Chacos in the Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Location: Hen Wallow Falls in Cosby, TN – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Some say that the best view comes after the hardest climb. After this hike, I absolutely agree. While Austin and I were on our road trip to Kentucky from South Carolina, we planned to stop for a hike in the Smoky Mountains before spending the night in Knoxville, Tennessee. We didn’t anticipate having trouble finding the trailhead and not getting started on our hike until 7pm.

(Note: Access to Hen Wallow Falls is through the Gabes Mountain Trail. To reach the trailhead, park in the designated hiker parking at Cosby Picnic Area. Then backtrack on foot approximately 100 yards along the road until you read the sign marking the start of the Gabes Mountain Trail.)

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Even though it was getting late, we decided to start hiking anyway with a promise to turn around before reaching the waterfall if it started getting dark. Chaco was amazing to send me a pair of their ZX/2 Sandals to try and review and I knew they would be perfect for short summer hikes. Since 1989, Chaco has been creating premium footwear and their simple, timeless sandals for the outdoor-minded because they believe life is enriched through adventure, travel, and community. Now that is a purpose and a mission I can get behind. After breaking my Chacos in for two weeks prior, I was excited and ready to take them out on their first hike.

Smoky Mountains Chacos

I will be perfectly honest. This was a hard hike. Hard as in this-hike-kicked-my-butt. Even after hiking most weekends and training on inclines on the hotel treadmill, this was no easy climb for me. Albeit, I wasn’t feeling well and had been sitting in a car all day, but still. Even though this hike was one of the most beautiful I had been on, it was a huge test of my strength, endurance, and ability to put mind-over-matter.

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Outfit Details:  Moon Cycle Tee – United By Blue | Nike shorts – secondhand | ZX/2 Sandal – Chaco

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Sometimes the happiest of pictures are just a bit blurry and happen right when you just crossed a creek. My first Chaco-Creek-Crossing was a success.

Smoky Mountains Chacos

With our first creek behind us, we ventured onward. There wasn’t time to slow down as we raced the setting sun.

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

The hike to the falls was just over two miles and it was getting later. We had a set time to turn around to make it back by dark, but by the time it arrived, we were only 0.2 miles away. Could we come so close just to turn around right before reaching the waterfall? Absolutely not.

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

This glorious waterfall was worth every agonizing step it took to get there.

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Even though the sun was setting and we still had a two mile hike back, we took some time to pause, rest, and take in the beauty of the moment at Hen Wallow Falls.

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Chacos are shoes that truly are fit for adventure.

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

My Chacos have a fantastic tread that doesn’t slip and I love how the straps don’t allow the shoes to flop around on my feet. (I’m so glad I got the ones with the toe strap!) It’s amazing and life-changing and all sorts of wonderful to be able to walk through water and splash around in a waterfall without even a second thought. Even after two weeks of wearing them constantly before the hike, though, my feet still got pretty shredded and I developed some rather nasty blisters. Most people say that Chacos take about two months before they break in fully, though. Since Hen Wallow Falls, those blisters have turned into callouses and I can now wear my Chacos pain-free so I have high hopes for future blister-less hikes.

Smoky Mountains Chacos

Smoky Mountains Chacos

The hike back was primarily downhill so it was significantly easier and incredibly faster. Still, as dusk descended and our light faded, we felt like we had to race to make it down before the sun did. Our hike ended at 9pm right as the sun was dipping below the horizon and, even though there was nothing easy about this hike, finding such a stunning and secluded waterfall was the highlight of our road trip. My Chacos passed their first test and Austin and I completed our first Together Hike in the Smoky Mountains. I’d call that a success.

Do you have a favorite hike in the Smoky Mountains National Park?

Are you a Chacos-wearer too? Do you wear yours for hiking?

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  • Alexis Luu

    That looks like a lot of fun! I love hiking 🙂 I need to find more places in Virginia to go to!

    • There are so many beautiful hikes in Virginia! My favorites are in the Shenandoah Valley and along the Potomac River.

  • I love Chacos so much, I have definitely been trying to get my hands on a pair for a while now!

    • You should definitely take the plunge! I waited a long time to try Chacos, but now I can’t imagine summer adventures without them. They are perfect for wet hikes, boat rides, and kayaking adventures.

  • Sarah Twain

    Those look like some great and sturdy sandals- last time I went hiking in sandals they got swept away by the river :/ woops

    • Oh no! I almost lost so many sandals at the beaches where I grew up in Southern California. Thankfully, these Chacos strap on so they aren’t going anywhere. 😉

  • Leah Hall

    Those look like great sandals in a great setting! I just hate getting my feet dirty while hiking, haha!

    • Yeah… sandals don’t really keep your feet clean. I’ve hiked completely barefoot before, so the sandals are an improvement!

  • Those sandals seem perfect for hikes that have water on the trails. I hate it when my socks get wet. Beautiful photos too!

    • I never liked getting my socks wet either so I hiked many waterfalls and creeks completely barefoot. This is so much better! For some hikes, I’ve carried them in my backpack to use just near the water and it’s been perfect for longer hikes. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • Chrissa – Physical Kitchness

    Sandals for hiking?!?! I’ve never seen anything like those but I would TOTALLY love them. Hiking boots/shoes get so hot!

    • I know! In the summer, my feet would get so hot in my wool hiking socks and close-toed shoes. I had to wear them, though, because I needed the arch support that my orthotics provided. Since Chacos are orthopedic and have an incredibly high arch support, I can hike in them with no back pain after. Yay for happy healthy summer hikes! If you end up getting a pair, I’d love to hear how you like them! 🙂

    • Chacos are the best invention in the world 😉 But for real, I live in mine!

  • what a pretty hike! we live near the Smoky Mtns so we will have to try out this one! and i have always wondered how comfortable chacos really are… guess i may have to try some out myself! 🙂

  • Jordan and I really need to make it out to The Smoky Mountains. I’d love to rent a cabin and do little day hikes when our baby is a little older. I went to a sports camp in PA where you had to have water shoes (think Chacos/Tevas) but we always have the off brand Walmart version…haha.

  • There’s not much that I enjoy more that I love more than a good waterfall hike! Adding this to my someday list!

  • My sister has an orange pair of Chacos. She wears them everywhere.

  • I love the Smokey Mountains! Such beautiful photos! 🙂

  • Rachel Golden

    These pictures are so beautiful! I love going to hikes. It’s so nice to get back to nature, especially when there is a waterfall involved!

  • So gorgeous!! This makes me excited for our camping trip in August to Glacier National park!

  • These photos make me want to explore! So beautiful.

  • So pretty! Reminds me of my college days!
    I really want a good pair of Chacos. The only pair I’ve had didn’t fit me right, but I’m sure I could find a pair that does.

  • Um these photos are stunning you need to print a few! I REALLY could have used those sandals last year when I went hiking in Maui along the Road to Hana. I only had TOMS and they were beat to hell/my feet were legitimately swollen with all the hills, heat and high altitude! I never even considered ‘hiking sandals’ to be a thing. Gotta keep these in mind for my next big adventure 🙂

  • What a fun hike!!! I love the way you were able to capture it! <3

  • Girl!! I love your Chacos!! And also this place looks so fun to hike!!!

  • I miss my Chacos a ton – lost them at the Full Moon party a little while ago. Would love to work with the company too as I’m completely obsessed with them! Can’t say I would use them for pure hiking, but I found them great for walking around Southeast Asia during the rainy season and for mud hiking!

  • The woods there looks so pretty! Those Chacos look awesome for hikes where you’re in and out of the water a lot. There’s nothing I hate more than wet socks and shoes!!!!

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  • Living in the high mountain desert of New Mexico – we don’t see trees and water like this. Beautiful hike and one of my personal favorite hobbies. The Chacos look like they have good support. Thanks for sharing.

  • This looks like so much fun! I’ve been wanting a pair of Chacos! Thanks for sharing!

  • I’ve heard such great things about Chacos! It looks like you had so much fun!

  • Aarika Chilson

    This trail sounds incredible. My hubby and I are avid hikers, and this is definitely one that we would love. Those waterfalls are breathtaking. Thanks for sharing!

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