“hike to this gorgeous waterfall”
Water flow over either falls is heaviest in the spring, especially after a rainstorm. This, combined with some wildflowers and lots of rhododendron, makes this a good hike from mid-April to late May. From the brown-roofed kiosk in the parking lot, the gravel-covered trail drops as it curves left, quickly swinging back to the right through an area of picnic tables and grills. On the left is Frogtown Creek, a clear mountain stream with some scenic riverbank views. About 0.1 mile into the trail the path turns left on a paved road that curves around to the right with a bridge crossing Frogtown Creek on the left at the campground host site. Lower Desoto Falls After crossing the wooden structure with hand rails, the trail splits at a sign describing the origin of the name. Turn left and begin a short, easy-to-moderate switched-back climb to the Lower Falls. After a large rock outcrop the trail turns right and climbs the final 50 feet to a view platform almost directly underneath the falls, which combines free-falling water and steep cascades to careen some 35 feet into a small pool. Although they cannot be seen, the river continues to cascade sharply down the mountain after the falls. Retrace your steps to the bridge. Continue straight on what was once an old logging road as it meanders through a wide floodplain of the river, which is on the right. After a tributary joins Frogtown Creek on the right side, the path begins the first of three easy climbs as the trail begins to "roll" in a manner similar to the AT in Virginia. Massive stands of rhododendron cover the path at times, and the occasionally visible waterway continues to make a pleasing gurgle throughout the hike. Just over 1.4 miles into the hike the trail crosses a bridge and you can see the falls on the left. Stepping off the bridge the Forest Service sign that indicates the trail to the upper falls is closed is straight ahead. Turn left and make the easy ascent to the viewing deck. The falls begin as a straight drop from the center of a ledge, three times hitting ledges which only briefly slow the inevitable trip to a small clear pond at the bottom. After viewing the falls, retrace your steps to the car.
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