Summary: A short distance down the hill from the parking lot, the trail splits into the Falls Branch Trail (to the left) and the Jeffery Hell Trail (to the right). Take the left fork to see the falls. The trail follows Sassafras Ridge through a nice hardwood forest. At approximately 0.75 miles, the trail turns sharply right into the woods (see Photo 2). You MUST look carefully to see the white arrow painted on the tree. If you continue straight (over a fallen tree) which is the WRONG way, you will find the Cherohala Skyway rather quickly so turn around back to the fallen tree and look for the white arrow. The next half mile or so is the most challenging of this hike (actually returning from the falls since it is uphill), but if you take your time a family can complete it. Once you reach Falls Branch, rock hop across the stream and climb up to the base of the falls. The best views of the falls are across the stream.
Trailhead: From I-75 (between Knoxville and Chattanooga), take TN Hwy 68 South (near Sweetwater) through Madisonville to Tellico Plains. From Tellico Plains take TN 165 East (Cherohala Skyway). Continue on TN 165 East bearing right at the junction with the Indian Boundary Lake turnoff. The parking lot for the trailhead (see Photo 1) is approximately 8.5 miles past the Indian Boundary Lake turnoff on the left side of the Cherohala Skyway (near Rattlesnake Rock). The trailhead is located through a cutout in the parking area wall. If you enter North Carolina, you have traveled too far. (Lat:35.34682 Lon:-84.06112)
Trail Guides for Falls Branch Falls:
by Kelley Roark (Falcom Publishing)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: US Forest Service - Cherokee National Forest - 423-476-9700
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Dwight Clayton, who has posted 1 other hike on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Valerie on 6/18/2012
Hiked this today, 6/18/12. It was awesome!! It was quiet, less traveled and I agree about the Hobbit's. Really neat flowers, moss, old trees, grasses, you name it and the falls were gorgeous! Yes it is bit difficult closer to the falls and coming out at times, but my mini dachshund and I completed it and I only had to carry her a couple times! Highly reccommend it and glad it is off the beaten path, that makes it more special.
Reviewed by Randy on 7/15/2011
At around 3400 ft in elevation the hike to the falls was pleasant for mid July in the muggy south. The last 10 percent of the trail was steep but doable and the view of the water cascading over the grey granite rock was great. The rhododendron was blooming pink and white all around the falls and trail. Watch out for yellow jackets at the bottom of the steep section. I was stung twice. The cold water soothed the pain. Ow.
Reviewed by Viewer on 5/30/2011
I agree with the other fine reviews here. Wife and I had a good time there. Not many people know about it. The trail head is near West Rattlesnake Rock on Cherohlala Skyway.
Reviewed by John Drendle on 11/2/2009
One of the best secrets of this area! It's difficult to find at first since there are no signs, only a small pathway from a pulloff. The hike is mostly downhill to the falls, with some great spots to take pictures. Once there it's amazing and worth the hike. It's slippery and very muddy on a day after a rain, so bring an extra pair of socks and wear sturdy shoes. My family stayed at Telliquah Falls Log Cabins in Tellico and had the most relaxing and adventurous vacation! Fall Branch Falls was the perfect end to a great trip.
Reviewed by Smoky and Libby on 9/17/2009
Great hike! I am suprised its not more popular. Well worth the drive and hike. Good exercise for me and my dog. Neat old trees that look like something from the Hobbit. The trail was nice, no litter and no problem finding our way. This trail is 8.1 miles past the turn off to Indian Boundry on your left. Just a break in the wall takes you strait to it.
Reviewed by Kim on 8/23/2009
WOW! Short hike with BIG reward. I knew there would be a falls at the end but did not expect what we got. The falls are gorgeous!! I have to be honest and say that I am glad there isn't a sign to the trail because I like it nice and quite. There were only a few people passing and it was terrific. Will be back for sure. A great sight to see!!!
Reviewed by Marie on 5/29/2008
BOY what a sight!!!! Took the hike on May 26th.'08 Water was flowing and was it ever pretty.A little steap coming back out but was worth the trip. Wrong directions if you are coming from Knoxville or Maryville You should go to the Tellico exit and go toward Tellico and the take the Indian Bowndary road .You do not have to go all the way to Cleveland.
Reviewed by Sherman on 8/19/2007
It is a nice hike, not too long, but a little challenge to it. It's a little easier going than returning. Even though the water was low the falls are still beautiful. A cool place to sit and rest at the falls. The parking area needs a sign telling you a walking trail and water falls are here. If I had not found it here on the computer I wouldn't have known it was there.
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