• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2.6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    540 Feet

Easy Parking
Forest
Waterfall

A moderate, moss and fern covered trail off of the beautiful Cherohala Skyway that leads to a 70 foot waterfall. The best part is that this trail is basically unknown.

To get to the trailhead, drive 22.5 miles on the Cherohala Skyway from Tellico Plains, Tennessee. If you are coming from the North Carolina side, drive 20.5 miles to the trailhead. The trailhead parking area is marked by a large green sign saying West Rattlesnake and is surrounded by a low stone wall. The trail starts on the left side of the parking lot and immediately descends to a trail split. To get to the falls stay left and stay on the level Falls Branch Falls Trail #87. Do not go to the right and descend down the #196 trail to get to the falls. Someone inscribed the word waterfall on the sign with an arrow pointing to the left; that arrow is correct. Follow this trail 0.9 miles as it stays level and descends slowly to another trail split. To continue onto the falls, stay right and follow the trail that ascends slightly. When I was there however, there was no choice not to follow the trail to the right because several trees had fallen on the trail to the left. After you have split to the right and ascended a few feet, you will then descend 240 feet in .3 miles until you come to a creek crossing. At the time I was there, it was after heavy rains, and the creek crossing that is usually only up to your ankles was knee high. So be aware that after heavy rains this creek crossing can be difficult. Typically, it is more of a hassle than dangerous. At this point, you should be able to clearly see the waterfall. Now continue to ascend another .1 miles to the base of the waterfall, which can be a wonderful place to cool of in the Summer.

A few key notes about this trail:
After rain, it can be extremely rough, most of the downhills are extremely slippery and the final .1 mile ascent was so muddy we used the roots to climb up. Also the falls give off a lot of spray, so if you're doing any photography, make sure to bring something to wipe the lens off with. If you have any extra time you could take a drive on the rest of the beautiful Cherohala Skyway or take another another hike up Huckleberry Knob for some great views. As always try to leave the trail better than you found it.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Day pack
  • Water
  • Food
  • Waterproof shoes ( Stream Crossing)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Leave a Review

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Nathan Szwarc Explorer

Avid hiker, backpacker, and aspiring photographer living in east Tennessee.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

8 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves