Bald River Trail is a 11.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Tellico Plains, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length11.1 miElevation gain895 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashKid friendlyBackpackingCampingHikingForestRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlife
Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

NOTE: As of May 2020, part of the trail leading to the bridge is closed. The bridge is undergoing reconstruction. Please check with the park for more information.

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, P.O. Box 23170, 320 Sixth Avenue, North , Nashville, TN, 37202, Phone: 615-741-2158

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.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (243)
Photos (374)
Recordings (164)
Completed (550)
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Sharon Massingale
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 17, 2021
HikingGreat!

My favorite trail. Hiked many times. Love the switch backs & the streams coming down the mountain that you have to cross. Usually not a deep water crossing unless there was a hard rain the night before but still able to cross. Lots of cascades beyond the main fall. Love taking my soul dog on this hike. You will see lots of dogs on this trail.

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Stefanie Gose
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 23, 2020
Hiking
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Joe Whitmore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 18, 2020
Hiking

Awesome trail. Relatively flat trail that is well traveled. Several stream crossings, but nothing that shallow waterproof boots can’t handle. Beautiful views, especially in the first mile of the hike.

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Thomas Archakis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 18, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great 9.9 mi. hike along the Bald River with nice cascades and the beautiful Bald River Falls in the beginning. Gradual ascent in the beginning and then a pretty flat hike. Nice weather in the mid-thirties and dry.

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Sarah Hummel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 13, 2020
HikingGreat!

I absolutely love this trail! it's perfect beautiful and fun

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Zach Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 12, 2020
BackpackingRocky

Falls are beautiful. Parking can be tough, but no big deal. Gets a little challenging about 0.6 - 0.7 miles in. Nice campsite at mile 1 we stayed at. Went during the fall and it was amazing.

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Nancy S.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 10, 2020
HikingGreat!RockyScramble

The trail is fully open! This is Cherokee National Forest Trail 88. It is NOT 8.9 miles, as indicated here on AllTrails. According to CNF information, it is 5.6 mile each way out and back. Two of us with step counters confirmed this. There are no markers along the trail however it it is fairly easy to follow without then. On the return trip it was slightly more challenging to stay on the trail as side trails sometimes made it confusing. Park at the lot for the Bald River Falls. The trail head is to the left of the falls. The initial ascent is fairly steep and rocky. It is approximately 3/10 of a mile to the top of the falls. It’s a beautiful view of the falls and cascades above it. On this Monday morning in mid November, we passed two other couples on the trail after continuing past the top of the falls. This is a beautiful hike, paralleling the creek the whole time. There were many waterfalls and cascades along the way. The leaves are slightly past peak yet still beautiful. The trail has many rocks that require very careful footing and maneuvering. We were glad to have hiking poles along for extra support. There are also many wet/muddy spots along the trail. Looking at the vegetation, and knowing that it hasn’t rained in the past couple of weeks, I imagine these areas always wet. Also, there were six creek crossings. Five were very small and easy to do without getting wet. One was somewhat challenging and impossible to do without walking in the creek. It wasn’t over our waterproof hiking boots yet with sneakers (or after rains/in the Spring) one would certainly get wet. Portions of the trail were very narrow and somewhat precarious along steep cliffs.

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Sarah Hummel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 4, 2020
Hiking

Great trail! so many pretty areas.

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John Eric Christensen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 31, 2020
HikingGreat!

a very pretty falls and easy to get to

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Bengu Ulukaya
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 17, 2020
Hiking

More of a hard trail instead of moderate. But the view is beautiful and you can drive to the viewing point which is right at the beginning of the trail.

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Thomas Gibbons
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 16, 2020
Hiking
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Aaron Jarnigan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2020
Scenic driving

There are some trails surrounding the falls but we did not walk them, just wasn’t on the days agenda unfortunately. However, this is the easiest water fall I’ve ever been to, drive up, park, you’re there and it’s massive.

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Aidan Griffin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2020
Hiking

Awesome walk along the river. Didn’t have time to do the whole thing but would love to come back. Quiet when we went midweek in the late afternoon. Some elevation change and even narrow switchbacks, but all very easy and enjoyable for all ages.

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Sandy Watson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky
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Patrick Shields
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking

Later

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Amber Leah Lane
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

The trail was nice. Goes by the river the whole way. It’s actually 13 miles round trip though. Takes about 6 hours to do the whole thing. Mostly level the whole way with the exceptions of several climbing spots.

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Angry Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 29, 2020
Backpacking
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Lacey Lacey Bolles
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Parked at the falls and hiked about 1.6 miles in, beautiful and totally worth the hike IF you are in good shape and wearing appropriate footwear. Don't try this trail if you are in flip flops. You can park at the falls and walk up to the top and enjoy getting your feet wet, and get some good pics, but do not try to hike past that point if you have children or are not prepared to do some climbing over rocks and roots, too dangerous in my opinion. At about the .56 miles mark there is a sharp turn to the left up a steep path this is where the trail gets a little dangerous. At around the 1 mile mark is another waterfall (not as big as the main falls but decent sized!) The trail evens out for awhile at this point and you are walking in the woods by the water. I can't wait to go back and explore further!

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Jamie Cowley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 13, 2020

No hiking needed if you just want to see the falls. We just happened to be driving by and saw it from the road. Will plan for the hike another day.

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Debra Fox
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
Hiking

The falls are right next to the parking lot, but was a nice refreshing treat after the 10 mile hike. The hike was filled with diversity, including, but not limited to, climbing up, over, or around rocks, soft pine needles, hopping from rock to rock over small streams, walking a ledge far above the river, pushing through plants that had overgrown the trail, walking so close to the river with the sounds of rushing water, over or around trees on the trail, and a nicely built bridge and stairs. There were many campsites along the way. The trail ended at a gravel road, which was somewhat disappointing, but did not take away from the beauty of this incredible hike! I would definitely do this one again for there was so much to see that I'm sure it would feel like a completely different trail!

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Dwight Collins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 3, 2020
HikingGreat!

Hiked it in reverse from the main falls- hiked in as far as we wanted to and that would allow us time on other trails in the area. You won't have the main falls to yourself but you might have the main trail to yourself...and there is plenty of cascades and smaller falls to see- loved it

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Will Latham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 28, 2020
HikingBlowdown

Great trail. Beautiful waterfalls along the way. Did not need sandals to cross small streams on trail. Multiple branch tree blown down at 3.1 mile - you can get around it but must go slightly off trail.

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Mark Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
HikingBugsRocky

Nice trail a good day hike great views Bees at mile 1.7

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Wayne Baker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2020
Hiking

Super trail! The first 3/4 mile is kinda tough, but the rest among the best ever. Markings are non-existent except for the one showing an intersecting trail. AllTrails to the rescue! Lots of water photo ops and large boulders. Lunch near the halfway point was super! One yellow jacket nest about 1.8 miles. Highly recommend but no kids, it’s too dangerous.

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Monica Bauldry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 19, 2020
Hiking

Rugged trail, but we enjoyed it (our dogs did too)! Only ran into a few folks while hiking on a Friday, but I could see where the weekend would be more crowded. Our group of 3 took two cars & parked one at the falls & the other at the Holly Flats camp - it's a little tricky to find, but we just followed the All Trails map & it was fine. There are places to stop & camp along the hike (if you like). We stopped to let our dogs play in the water & to have a snack. All in all, it just took us a couple hours. Look forward to going back!

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