Saturday, October 24, 2015

Waterfalls of the Cherokee Indian Qualla Boundary

After my three short hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I had to pass through the Cherokee Indian Qualla Boundary (Cherokee Reservation). There were two waterfalls shown on my map that are located on the Qualla Boundary. Both waterfalls happened to be on my route home and so I stopped at both of them.

The first I stopped at was Mingo Falls.
Mingo Falls
There is a short, but steep walk up some stairs to visit Mingo Falls, which at 120 feet tall is one of the highest in the Southern Appalachians. The falls were impressive. The graffiti and trash along the trail, not so much. It does give one an idea of what many of the attractions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park would look like if they had not been protected by the National Park Service.

After my visit to Mingo Falls, I made my way through Cherokee and then east towards Maggie Valley. Right alongside US-19 is Soco Falls.
Soco Falls
Just like Mingo Falls, Soco Falls is very impressive, a double waterfall really. There is a somewhat maintained trail that leads to a viewing platform which offers a nice view. For the more adventurous, there is a set of ropes rigged that one can use like a handrail to descend down to the base of the falls.
Soco Falls from near bottom
Just like at Mingo Falls, there is quite a bit of garbage strewn about. Still a visit is worthwhile, especially since the falls are right off the road.  

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