Chasteen Creek Cascade is a 30′ waterfall. Due to the very gradual decent, it’s technically a cascade, hence the name. Regardless, it’s really beautiful, and surrounded by dense woods, with lots of wildflowers.
Chasteen Creek Cascade is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trailhead for Bradley Fork Trail to the cascade (or waterfall) is located in the Smokemont Campground.
Bradley Fork Trail begins right at the parking area, next to Bradley Fork, which runs beside the trail and campground. Shortly after you begin your hike, a trail will merge in from the right. This trial leads up to the parking area for Smokemont Church. Just continue straight.
At the quarter mile mark, the Tow String Horse Trail will merge in from the right. From this point forward, you’ll be sharing the trail with horses. We did this hike in early June, and due to the manure, the bugs were really heavy, and we found ourselves having to watch our step very closely.
Bradley Fork trail is actually an old roadbed and logging road, and it’s easy to see that from the width of the trial. The trail follows alongside the Bradley Fork of the Ocanaluftee river. Bradley Fork is gorgeous, with lots of rocks, clear water, and moss everywhere. We would encourage you to take the smaller side trails down to the creek.
You’ll cross three different creeks while hiking up Bradley Fork Trail. After the third crossing, at about the 1 mile mark, you’ll cross a bridge over Chasteen Creek, and then shortly after, you’ll reach a Y in the trail, and Chasteen Creek Trail will head to the right. Go right onto Chasteen Creek Trail. There is a sign, although it’s a little confusing.
You’ll note right away that Chasteen Creek trail isn’t an old roadbed, but a real trail, as it is much more narrow. You’ll also note Backcountry Campsite 50 to you right. The campsite looked full when we were there, and looked like a really nice backcountry campsite.
The trail begins a very gradual incline at this point, up to Chasteen Creek Cascade. This is nice section of trail, and you’ll hear Chasteen Creek on your left all the way up. If you look closely, you’ll find lots of wildflowers in the woods on either side of the trail.
Right at 1.8 miles you’ll reach another Y. A clearly not frequently used trail will continue up and to the right, and more well used trail to the left. Go left. Within a few feet you’ll see horse hitching posts. Walk past these and Chasteen Creek will be in front of you, and small trail will lead up and to your right. Take this very short trail to the Chasteen Creek Cascade.
If you have small children, be careful here. The trail is narrow, with a pretty sharp drop to the left.
Chasteen Creek Cascade technically isn’t a waterfall, due to the fact the water really runs down an inclining series of rocks. Hence the name Cascade. Regardless, this 30′ tall cascade is really pretty, with a number of small pools at the base.
There is an large log here in front the cascade that makes for a great resting spot, to take a break, enjoy the sights and sounds, and eat some food.
In order to get some better photos, we crossed over the creek. Be real careful if you do this, as the rocks are slick. The water is cold, but really refreshing after the hike.
To return back to the parking, just go back the way you came.