It’s a late autumn day. The sun is baking the sap in the balsam trees, turning this remote part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into a 50,000-acre incense factory. You reach the ridge after almost two 2 miles and 1,500 vertical feet. You are hot, probably tired. Yet you perceive the rugged Raven Fork of the Oconaluftee River below one mile and 800 vertical feet below. Do you turn around and go back to the vehicle, or take a pull on your canteen and press forward to test other restorative uses for water?
Onward. Enloe Creek is a tiny tributary to the Raven Fork. It’s less than three square miles. Nevertheless, it creates a fall that’s visually appealing, but whose real value seems to be as a trap that collects freestone to keep it from cluttering a tub one step below.
The lower spot is adorable. Perfect for two people. Any more would be a crowd, any fewer a shame. Most of the tub is visible from the trail, however, the small lounging rock appears private enough for an assignation. It’s even deep enough on the extreme left for a shallow dive. This, in a pool less than 12 feet wide.
Notice: Don’t be a chump like I was and take the sucker trail in front of the principal fall. It’s a tough way in. Rather walk 20 yards down and look for a place with a few steep downsteps to the creek. And beware of stinging nettle.