Looking for a great trail in Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee? AllTrails has 137 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 81 moderate trails in Cherokee National Forest ranging from 0.9 to 23.7 miles and from 839 to 6,236 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

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lake

Found this before any real info was on the net. I was just playing around on google earth and noticed a body of water on top the mountain near where I lived. For those who don’t know, you can also hike here from Clark’s creek. I’ll log the trail this summer. But, hiking up from lower Higgins is the shortest way. It was a rather fun venture. I wouldn’t recommend this hike for people with breathing issues or those who don’t have a lot of strength in their legs. Not for the random weekend hikers.

Monday 02/18/19

Holy smokes this was an amazing trail!
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Getting There:
The “parking area” holds maybe 2 cars, but there’s a pull off just before it that could probably hold 3-4 cars. There was only one other car there when I went.

The Trail:
The trail begins just over the railroad tracks to the immediate right of the waterfall. You will hike next to the waterfall all the way to the top before turning right. You will walk along that until you see a “camping area”/“fire pit” and this is where I had to scratch my head about where the trail went- the rock ledge to your left is where the trail continues! Go up so that you’re directly above the “fire pit” and you’ll soon figure it out again. Expect some 4pt climbs and perhaps sitting on your buttocks a few times if you want to safely get back to your car. This trail is not well-marked or easy to really figure out at all. There are pink & orange ribbons tied to some trees though which was helpful! Eventually you’ll end up crossing under another waterfall where you will get a little wet (perhaps not if it hasn’t rained in awhile though), but nothing too crazy. Unfortunately I was not able to hike past the area just below the bluffs (they were directly over my head) because the only way I could fit around the next boulder would’ve been too risky (in my “situation”) and left me partially hanging over the cliffside. There appeared to be a small opening between boulders that perhaps someone not 32wks pregnant, wearing a toddler, and with a dog could’ve fit through though. I was super bummed, but beneath the bluffs was truly phenomenal and the rock formations just totally blew me away.

Please go! This trail is wonderful and an interesting combo of being short, yet difficult!

Short hike, uphill, moderate but short, so easy, one creek crossing to the left, not too difficult. Huge fall. Beautiful! A little muddy but definitely worth going after these heavy rains!

this is probably in my top 5 waterfalls. it was like a fairy land! I loved this trail

I loved this hike. short and sweet with an amazing waterfall at the end

Nice trail. We hiked it early in the morning. Passed many hikers and bikers later in the day. Pretty views. Will probably hike it again.

Okay so a few things. First of all, we did go during the “off-season,” in February, so we didn’t expect the trail to be in tip-top condition, or expect an easy hike because it is rated as “hard/most difficult.” However, there were multiple trees (the leafy parts, not just the trunk) completely blocking the trail that had to be navigated around by going well off-trail. Also, the trail is not very well marked at points, notably about 4.4 miles in at the ridge. Even the original recording shown in the map shows the hiker going off-trail for about half a mile and doubling back. This is because the trail for a while up to this point is nice and wide, but cuts off to the right and abruptly becomes narrow, which wouldn’t be an issue but the nice wide original trail continues on past this point, very slowly becoming less trail and more woods, until you’re just standing in the middle of the woods realizing you haven’t seen a trail marker in a while. This is not the only time this happened, there were 2-3 other times which we were unsure of which way to go. I would highly recommend checking the trail map very regularly during this hike so as not to take a wrong turn, and give yourself PLENTY of time so as not to get caught in the darkness on this oft-confusing trail.

On a positive note, the waterfall was gorgeous! As at least one other has said: getting to the base is quite difficult, requiring you to climb down a very steep 15-feet or so, but if you are agile I would highly recommend the attempt as it is well worth it.

good and flat. great spots for pictures.

Classic area hike with great falls at the end. Suggest using the bottom trail to get in and when you come back from the falls take the stairs to the right up to the ridge trail it will put you out near the AT shelter.

Tough hike, but nothing too crazy. It gets very windy when you reach Big Bald, so bring some extra gear if you want to hang around in the top.

hiking
12 days ago

Beautiful hike. I believe that Sill Falls are very underrated.

The falls were AMAZING. The south trail gets extremely steep and kinda is a path to nowhere. But the scenery by the creek(s) is really nice. Several creek crossing on south trail. Some easier than others.

hiking
muddy
washed out
13 days ago

Good hike with beautiful views. Trail has been maintained well.

Great little spot. Strenuous, short hike, but beautiful view at the top. Throw in a hammock.

hiking
muddy
13 days ago

Great trail as usual, seems to have a few more muddy spots in it that were possibly created by horses. I did spot signs that showed a bobcat also likes to use the trail. Just went to the waterfall and went no further. Technically the trail continues further.

It's an excellent hike for through hikers, as should be expected with the AT. I prefer peak bagging, or hikes that have some sort of end goal. Admittedly, I only went out about 3 miles before turning around. My heart just wasn't in it. But it's a beautiful area of the AT and well marked and clear. Get a few views of Mt. Mitchell through the trees, which was awesome to see. Not a bad hike, just not my style.

Short, howbeit worthy hike. The falls were beautiful after a lot of rain. Boots got pretty muddy and wet, but it was well worth the soggy return trip!

hiking
15 days ago

Very rewarding hike but it is straight down .. and was sadly very trashed by people

really a nice hike to get back there. I kept worrying about if we had passed it, but when you get there you'll know. The hike down to the base is tough if you're not as agile. steady incline the whole way.

The road getting back there is a little rough. I imagine it might be extremely difficult after a rain event once the road turns gravel. Once it goes though, it means you're close. easily accessible in a 4WD vehicle

We parked in the lot above the trail and took the steps down to the AT. Turned left towards the shelter and crossed a makeshift foot bridge. The trail’s first half mile was very muddy and strewn with garbage, much of it floating at the water’s edge, because of it’s proximity to human shitters. After that though, the trail becomes a forest paradise, with inspiring views of the lake and majestic cliffs. The destination of the dam itself is worthy of at least an hour’s reflection, surrounded on three sides by high rocky faces looking at their reflections in the water below. The lake is stunning. Not a strenuous hike by any hiker’s standards. There are a lot of “Bears in the Area” signs that proclaim the area is closed, but through hikers are allowed, and we didn’t have any problems. Could be rated as a five if the beginning was better maintained, but don’t let that first part discourage you...well worth it!

Nice section for a day hike or make it an overnight hike and hang out at the Barn. Great views and a ton of water sources. Be careful the last couple miles where its pretty hard on the feet if you have on trial runners. it's a very rocky descent.

My husband and I completed this as our first back packing trip. We took our time and did it in 3 days and 2 nights. I would 100% recommend this hike to anyone looking for a weekender trip. The views are hard to beat.

This is a really nice and short hike, downhill in and uphill out 1.5 miles round trip. Be prepared for a rough but fun and passable dirt road.

Great place for sunrise and sunset. Quick hike just a little steep

nice creek walk.

I don’t know if it’s just my winter body talking, but I would not rate this as “easy.” Definitely more moderate, to strenuous at times. It is a good short trail, but it was rocky & wet, & I absolutely had to be focused on my footing the whole time, & strategic about it at some times. It was a beautiful short trail with a huge payoff, so with that factored in I guess some could call it easy, but I don’t think short necessarily equals easy. Like, I would not tackle this coming off hip or knee surgery or with heart problems, and small children would require assistance at a lot of points. Again this was with winter bod & in really muddy conditions, but this is probably the hardest “easy” rated trail I have done.
It’s in a narrow holler, so keep that in mind for daylight hours.
The hike down to the falls looks more intimidating than it actually is. It gets easier as you get closer to the bottom. Definitely worth going down.

great hike! great for kids!

I loved this trail! Super easy until you get to the “death stairs” and those are rough! Super slick right now but doable going down if you’re cautious. Going back up...oh my goodness! Just be prepared. I took several breaks. The falls are beautiful though and definitely worth it

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