Hiking in Appalachia: How to Avoid Disaster


It is no secret that the Appalachian Mountains are known for beautiful trails and hiking. From Blood Mountain to Buckeye Trail, beauty and adventure can be seen. Amid beauty, danger can be looming.


Many people are expressing through social media how hiking can be dangerous, and how to avoid danger, that could potentially save a life.

In the Facebook group, “East Tennessee Hiking and Outdoors,” a member named Jared Matthew Jarvis shared tips on how to prevent accidents or even death while hiking.


The post was in response of a recent death and the numerous injuries reported at Red Fork Falls in Unicoi, Tennessee. Red Fork Falls stands at around 25 feet tall and is a notably beautiful waterfall in the East Tennessee/Appalachian Region.


As said, beauty can be dangerous. A news release was distributed by WJHL in early September informing that a fatality occurred at Red Fork Falls. The WJHL article states, “Search and rescue leaders told News Channel 11 it was one of the most difficult recoveries.”


Red Fork Falls is not primarily recognized by the forest service, meaning there is a possibility for fatalities and injuries.


Jarvis explains seven tips in the post that may save someone’s life.

“Know your ability, wear the proper footwear, leave the kids and pets at home, hike with at least 1-2 people, always carry first aid, stay off the rock shelves, and simply don’t hike here,” Jarvis stated on the post.


Eric Payne, Assistant Director of Outdoor Adventure at East Tennessee State University, shares some of his own tips when hiking.


“The number one cause of injury and death to hikers is playing at the top of waterfalls,” Payne said. “If you are going to go to a waterfall, play at the bottom of it.”


Stabilizing yourself is also important when hiking.


“Anytime you are near water in nature, you have to be careful around what is slippery,” Payne said. “You need three points of contact.”


When out hiking, stay informed of facts that will eliminate the possibility of injury or even death. Please stay on approved trails, know the key points of avoiding injury, and the hike will be smooth.