Explore the most popular birding trails in Cherokee National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
2 days ago

I'd done the waterfalls trail before (which is beautiful) but wanted a longer wander in the woods on a misty day. Never saw another soul on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It's a little more than 4 miles one way to Benton Falls - I ended up clocking a little over 9 miles making a trip to the falls and taking the Rim Rock Spur loop on the way back. Love the changing scenery, wish there were better overlooks though. You get a few peeks on the way up. Several small creeks and springs so good water sources if needed. No trouble with trail markings, fairly straight forward to stay on the main trail. Great workout and peaceful outing, I'm sure it won't be my last visit.

on Sill Branch Falls

hiking
5 days ago

Short hike with an amazing reward! Getting to the falls is very easy a hike. Just make sure when you come to the split to stay on Sill Branch North that will take you directly to the waterfall. The south part of the trail follows the creek and makes for a great day hike.

hiking
6 days ago

great trail very slick when wet the last 1/4mile of the trail is impassable due to large trees on the rock path next to the creek.

hiking
7 days ago

Nice hike but the views were definitely on the way up and not a clearing.

One of my close favorites! Easy hike.

I’ve always wanted to revisit this section of the trail since I thru-hiked the AT in 2007 and I wasn’t disappointed. Big Bald is one of my favorite spots on the entire Appalachian Trail. It is a very challenging hike, but the 360 degree views make it well worth the effort.

hiking
11 days ago

Pretty easy to moderate hike, follows the creek most of the way up and well kept. The back end of the trail gets steep and rocky so you gotta be cautious on the decent. I definitely plan to go back after a good rain so that there will be more water at the falls.

hiking
12 days ago

This trail is no longer being maintained.
It is very over grown and has many fallen trees across what was the trail. The trail originally came off of Philips Hollow trail after the second Creek crossing but is now almost impossible to follow.

on Gee Creek Trail

12 days ago

This is a fun trail! It’s challenging if it’s been raining - the rocks can get very slick- but that just makes it more interesting ... right?

I agree with the moderate trail rating. Maybe moderate+ after a rain. There were several places I had to go to all fours to be sure I kept my footing.

The first creek crossing has a bridge and is near the beginning of the trail. The second crossing is at the main falls. The third crossing is not very far after that. The 2nd and 3rd crossings can be challenging getting across and keeping the water below the top of the boot. I wish I’d had my lake shoes.

This trail needs some major renovations! I have had easier hikes going off trial. At first it doesn't seem so bad then about 7/10 of a mile into it the trail becomes overgrown and has several detours where trees have fallen and no one has cleared the way. Besides all of this there isn't much to look at in the way of scenery. My wife and I hiked in about 1.5 miles and then turned around because it didn't seem to be improving. If you do want to try this trail I would recommend taking a machete to clear your path and lots of bug spray. I sprayed Off before I began and still found four ticks on me. And the gnats where annoying also.

13 days ago

very nice hike really pretty in the winter

Pretty easy overall. I’d recommend this for anybody looking for a high payoff for a short hike.

Any skill level can do this hike. Those with knee trouble should take a sturdy walking stick as there is a steep incline/decline.

I hiked this today (9/7/18) in a rush. It only took about 20 minutes of actual walking to get there and back. I will definitely go back and take the whole family.

lil steep in a part or 2 but worth it super short trail

It’s a pretty easy hike. Beautiful, but lots of hidden roots and rocks from erosion popping up. It’s easy to twist an ankle or trip. Just look down as you go.

Good hike. Go after lots of rain so that there will be more water in the falls.

hiking
18 days ago

Great hike to take family and friends. Easy, short, and very photogenic falls at the end. You can actually walk into the base of the falls to sit and stand while they wash over you.

hiking
18 days ago

Definitely an easy, quick hike that can be combined with other hikes in the area.

18 days ago

steep Rocky but worth the pain the trail is by the tent camping towards the back of the tent camping area it was hard to find the trail from the recetation center

on Sill Branch Falls

18 days ago

short moderate hike

hiking
19 days ago

This is a great trail for a short hike. Watch for the humidity to rise on your way out and be prepared for an incline. It can fool you by its short length. I have been here as a child and went back to see that the trail has better maintenance than from years ago.

hiking
21 days ago

Got turned around several times. Some parts are very well marked. Others not so much. Ended at the begining of Clear Creek and walked along the road to where I parked. Didnt pass a single soul along the way which is a plus in my book. Will do again.

Great workout. You're climbing all the way up to the "pond". Would not recommend driving small cars up to the parking lot. The road get really rocky and is bit like off roading. There is now a sign on a tree that clearly marks the left turn you will need to make to keep following the trail. The pond, however, was almost dried up and wasn't much of a view, but it was a nice area to have a picnic. Definitely kicked my butt on the way up.

Thanks Katherine! We hit the trail on 8/24 and it was terrific. I appreciated all the feedback about the gravel drive in. Views were great and trail was really well maintained considering the # of down trees and it's remote location. Saw one small snake, without issues. My hiking buddies and I laughed about how you hike uphill to get in and to get out. But it was a very do-able trail for the 50-something crowd. The second falls was worth the additional walk.......I think we liked them even better than the first, both are great.

I hiked this trail in late August up to the
Curly Maple Gap shelter about four miles in from the river. Very well kept and easy to follow. The hike is a bit strenuous because of the steep incline but other than that pretty simple and makes for a great day hike!

Great beginners trail, loved both of the waterfalls on the trail!

The bridge construction is completed and the bridge is open. I just got off the trail - it’s in good condition and the waterfalls are fantastic, full pool.

planning to hike this coming weekend 8/24-25. Can anyone verify that the bridge that was "out" is now done and open??? Thanks

Loved it! The falls were beautiful!

Part of the Benton MacKaye Trail. Pretty stream side trail. Old logging road which gives it the moderate steady incline which is nice. Follows the creek for a couple of miles then turns left away for the creek. Ends at Sycamore Road. Turn right on the road to continue on the Benton MacKaye Trail toward Whig Meadow and the Skyway or left will take you to the North River Road. Last time I did this trail, I meet a young Black Bear coming out of the creek. So be aware.

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