By Jeremy Patton
Meigs Falls is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Sevier County, Tennessee.
I first spotted it while riding west with Shane and Angie on Little River Gorge Road on 6/11/17.
A crowd gathered and took pictures of it from the roadside. It resided about 100 meters across the river and up a ravine. No one had entered the ravine or lingered near the base of the falls, due to its inaccessibility across the waterway. This made it a very desirable destination because other waterfalls accessible from the road, in the most visited park in the United States, would be clogged with tourists.
We walked west for maybe 150 meters where I scouted a wider and more calm stretch of the river, about knee high. I talked Shane into fording it with me. Angie decided to stay in the car.
I put my phone away in a waterproof case, removed my shoes and rolled up my pants. I cursed myself for forgetting my watershoes, but the barefooted wade ended up not being too painful. Shane found two sturdy sticks to aid our balance, then we crossed.
We joined a faint path on the opposite bank and followed it to Meigs Falls. We took numerous photos as we boulder-hopped upstream. The falls roared and was much grander than it had appeared from the road.
We looked back where the crowd watched us, some people waving. It made us feel like Smoky Mountain pioneers and added to the fun. I was convinced, however, that a trail system resided in the vicinity that provided access the waterfall without a river crossing.
On the way back, Shane talked me into fording the river at a different spot. We sank up to our nuts in the frigid water and shrieked like little girls. We received some strange stares as we slogged back to the car, but without a doubt, this side adventure was one of the most enjoyable of the weekend.
I had forgotten to take my wallet out of my back pocket when we crossed the river, so it got soaked. On the return drive to Kentucky, I laid it open and exposed the bills to the wind. They mostly dried out, so it was a successful experiment.
If I find an official trail that passes near Meigs Falls, I will update this article. Be very cautious if you try to ford the river. Crossing it during high water could result in drowning.