Baskins Creek Falls, Baskins Creek Trailhead, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

Baskins Creek Falls - 3.0 miles

Baskins Creek Trailhead

Baskin Creek Falls

Baskin Creek Falls

Round-Trip Length: 3.0 miles
Start-End Elevation: 2,763' - 2,166' (2,895' max elevation)
Elevation Change: -597' net elevation loss (+871' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Baskins Creek Falls - 3.0 Miles Round-Trip

Baskins Creek Falls is located 1.5 miles from Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The name is derived from a local hunter known as Bear Skin Joe, whose Appalachian pronunciation evolved over time into the 'Baskins' we recognize today.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

This 30', two tier fall is located in a rugged corridor .2 miles off the Baskins Creek Trail. It sees lighter traffic than nearby Grotto Falls and Rainbow Falls, making it a great choice during busy periods. Visitors will enjoy lush forests, spectacular laurel blooms and a side trip to Baskins Cemetery on the hike to Baskins Creek Falls.

The Baskins Creek Trail is 2.7 miles long, and accessible from two different points along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail Road. This description begins at the first access point and drops to the falls:

The trail begins on a mild climb in a thick understory of hickory, dogwood and laurel. Laurel blooms are prolific by mid-May, a compelling reason to visit in itself.

Maple, poplar, silverbell and beech form a vine-laced canopy. The trail crests at .4 miles (2,895') and drops sharply to a small tributary (.85 miles : 2,543'). It continues steeply to the forest floor, where grades moderate to the Baskins Cemetery spur (1.1 miles : 2,353').

Travel eases to the Baskins Falls spur (1.3 miles : 2,275'), which veers left and is soon enveloped by rhododendron on a steep, rugged descent to Baskins Creek Falls (1.5 miles : 2,166').

The viewing area is cluttered with deadfall, boulders and rhododendron; still, there's plenty of room to maneuver, particularly up the far side to a rock terrace that splits the fall in two. While the drop pool is small and shallow, it's easy to reach and wade.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N35 40.647 W83 28.710 — 0.0 miles : Baskin Creek Trailhead
  • N35 40.991 W83 28.718 — .5 miles : Steady drop in heavy forest
  • N35 41.214 W83 28.800 — .85 miles : Cross creek, continue descent
  • N35 41.399 W83 28.807 — 1.1 miles : Baskin Creek Cemetery spur
  • N35 41.576 W83 28.789 — 1.3 miles : Baskin Creek Falls spur
  • N35 41.711 W83 28.944 — 1.5 miles : Baskin Creek Falls

Worth Noting

  • Though Baskin Creek Falls sees lighter traffic than nearby Grotto Falls and Rainbow Falls, anticipate heavy traffic and limited parking along the one-way access road.

  • It's said that local residents used to use the falls as a shower.

  • Allow extra time for the 730' climb back to the trailhead.

  • Photographers will enjoy favorable light on the falls, even on sunny days.

  • Bears are active along the heavily vegetated Baskins Creek corridor.

Camping and Backpacking Information


Great Smoky Mountains National Park requires a permit and advance reservations for all backcountry camping in the park. Before planning your backcountry trip, please read through this important information about reservations and permits, regulations, bear safety, trail closures, and more.

Reserve your Backcountry or Thru Hike permits here:

Please direct questions concerning backpacking trip planning to the Backcountry Information Office at (865) 436-1297. Phone calls are the preferred method of contact. The information office is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). In addition to answering your backpacking questions, the experienced backpackers in the Backcountry Information Office can provide you with tips to make your trip safe and enjoyable.

Backpackers and hikers are subject to all Backcountry Rules and Regulations. Failure to abide by park regulations may subject you to a fine under Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations. Maximum fine for each violation is $5,000 and/or 6 months in jail.

General Backcountry Regulations

1. Camping is permitted only at designated backcountry campsites and shelters.

2. You may not stay at any backcountry campsite for more than 3 consecutive nights. You may not stay consecutive nights at campsite 113 or at any shelter.

3. Maximum party size is 8. Two parties affiliated with the same group may not stay in the same campsite or at the same shelter on the same night(s). Special permits may be issued for a few sites that accommodate parties of up to 12.

4. Fires are only allowed at designated campsites and shelters and must be contained in a fire ring. Constructing new fire rings is prohibited. You may only burn wood that is dead and already on the ground. You may not cut any standing wood.

5. It is illegal to possess firewood originating from a location from which a federal or state firewood quarantine is in effect. Read information about this quarantine and the states affected.

6. Building a fire in the fireplace of any historic structure or removing any parts of a historic structure, including brick or rock, is illegal.

7. Backcountry permit holders may not use tents at shelters.

8. Hammocks may only be used within designated backcountry campsites. They may not be used inside shelters and may not be attached to shelters in any way.

9. All odorous items (e.g., food, trash, lip balm, toothpaste, stock feed, hay etc) must be hung on the bear cable system at each campsite or shelter.

10. Human waste must be disposed of at least 100 feet from any campsite, shelter, water source or trail and must be buried in a hole at least 6 inches deep.

11. All food, trash, clothing, equipment or personal items must be packed out.

12. Burning food, trash or anything other than dead wood is prohibited.

13. Carving into or defacing trees, signs, shelters or other backcountry features is illegal.

14. Soap, even biodegradable soap, may not be used in any water sources. Bathing and washing dishes should be done well away from water sources and campsites.

15. No dogs or other pets are allowed on any park trails except the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. No dogs or other pets may be carried into the backcountry.

16. No motorized vehicles are allowed in the backcountry.

17. No hunting is allowed anywhere in the park

18. Feeding, touching or teasing wildlife is prohibited. You may not willfully approach within 50 yards (150 feet) of elk or bears.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted year-round, from 30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset.

  • The park allows fishing in all streams except Bear Creek at its junction with Forney Creek, and Lynn Camp Prong upstream of its confluence with Thunderhead Prong.

  • A valid fishing license from Tennessee or North Carolina is required to fish in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Either state license is valid throughout the park and no trout stamp is required. Fishing licenses and permits are not available in the park, but may be purchased in nearby towns or online.

  • Daily Possession Limits: Five (5) brook, rainbow or brown trout, smallmouth bass, or a combination of these, each day or in possession, regardless of whether they are fresh, stored in an ice chest, or otherwise preserved. The combined total must not exceed five fish. Twenty (20) rock bass may be kept in addition to the above limit. A person must stop fishing immediately after obtaining the limit.

  • Size Limits: Brook, rainbow, and brown trout: 7 inch minimum. Smallmouth bass: 7 inch minimum. Rockbass: no minimum. Trout or smallmouth bass caught less than the legal length shall be immediately returned to the water from which it was taken.

  • Lures, Bait, and Equipment: Fishing is permitted only by the use of one hand-held rod. Only artificial flies or lures with a single hook may be used. Dropper flies may be used, with up to two flies on a leader.

Rules and Regulations

  • There is no entrance fee to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  • Pets, motorized vehicles, and bicycles are not permitted on backcountry trails in GSMNP.

  • Leashed pets are allowed in developed areas and along roads, but are not allowed on park trails.

Directions to Trailhead

The Baskin Creek Trailhead is located 3.8 miles from downtown Gatlinburg TN on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail Road.

From downtown Gatlinburg, turn south onto Airport Blvd from light #8. Airport Blvd turns into Cherokee Orchard Road as it enters GSMNP. Just past the Rainbow Falls lot (3.3 miles from light #8), turn right at the sign for Grotto Falls (3.6 miles).

The Baskin Creek Trailhead is located just after this turn on the left side of the road. Drive safely on these narrow, winding roads. Note this is a one way road, and you'll be deposited onto Highway 321 on the return from the trailhead, several miles east of where you entered on Airport / Cherokee Orchard Road.

Contact Information

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Visitor Information - Recorded Message

Backcountry Office - Camping and Reservations
The Backcountry Reservation Office is open from 8 am - 6 pm daily (EST)

Backcountry Information Office - Trip Planning Questions
The information office is open daily 9 am - 12n (EST)

Oconaluftee Visitor Center (North Carolina side - south entrance)

Sugarlands Visitor Center (Tennessee side - north entrance)

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"Quite nice, going in. Watch those water crossings, as there are no foot logs or bridges. The best access to view the falls is by crossing the run-off from the falls, which may be deep water, or covered in downed trees, and boulders. I was the only one who crossed over! The climb out is what will get you. Thankfully, we are all seniors and enjoyed the frequent rest stops to catch our collective breath. We found quite a few Pink Lady Slippers! And the Mountain Laurel are beginning to bloom!!"
Pat  -   -  Date Posted: May 5, 2016
"Very strenuous hike due to rapid elevation changes"
Guy  -  Seymour tn  -  Date Posted: April 17, 2016


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