Red Fork Falls

Our last hike for the day led us to Red Fork Falls in Unicoi County, Tennessee. This was by far the best hike of the day, a little more adventurous and one that got your heart pumping a little more.

We got off at exit 32 on 1-26, and headed towards Unicoi, Tennessee. The trailhead for the waterfall was located off of Red Fork Road and was marked with a large red circle on a tree.

According to the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce website, the waterfall, which is 80 feet high, is located in the Limestone Cove Community.

IMG_0344There was quite a bit of climbing involved in this hike, either on rocks or on tree roots located on the path. I’m starting to become good at seeing the hand and foot holes when climbing up and down rocks.

We crossed two creek beds before we found ourselves along the top of the waterfall. This is when we found many places that gave us plenty of opportunities to get a view of the cascading water.

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Thank goodness for digital camera’s, everything was worthy of a photograph at this waterfall.

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And the hike continued, so we could get a better view.

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IMG_0356Until we saw the water plummet over the edge.

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It became prettier the more we hiked down the trail.

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IMG_0361It always amazes me to see where all the water flows, especially when it cascades down such beautiful rock formations.

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A beautiful waterfall . . .

IMG_0365The best part about this waterfall is the water kept going, which made us want to follow the trail.

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IMG_0373We climbed out on the rock ledge at many points, so we could get the full impact of this beautiful waterfall.

IMG_0374Although it was all stunning, I have to say the pictures below are some of my favorites of the day.

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IMG_0378We wanted to head further down the trail to see more of the water that we were hearing, but the trails were not clearly marked and it was getting late. We will just have to visit this waterfall again.

On our hike back up the trail, we stopped for yet another view of the bottom of the waterfall.

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IMG_0381Before heading back out the trail, we ran into a local who said he has visited the falls since he was 4 years old. He said the waterfall was the driest he has ever seen it, which only makes me want to go back and see it again.

The Cherokee National Forest, an incredible place to be!

Another great day out in nature with Jason. We have had so many incredible adventures as we seek out more waterfalls to add to our list of ones we have seen.

Sill Branch Falls

Our second afternoon adventure led us to Sill Branch Falls, which was along the same road as Pine Ridge Falls on Clark’s Creek Road. This road was found off of Highway 107 in Unicoi County, Tennessee. The trailhead was right off the side of the road.

IMG_0277There were two trailhead signs right off the parking area. There were also signs every where warning us of bear activity. The trail, which led us to the waterfall was Sill Branch North.

IMG_0289This path, although uphill at certain sections, was not difficult to hike. Jason and I found ourselves going off the path down towards the creek, where there was more to see.

IMG_0279Every view we saw was breathtaking.

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Every time we got back on the path, we headed back down towards the water again. This is always where our adventures begin, always were the most fun is had.

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The pictures below is where we spent a lot of our time Monday afternoon.

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IMG_0306 After a while we got back on the main trail, which took us directly to Sill Branch Falls, a beautiful waterfall.

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As I sat and admired the view, the thought of “I wonder what it looks like after a good rainfall” crossed my mind. When Jason and I first started going to all the waterfalls at the start of the summer, it was always after a good rain.

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The trees in the Cherokee National Forest kept tugging at my attention today while Jason was exploring. Everything is so green, so tall over our heads.

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Our hike also included some critters, some creepy crawlers . . . reminding us that you can never be too careful while out hiking.

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I have to admit I stood back aways while Jason took a picture of the timber rattler, I’m not a big fan.

Overall it was a fairly easy hike to the waterfall, one that offered plenty of rocks at the bottom of the falls to sit and enjoy the view.

The GPS coordinates for the Sill Branch Falls parking area, which we plugged into our Garmin were: N 36° 7.812′, W 082°  32.156′.

Pine Ridge Falls

Pine Ridge Falls, in Unicoi County, Tennessee was our first adventure of the day. This Longarm Branch trailhead, which is in the Cherokee National Forest, was located off of Clark’s Creek Road, which we found off of Highway 107.

IMG_0276The hike was not bad at all, although we had to watch where we stepped because it is also used by horses.

IMG_0275It was a pretty trail nonetheless and a rather short one to our destination.

IMG_0274There was one creek crossing along the trail, which again was pretty simple to get to the other side due to the low water.

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After we walked across the creek there is an opening in the trail where you can head straight or turn left. Make sure you turn left, this is the path that leads to the waterfall. Shortly after we continued our hike in that direction, we started to hear the water.

IMG_0231We of course followed many trails that led us to the creek along the main path, which provided us with some incredible views and sounds of the water.

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The waterfall was our next destination. We were able to climb directly in front of it, which is always fun.

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After we sit and admire the waterfall, Jason and I always climb to see where the water flows from. Every time we find more incredible views. The pictures below are from the top of the waterfall. It’s always neat to get that perspective.

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Today was another great day in the Cherokee National Forest. It was another beautiful waterfall that we will add to our growing list of ones we have seen. Each waterfall has its own personality, its own unique characteristics, making them all beautiful in their own way.

The GPS coordinates for the Pine Ridge Falls parking area, which we plugged into our Garmin were: N 36° 7.518′, W 082°  32.264′.

Laurel Falls, an anniversary hike

Jason and I went back to Laurel Falls today, which is located in the Cherokee National Forest (Pond Mountain Wilderness) in Hampton, Tennessee. It was truly a perfect day, a great way to celebrate us being together for four years.

Although the rain came down as we started our hike, we kept going. I’m so glad we did, the rain stopped and our adventure continued.

After hiking about a mile down the trail, it turns into rocks, well stairs almost, that you have to hike down to get to the waterfall.

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The hike up is always a little more rigiourous than the one heading down to the falls.

This beautiful waterfall is 40 feet high and 50 feet wide. The first time we hiked to Laurel Falls it was after a good rain and the water was pouring down the rocks. This time it was completely different.

Laurel Falls, Sept. 9

Laurel Falls, Sept. 9, 2013

Laurel Falls,  July 22, 2013

Laurel Falls, July 22, 2013

The sound of the waterfall was completely different today, but with that said, it was still incredible to see again.

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IMG_0222Since there was not as much water at the bottom of the waterfall today, we made our way across to the other side to see yet another perspective of the waterfall.

IMG_0226We then made our way out into the middle and stood directly in front of it. The water was cold, but it felt great.It’s always a rush to get directly in front of a waterfall. This is where you feel and hear the power of it all. There is no other sound quite like it, no other sound that gives you that sense of calmness.

Now this is where the fun began. The last time we were here in July, a couple of guys who were camping, showed Jason a trail that went directly up. That trail starts alongside the waterfall. Well today was the day, today I climbed up this trail on all four’s at a few points until Jason and I reached the part that became a little more even alongside the waterfall.

IMG_0220This is looking down the trail from top, which really doesn’t give it justice . . .

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Jason and walked out onto some of the rocks at the top of the waterfall and watched where it all accumulated before falling down the front of the rocks. This was a rush, an absolute rush.

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The picture above and below, was my favorite view of the day. It was stunning to see how the water hollowed out part of the rock. Jason and I both agree, that is definitely something you want to see in person.

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I still cannot get over the hike we did to get there. I have to admit my heart started pumping as the trail became narrow and I looked over the ledge and saw how far up we were. That’s where Jason came in, he sensed when I needed a little encouragement, he became my strength and I hiked on and am so glad I did.

Like always, we kept our adventure going and continued to follow the trail. Jason heard from a few people that there was another waterfall and we were determined to find the second one.

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Another waterfall that we witnessed alone . . . another breathtaking view . . .

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IMG_0203It was a rather wide waterfall . . . and it was kind of tough to get it all in one photograph.

Well, we kept going after this and found a few campsites along the trail that had a great view of the creek. As we sat on a few rocks to take a break, I found some beautiful flowers along the edge of the water.

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It was a great day, one that pushed me to my limits once again, making me overcome my fears. My confidence is soaring, especially when I saw the continuous smile on Jason’s face. One of the best parts of the hike was an embrace Jason gave me after completing one section of our hike, as well as his remarks. Yep, I have a great man in my life, one who I fall in love with more a little every day.

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How can you not have a good day when all of this is your view? When all you breathe is the fresh air after an afternoon shower?

A perfect day, a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary. A day I will remember for years to come.

Directions from 1-26 to the trailhead:

  • Take exit 24 to Elizabethton on Scenic US 321                          8.4 miles
  • Turn right at 19E Jcts staying on 321                                           5.2 miles
  • In Hampton turn left on 321                                                          1.3 miles
  • Look to the right for the parking lot and trailhead area.

Alternate hike:

  • In Hampton turn left on 321                                                           0.8 miles
  • Take a right on to Dennis Cove Drive                                            3.3 miles
  • Take the windy road up the mountain to the Appalachian Trail Crossing at the Dennis Cove trailhead where you will find a parking lot on either side of the road.

Gentry Creek Falls

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Today’s hike was insane … a new adventure that left me feeling extremely confident by the time we left.

We parked just outside the trail, ate a sandwich and the spotted a ton of butterflies. They were everywhere.

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The trail was absolutely beautiful. There was a fast flowing creek along the path, one that we had to cross 26 times in and out of the National Cherokee Forest.

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I have to say it was quite hard the first time, but on our way out it was much easier because we saw the rocks that guided us across the creek.

Time and time again Jason has me look fear in the face and beat it. He held my hand across and showed me which rocks to stand on, all while encouraging me. It was incredible really to defeat that fear of walking through rushing water of that speed.

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With all the rain yesterday, the water was freezing and our feet were constantly cold throughout the walk. The perk of this of course was we were cool throughout our whole hike.

The hike of course was all worth it when we stumbled across this site …

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I love seeing waterfalls, no two are ever the same. The sound of course is the best part of it all.

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Today’s hike was a great adventure, one that pushed me past my own limits. I felt incredible as we made our way back out to the car.

These hikes are such a breath of fresh air, literally, because you are out in the wilderness taking everything in around you. 

Jason is an incredible hiking buddy … I love the support and the nonstop encouragement he gives me when I need it the most. Today again showed me why I love this man so much and how much he inspires me on a constant basis.

Another fabulous day, another perfect day with the man I love.

One beautiful spot after another

Tonight Jason and I went exploring, a much needed break from my desk and computer.

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Our drive took us to a portion of the Cherokee National Forest. The lake was surrounded by mountains and lush green trees everywhere. We even spotted a mamma duck with her young swimming towards the shore.

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Unfortunately it was raining during our drive, so we did not have the opportunity to walk around and sit at the many picnic tables surrounding the lake.

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So we continued to drive down a very scenic road where we stopped again.

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I stood in the rain holding an umbrella while snapping pictures …

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Until it was time to get in the car again. I love how it feels like you can touch the clouds when the weather is overcast …

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Jason then took us down a beautiful country road that had a canopy of bright green trees overhead. Of course we were led to a creek …

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The sound of the water is my new favorite sound. I become mesmerized as my feet do not want to move.

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I will never grow tired of finding spots like this where my thoughts become lost as the sounds of the water capture all of my attention.

Although it was rainy, tonight was exactly what I needed. I love how Jason knows when to take me away from work. I came home relaxed and ready to start writing more articles in the morning.

We live in such a beautiful state. I fall in love with Tennessee a little more every day.