Falls Branch Falls
6-3-19 - My wife and I decided to add Falls Branch Falls to the itinerary on our recent camping trip in the Robbinsville, NC area. We were going to be cruising the Cherohala Skyway anyway, and the trail head is on the Skyway. I had only been once - and that was 5 cameras ago back in 2004! I'm glad we did go because the trail has apparently changed a bit since then, I got better pictures, and I was able to get some decent video. The hike to the waterfall is about 1.2 miles (one way) and moderate to difficult depending on your abilities. You lose over 500' in elevation from the Skyway to the waterfall and parts of the trail are steep, rocky, and rooty I would still say that trail is bigger kid friendly, though. The main part of the waterfall is about 60-70' high and there are cascades below where I am standing to take the photo in the above shot.
Directions: From Tellico Plains, take the Cherohala Skyway (TN165) east towards North Carolina for about 18 miles and park in the West Rattlesnake Rock pull off on the left. You will have just gone over a high bridge. From the North Carolina side, follow the Cherohala Skyway (NC143) to the Tennessee state line and continue another 1.5 miles to the parking area on the right. You will pass the East Rattlesnake Rock parking area, so pay attention and don't park here wondering where the trail head is. The trail begins on the other side of the rock wall at the sign.
This area is part of the Citico Creek Wilderness Area, so signs and trail markings are minimal. You shouldn't have any problems following this trail, however. The Falls Branch Trail (#87) shares the first part of the trail with the Jeffery Hell Trail (#196). In a very short distance, the trails split off with the Falls Branch Falls Trail heading to the left and slightly down hill. At about 0.5 miles into the hike, the trail gets very close to the Skyway and you'll catch glimpses of it through the trees on your left. For the next 0.5 miles, the trail remains relatively flat. (Somewhere in this area, the trail used to split with one trail heading back out to the bridge on the Skyway. We didn't notice that any more, so I'm assuming it has been decommissioned.) The trail then gets rockier and steeper as it descends towards Falls Branch. Once at Falls Branch, cross the creek and head up between the 2 rocks shown in the picture below.
You will have heard and seen Falls Branch Falls through the trees by now, but the first good look comes after this portion of the trail. The trail heads up a bit and then splits. Heading to the right will take you up below the falls for the view in the 1st photo below. The other trail heads up a bit more and brings you out at the base of the waterfall. Below are more shots and some video. Be sure to view the video in 4K on my YouTube channel!
Falls Branch Falls
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