Bald River Trail

EASY 70 reviews
#4 of 113 trails in

Bald River Trail is a 8.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tellico Plains, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1040 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

Directions from Tellico Plains: Travel east on State Hwy. 165 for approximately 9 miles and turn left onto FDR 345. Proceed for 1.5 miles and turn right onto FDR 35-1 and continue for 1 mile. Turn left onto Double Camp Road and the trailhead will be approximately 3 miles down the road on the left.

13 days ago

A very nice trail. with some premitive camping spots, along the river.

1 month ago

First time hiking this trail today. It was such a fantastic in and out trail with many hidden waterfalls along the way. The first part of the trail can be intimidating, but once you pass the switchbacks, the rest of the hike is flat with a downhill walk back. Many backcountry campsites by the river along the trail.

1 month ago

I love this hike! Don’t let the steep parts on the front end deter you. Keep going and there is plenty of flat travel along the river.

If you park at Bald River Falls, to the far end of the parking lot, there is a hiking trail you can go on that takes you above the waterfall and up to the Middle Bald River Falls- about 1.4 miles (out and back)- highly recommend if you’re looking for a shorter hike. Review will be posted on our blog soon, with pics- www.Wander-Full-Life.com

3 months ago

Beautiful falls and the drive in is scenic as well

4 months ago

The trail runs alongside Bald River above Bald River Falls and the Tellico Gorge. Only gets prettier the farther you go as you get to several hidden waterfalls. The water was high when I hiked it thanks to recent rains so there was a lot of water to see.

scenic driving
4 months ago

Beautiful drive and gorgeous waterfalls!

6 months ago

A stunning beauty! The write-up on this app don't do justice to the beauty of this place.
The falls are right off of river rd... no hiking necessary if you aren't physically able, or want to take someone to see some nature, if they are older.
Lastly, the drive to the falls is right beside the river... it's serene and filled with natural beauty from the time you leave the town of Tellico. enjoy!

6 months ago

spectacularly beautiful!
You can drive right up to the falls, which make this location ideal for anybody with physical limitations.

6 months ago

spectacularly beautiful.
you can drive right to the falls making it excellent for anyone with physical limitations.

6 months ago

Waterfalls and cascades abound. One of the top trails in Tennessee. Majestic!

hiking
7 months ago

First mile n Half is rough but keep on and it’s worth it. Beautiful country.

fishing
7 months ago

This is an excellent trail. I have hiked it many times in all sorts of weather in all four seasons. I have fished that river for many years and even met an old hiker seeking ‘ramps and creases’ who claimed to be a part of the Conservation Corps (CCC) group that built the trail back in the 30s. I know this trail like the back of my hand. However, I truly do not understand the directions. One end of the trail is off Bald River Rd at Holly Flats camp ground The other end is at Bald River Falls on the River Rd at the confluence of Bald River and the Tellico River. From The Cherohala Skyway (165) you only make one turn to the right. From where 165 and the River Rd y’s off to the right, you stay straight until you see the massive, unmistakable Falls to the right. With all the turns, I thought you were giving directions to the trail head at Holly Flats but Doublecamp road is further down 165, past Indian Boundary, over Beehouse gap in the Citico River watershed, miles away in the opposite direction. But perhaps I am missing something.

8 months ago

For me it was a test, this was the first walk of the season with weight. All that was needed for the loop was a couple of liters of water or less with a filter, you are right next to the river most of the walk. If you have a hammock or light chair bring it, some very nice places to relax next to the river. There are a few narrow section with drops but nothing extreme. I suggest leashing unruly children in the narrower sections.
Great day, clean camp/break areas, beautiful fast flowing clean water river.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike, but some REALLY steep drop offs near the beginning, so mind the little ones or the clumsy ones. It'd be nice if there was a way to expand those sections, because erosion and hikers slipping are going to eventually close the trail, I'd wager.

hiking
10 months ago

7.22.17

We've been to Bald River Falls many times over the years, but this was the first time we ever hiked the trail. We really enjoyed it overall, however for me, the beginning was the hardest part. There were several switchbacks right off the get go that were pretty scary for me. But just go slow and be careful as you're literally on the side of the mountain for about the first 3/4 mile up the trail. It is challenging in some areas, but that made it fun for us.

Then it started to level off a bit, and it was enjoyable. We passed a really nice camping area, and it was absolutely beautiful. There were many places to stop and swim, which we did a few times. Had a picnic on a nice flat rock right in front of the river.

We passed a few a few campers along the way, and only one other hiker. Since this was our first real hiking experience, we only went a little over 3 miles in, then we turned around and headed back. Definitely want to return to hike the entire trail from start to finish. Bald River still is one of the prettiest and most amazing waterfalls that I've seen.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful hike. Waterfall was amazing.

hiking
Thursday, June 08, 2017

**Park toilet facility is up the road past the main falls parking area, on the left hand side of road**
This was my first time hiking in the Cherokee National Forest/Tellico Plains area, and I was not disappointed! Beautiful trail with lots of water falls/cascades to see. I will absolutely be making more trips to this area to hike more trails.
A group of us did this trail one way/shuttle hike from the trail head off Bald River Road, on the south end of this trail. WARNING: Bald River Road/Forest Rd 126 is VERY narrow, with sharp/steep drop-offs, and no where to "pull over" if another car is wanting to come down from the other direction. We were very lucky that we were the only ones headed that direction. The southern end of the trail is not far from Holly Flats campground.
I would recommend starting at the main falls parking area, and hiking the trail as an out and back trail (11.2 miles total). If you are not wishing to do that many miles, going as far as you want, then heading back, will still give you a very nice hike.
I would rate it as a moderately gentle climb, with a few steeper parts to navigate.
If you are a primitive back-country camper...you will be in heaven. There were about 6 or 7 sites that we passed all along the trail. Nice and clean, fire pits available, and plenty of flat spots to tent, and trees close together for hammock options. And having all of them be very close to water (if not right on the river bank), you will never be dehydrated.
Three from our group saw 2 hogs and a Black snake. And the whole group saw, and carefully navigated around, a juvenile Copperhead.
There are sections of the trail that are narrow, with steep drop-offs, so be mindful of your footing.
The trail is not marked, on either end. I was told that the Cherohala Skyway Visitors Center off Hwy 165/Cherohala Skyway would have maps available for purchase of the Cherokee National Forest. The center was closed by the time I was driving back home, so I wasn't able to pick one up. But word on the street is that most, if not all, of the trails that are in the forest are not well marked, so a map would be highly recommended to have on hand.

hiking
Monday, May 29, 2017

Great trail for families but be aware that there some narrow places with large drops. Water falls were lovely! We all really enjoyed.

hiking
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Great easy hike. Highly recommend.

backpacking
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

this trail is simply wonderful for the beginner back packer. the only hard about about it is a couple switch backs you get out of the way after about a mile in the trail. after that it's pretty flat and offers so many views and amazing off trails. the camp sites were clean, and had more than enough fire wood to keep us warm for 9 hours or so. I give it 5 stars because it isn't hard, it's beautiful, low traffic down the trail and if you back pack finding water or the perfect camp site is super easy. highly recommend

Sunday, March 26, 2017

moderate hike, beautiful waterfall and river!

hiking
Monday, February 20, 2017

Love this trail no matter what season you go. We hiked from falls to the end and back to falls yesterday and "all trails" logged us at 10.2 miles.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Beautiful trail. Sometimes a good few people, but it is still a great trail. Always by the river and beautiful scenery!

hiking
Monday, February 06, 2017

This is an excellent trail to spend the morning/day enjoying all of nature's beauty, waterfalls, small creek crossings, the gorge overlook, rock formations and the large waterfall at the end or beginning, depending if you start at Holly Flatts or Bald River. A must do hike!

hiking
Sunday, February 05, 2017

This was a beautiful hike in the Cherokee National Forest. Bald River Falls is a gorgeous fall. The trail is hard but doable for a beginning hiker.

hiking
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I really enjoyed coming here. It was a lot different than most of the average hike/waterfall experiences! It beautiful! But do not follow the GPS on here because it takes you straight to the fall, not the hiking entrance! Other than that.. 10/10 would recommend.

backpacking
Sunday, November 06, 2016

We did a short hike,over night camp , out and back of about 4 miles. The trail is easy with a few climbs and switch backs at the start. Several good camping sites within an hour's walk from the falls trail head.

hiking
Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Falls are very pretty even with the drought. There are no real clear markings of the trail head or even on the trail. We took trail 88, I think. It's left of the parking if you are facing the falls. It leads up above the falls and along the water so there are many small cascades to see and take a break. Not sure on the actual distance of the trail, one source say 1.5 mi, others 8 mi or 5 mi. We just went until the kids got tired. By the way, there's no bathrooms or anything at parking, just FYI. The drive is pretty short and easy leading to the parking lot from Tellico Plains. Have fun!

hiking
Sunday, October 09, 2016

A great alternative to hiking the Smokies if you prefer less crowds!
Serene.

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