Located within Cherokee National Forest in Chilhowee Recreation Area the Benton falls trail is Rated Moderate kid
friendley and marked with a blue blaze the trail is 3.2 mile round trip.crossing the earthwork dam which creates
McCamy Lake, then crossing into a nice shade of large hardwoods and pines Benton Falls is a 65'water fall that is
well worth the hike. I think its one of the nicest day hikes around the area. I just hiked the trail last week I have pics on my google + if you want to check them out.
Linda R. on Clemmer Trail
well worth the hike to play at the waterfalls
The Wife, a few friends, and I took this trail this week. I agree with this site’s rating of hard. There are a couple things to know that I wish I had known going in. We walked the trail from East to West going left to Right across the Nat Geo map we bought 2 weeks ago from REI. **Note** The NAT Geo maps are out of date. Read below for the updates we found.
From the parking lot on the western end, the lot had great access to water and plenty of space for tents after our day long drive and white water rafting before arriving. There are a few trees suitable for hanging hammocks from, but we ended up using our tent because we really only saw space for 2 hammocks and there were 4 of us. The trail head was well marked with a fair sized sign and the morning fog from the river made for some pretty hiking. There were a few great views of the river in the first couple miles of the trail. The trail does meet up with power house road at Big Bend and from there we never did find the trail on the left despite sweeping a few times looking for it. We gave up hoping to pick the trail back up at Towee Creek boat ramp, but here was the first time we noticed the Nat Geo map is wrong. The maps on the park sign board show the trail following the river to the TVA employee only area where the trail continues down a half staircase, and the trail at Towee Creek is completely unpassable supporting this updated path. All in all our first day was about 8 miles and 6 of them were on pavement sharing the lane with cars as there is no space for us to walk off the road. About a half mile down the trail from the TVA area, where the trail follows Wildcat Creek for a few hundred yards, there is a decent camp site with fire pit by a rock face. About 100 feet further down the trail there is an extension to the top of the rock face on the left that has 2 more camp sites. They are dry, but only about 100 or 200 yards from water (where you turned left) so not too bad. The trails up to this point have been poorly blazed and there was a fair bit of guessing and hoping we were on the right trail though they are well worn and easy to follow.
Day 2 revealed several switch backs not marked on the map and several steep climbs and descents. There is a fair sized campsite when the trail crosses Loss creek and 2 or 3 campsites where the trail follows Coker creek. From the camp site we stayed at by the rock face to the where John Muir and Benton MacKaye split the trail was traveled well enough that over grown was not a serious concern, we did find a few trees across the path but the majority had been cleared. The path from the fork to our campsite about mile further down was well blazed and we are glad about that as it is significantly less worn and overgrowth became a hassle. There are 2 streams or creeks not on the Nat Geo map, they run down the 2 ravines shown on the map about a mile from the fork, in between them is a great flat campsite with plenty of trees for hammocks. Down side here is there is a huge tick population and not even tick spray kept us bite free inside our tents. Also Chiggers and Biting flies are rampant here.
Day 3 revealed an infrequently used trail with lots of over growth with dozens of felled trees between us and TN 68. We found an additional camp where the 2 creeks merge under the John Muir sign on the Nat Geo map, google maps tells me on of the creeks is called Land Branch. After wrestling with felled trees and following blazes more than established trail we choose to abandon it at the road crossing with TN 68. The trail entrance from 68 continuing West was hard to find, and basically went straight up the cliff side. I cannot comment on the condition of the rest of the trail, but I suspect it was equally used rarely and thus suffered from lots of over growth. If someone wanted to run a DR field and brush mower over this half of the trail it would definitely be better for that.
Final notes: The trail is probably best during the fall or spring, mid-summer was oppressively hot. Frequent dips into the river and creeks were necessary to prevent overheating. There were occasional breezes but the dense forest shut most of them down. Also the trail is covered in poison oak and poison ivy, much of the over growth is of these plants so long pants are a must.
Don't let GPS take you down the dirt road unless you're driving an off road vehicle! It was terrifying with steep drops and an up hill ride with sharp curves and the road is rough rock. Other than that, it was beautiful! We thoroughly enjoyed our visit.