Bald River Trail

EASY 39 reviews
#3 of 93 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
1843 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.

12 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

**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
24 days ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

Great easy hike. Highly recommend.

2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

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

2 months ago

moderate hike, beautiful waterfall and river!

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

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.

4 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

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!

4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

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
5 months ago

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
7 months ago

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
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

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
8 months ago

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

9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago