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

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.

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.

It is scary if you don’t know where you are going? Need to go to this trail in bright day light. Be careful with snakes and bears. It is an short moderate going to the falls and hard coming back the parking lot. But the falls is gorgeous and worth it. Can finish the trail in an hour. it is worth the visit in Tellico Plains.. Thank you to other reviewers as I read them before We went, it prepares us to the unexpected.

It’s mostly downhill in the way in, so the climb back up is a little difficult but not too bad since it’s a pretty short hike.

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

Directions: DO NOT GO LEFT when you come to a sign that says 170 at a dead end, GO RIGHT. See photos. The road there is kind of rough, lower cars would likely bottom out. 4x4 is not necessary unless it has recently rained. If you go the wrong way (I repeat, DO NOT GO LEFT) without a 4x4 you might get stuck.... and there’s no service to call for help.

Trail: Once you park in the lot the trail goes off to the LEFT of the sign that says 170. See photos. The water fall is BEAUTIFUL. We cannot wait to come back in summer. We had no bee issue today as others mentioned, but it was right around or under 40 degrees. Really sad that people have littered beer cans and such along the trail- we will bring bags to pick up the trash next time and encourage others to do so as well.


Beautiful falls and the drive in is scenic as well

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.

Good trail you’ll have to deal with hiking up the mountain but it’s not to bad all in all good hike. We hiked this in mid February and saw lots of bear scat on the trail

scenic driving
3 months ago

Beautiful drive and gorgeous waterfalls!

3 months ago

Not too terrible for a short hike, ran into a bee issue like others have stated and almost everyone in my small group was stung at least once(including the dogs). Surprising amount of people on the trail for the unmaintained access road leading to the trailhead. I wouldn’t recommend trying to drive up to it with any vehicles that are too low.

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!

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

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

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

Started at trailhead beside gee creek. Walked 1 mike then came back. Nothing to see but trees at that point

6 months ago

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

6 months ago

Easy start, but hiking partner unable to go down steep descending part to where waterway is. Turned back and did 3.5 miles total on easy part.
Will return to finish trail some day. Best to go before vegetation starts to grow as it would easily be overgrown. Lot of trees down.

6 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.

Good luck getting up the road unless you got a jacked up 4 wheel drive. Had to back my truck down the hill 100 yards.

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.

7 months ago

This is a great short hike. However it is tough coming out. It's a climb for the whole .6 mi. The road in is somewhat washed and there's a huge rut in part of the road but it's maneuverable. The waterfalls are beautiful. There's a swimming hole to cool off in!

8 months ago

Easy, rewarding hike. The falls area is great, lots of nice pools and rocks to sit on.

The road getting there isn't nearly as bad as the reviews here let on, just rocky, and has the one hole, but stay right and you won't have any trouble.

8 months ago

was very surprised that so many people visited there today. besides the bee issue and the venomous snake, on our way back, there was a boy threw rocks at the steep switchback multiple times. we almost got hit. his parents denied first then the boy admitted he did. smh. very overrated. esp poor road condition leading to the trailhead.

rock climbing
8 months ago

Awesome trial with great views and rock climbing.

8 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.

This was a really nice trail!! Beautiful water falls

I hiked this trail with five friends. It was amazing. The drive up was a little scary due to the one-way winding roads and some sections being washed out, but it's worth it.

There is quartz along the trail, poison ivy, mushrooms, and a few tree branches you have to climb over. Once you reach the actual falls, you will definitely want to swim.

I'm glad I brought sturdy river shoes as others had recommended.

9 months ago


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.

trail running
9 months ago

Nice trail but poorly marked in some areas, not heavy used or well maintained. Several small creek crossing but could rock hop them all. Some large scat along the trail as well. Not the best for trail running, but still a decent trail.

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