.lnt.org
©1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
Heed posted warning signs indicating danger and stay on established trails. Never climb on or around waterfalls and never play in the water above a waterfall. Rocks can be slippery and it's easy to lose your balance especially with bare feet. Currents near waterfalls can be extremely swift even in areas further upstream. Never jump off waterfalls or dive into plunge pools at the base of waterfalls. Rocks and logs can be hidden beneath the surface of the water. Often waterfall pools have swirling water or currents that can drag and keep you underwater. Even if you have seen other people enjoy playing around waterfalls, be aware they have been lucky to escape unharmed. Waterfalls are constantly changing with varying water flows and erosion of the rocks around them. The current from one place to the next may be faster than you anticipate and the arrangement of rocks or other debris such as logs in the plunge pool is ever changing.