HAMPTON, Tenn (WJHL) – There are very few hikes that look better in the winter, and Coons Den Falls is one of them. Holding high above the trees, this waterfall is usually only partially visible, but in the winter when the leaves die, the full glory of the falls can be seen.
Down the windy Dennis Cove Road, this hike now has a new entrance. Originally the trailhead was placed off the side of the highway, making it dangerous for visitors, but now the entrance has been moved. It is now located right by a new parking lot, making for a safer entrance and a prettier hike.
Keith Kelley, the District Ranger, says before you head to the hike you should always let people know where you’re going, and when you’ll be back. “Before you go on any kind of hike or whatever, I think the best thing to do is file kind of like a ‘flight plan’ just so people know where you’re going and what time you might expect to be back so they have an idea if they haven’t heard from you they can start looking for you and know where you might be.”
The hike up to Coon Den Falls is short, but it is steep. Visitors should also be aware that they will have to hike over creeks, so waterproof shoes are important. After crossing the creek, visitors will notice that the trail splits in two, however, you will always follow the blue trails.
These blue diamond trials indicate something else important though, this is actually a connecting trail to get to the Appalachian Trail. The hike up to Coon Den Falls itself is a little under a mile.
Once you get to the falls, Kelley warns to be careful, especially in the winter. As the water comes off the falls, it freezes on the ground making it extremely slick for hikers. He adds that you should always be careful around the falls, it’s very easy to slip and get caught in the current. So if you are trying to get a picture he says don’t take that extra step, your picture will be just as good.
While hiking in the winter poses some unique views of our region’s hiking locations, it also poses some unique challenges.
It’s important to remember to always dress in layers, and to bring extra layers just in case of an emergency. Also, just because it’s not hot, does not mean you need less water!