Tucked away on a road closed to through traffic, the route to Stinging Fork Falls is probably quiet most of the time.
Not this time, however. Today, thanks to a ribbon cutting and the anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the parking lot was full and I saw many people coming back as I hiked forward.
I recommend the hike to the falls as a fairly short walk with excellent payoff after rain. Granted recent rain also made the trail’s rocks slippery, and the descent is somewhat steep.
The trail continues along Soak Creek in the other direction eventually rising back up. As it’s a new part of the Cumberland Trail, it’s marked by ribbons not blazes but the trail already has stone steps laid down by volunteers. The recent rain meant occasionally crossing cascades and at one point, I even saw a salamander run from underneath a rock.
I did not reach the end of this new Cumberland Trail section. It was built too recently to include in my book Wildly Strolling Along, which I promoted shamelessly to everyone who walked by. Still, I plan to return.
The entrance is on Shut in Gap Road near Spring City.
This page from the Cumberland Trail Conference is outdated, but it shows the trail head and the route to the falls. The new trail heads to the right along Soak Creek while the falls route as shown here is to the left.