Adventures in the Southern Appalachians & Beyond!  






May 31st, 2009 - I had a great hike with Shannon, Campbell, and our good friends Alice and Mike to the beautiful Sill Branch Falls in the Clark's Creek area of Unicoi County, TN.                     


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Campbell Playing at the Falls

  Lower View of Sill Branch Falls

This is a short trek of about 1.0 mile round-trip, which makes it a good family hike.  The grade is also moderate to easy on a wide trail, which follows the stream.  Hemlocks (my favorite) are everywhere, but unfortunately are infected with Wooly Adelgid. 

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Looking Up   Up-Close

We all had a good time and enjoyed our hike.  Mike and I tried some slow shutter speeds with our cameras, taking a bunch of photos of the waterfall, while the girls talked.  The only disappointment was that the waterfall's flow was a little low.  So, if you go to check this out, do it after a really good rain.  Here's some pics with a little better flow that I took in late 2008:  see here     

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Mike at the Tripod   More...
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More...   Cam and Shannon
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Alice and Mike   A Tiny, Bright Orange Mushroom
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Campbell   Wildflowers

I think Sill Branch Falls is one of the most under-rated waterfalls in the area, especially after a good rain.  At the time of this report, I have it rated with 30 points on my scale, which is ranked 7th out of the 23 waterfalls I've visited so far in the eastern Tennessee region.  


Total Miles Hiked:  1.0 


Getting There :  


Driving - From Johnson City:  Take I-26 to the Erwin/Jonesborough exit (#37). At the end of the ramp turn right and take State Rt. 81/107 for 6.5 miles.  Stay on Rt. 107 by turning left and continue for 5 more miles. Turn left onto Clark's Creek Road and drive 3.1 miles into the Cherokee National Forest to a parking area on the left. A sign will indicate the trailhead for Sill Branch Falls.     


Trails - This is a short 0.5 mile hike to get to the falls on CNF Trail #115.  When you come to a fork in the trail, follow the sign to the falls by taking the trail to the left.  You'll have to immediately ford the stream, and then ascend up a steep hill (the only tough portion of the hike)  The trail dead-ends at the falls.    


Hike Rating -


Bill's Overall Rating:

Distance:  1.0 miles

Difficulty:  EASY

Type: OUT & BACK

Vista Rating: 

Waterfall Rating:  H(6) + F(4) + V(4) + W(2)  + G(3+4+7) = 30

Water Crossings:  2-MODERATE (EASY in times of low water flow)

Scrambling/Climbing:  EASY

Hazards:  slippery slopes, steep slope

Significance:  waterfall

Recommendation:  family/beginner, average


Click here for hike rating reference guide.



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