Visiting Bald River Falls in Cherokee National Forest



Although the weather was not cooperative while we were in Tennessee, the Smoky Mountains never disappoint. When we first rolled into the KOA in Sweetwater Tennessee it was 87 degrees and the sun was in full force. Unfortunately, after a thunderstorm that night the temperatures never got up that high for the rest of our 13-day stay. As a matter of fact, it rained at least a portion of 8 days during our stay. The temperatures never crossed 65 degrees and that was only briefly in the late afternoons. 

The weather wasn’t only uncooperative to us, we were supposed to meet some friends from New York and ride with them in the mountains but the weather was so bad they couldn’t get out of New York.

View Of Bald River Falls From The Top

During the days that it flat out rained ( and was freezing…lol) we were on the computer figuring out where we could ride when the sun came out. One thing we knew for sure was that we wanted to ride the Cherohala Skyway. We were only about a half an hour from the entrance ( or exit depending on how you look at it) and we were not going to miss that opportunity.

While looking over that route we noticed that if we deviated from the skyway a little there was a waterfall. It was called the Bald River Falls. Hmmm, this could be kinda cool we thought. It was not that far into the skyway and since we were only half an hour from that we figured this was something we could do in an afternoon. 

Rock Near The Top

The week-long forecast was spotty so it just made sense to break up the rides into shorter segments. The weather can change frequently in the mountains so it seemed like a good idea to visit the falls on a different day than when we did the skyway.

It turned out to be the right move. We wound up spending much longer at the falls than we thought we would have. We had great afternoon weather-wise on the day we planned to ride to the falls. 

That afternoon we rode to the skyway and set out for the falls. Being in the mountains always makes for some great riding and this was no exception. After twisting and turning our way through the mountains we came to our turn off for the falls. It was a nice ride over to the falls and upon arrival found plenty of parking available. Now I must add that we were there in April. I don’t know if the parking would be as abundant if you were there in the middle of summer.

After we packed away our jackets and stowed the helmets away, we started walking towards the little bridge where the falls are the most visible. That’s when we noticed some people walking down a trail that was on the far end of the parking lot. Hmmm, where did they come from we thought?

We asked one of the couples coming out of the trails and found out the trail led to the top of the falls. Upon further questioning, we were told that the hike up was all cleared trail and not that bad a walk. So off we went. The trail was a cleared trail of sizable width with some parts being wooden stairs and walkway. 

The Trail Leading Up

Now if you ever go to the falls I highly recommend you take the trail up. The views at the top of the falls were awesome. We just had a seat and took in nature at it’s finest. There is something about water that just makes it so calming even when it’s traveling over a cliff about 80 feet down.

After taking in the views from the top it was time to head down the mountainside back to the parking lot. Once at the parking lot we made our way across the lot and to the bridge. This view was just as awesome as the view from the top. A different angle but just as awesome. 

The Wood Walkway

We couldn’t resist going down to the river that the falls emptied into. The water eventually makes its way and dumps into the Tellico River. After taking some photos and videos from the lower level it was time to make our way back home. The ride back out of the mountains was just as good as when we rode in. We even stopped at a scenic overlook of the river to have a snack.

If you are ever near the Tennessee entrance to the Cherohala Skyway and have a little time to kill, I highly recommend you take a slight detour and visit the Bald River Falls.


7 thoughts on “Visiting Bald River Falls in Cherokee National Forest”

  1. Thanks for posting! Sounds like you got lucky with the weather in the end! I guess you make your own luck though with your careful planning. Your trip across the USA looks great.

    Anything you recommend taking down to the falls with you to make it even more special? What’s the accessibility like as well? Ok in trainers or should i wear hiking boots?

    • Ashley- Yes, we were able to get in a few days that were nice enough to ride. I would just bring a camera with you. Once you walk up to the top, you can get nice pictures. You could bring water and a snack if you wanted to just hang out up there and relax for a little while. We had boots on because we were riding but trainers would be just fine. The trail is well defined and other than it being uphill it was fairly easy to navigate… Dennis

  2. Wow, what a beautiful waterfall. I’ve been an avid hiker for as long as I remember, and that looks like a spot I would love to hike. It must have been a nice little surprise to get the idea to go to the top of the falls from that couple. If I go I will definitely take your recommendation and take the trail all the way up!

    • Koda- You won’t be disappointed!!! The view is awesome. Other than the fact your hiking uphill, the trail is in good condition and easy to navigate… Dennis

  3. Your trip reminded me of the time I drove from northern Virginia down through the Blue Ridge Parkway. The scenic adventure was breathtaking. I enjoyed reading your post and the way you described some of the details. And the photos! Wow! Really nice and do they ever add to the story.
    If you are ever of a mind to come further north I would suggest you look at a ride through the White Mountains of New Hampshire and an auto trip to the top of Mt. Washington. Here we are talking about super spectacular.
    Best to you on any further trips and adventures.

    • Steve- It’s funny you mention Mt Washington. That is definitely on our bucket list. We were in the area once but the weather was not good and they were not allowing anyone to go up.


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