The hiking trail to Gentry Creek Falls is in the teeny tiny community of Laurel Bloomery on the edge of eastern Tennessee. If you blink, you will certainly miss it. (Although I read that the yearly Old Time Fiddler’s Convention is held here, which draws quite the crowd.) There is a sign pointing to the Cherokee National Forest just before the turn, which will point you in the right direction to find the trail.
We began early that morning. Even before the sun had time to warm the spring air. We were the only car in the parking lot, and by the looks of the hanging spider webs, the first hikers of the day to venture out on the trail.
The trail is about 2.5 miles (each way) and includes either 14, 15, or 17 creek crossings. (I say “or” because every website I read during my research gave a different number.) I tried to keep count myself, but my attention span made it to about 3. The dirt part of the trail is an easy going hike along the creek. There really isn’t much to see other than the occasional blooming flower or a mini waterfall created by the river.
But when you come to one of many creek crossing, be ready for soggy shoes. The crossings range from a tiny step over trickling water, to planning foot placement on the rocks just hoping that they are not slimy and your foot is not going to slide off,
to tip toeing across a log with a very big stick for balance.
At a certain point you begin to realize how time consuming trying to pull a dainty maneuver is and just say, “Screw it. I’m stepping in.”
The waterfall is definitely worth the wet socks. It is actually a double falls, but none of my photos of the upper falls were blog worthy, so you just get the impressive part.
We plopped down on a nearby log just barely in the water spray, which our sunburned faces welcomed.
Just as our shoes were beginning to dry, we headed back the way we came, but not before climbing up on the big rock formation to get a glimpse of our surroundings.
What an excellent day! Even if it ended with shriveled prune feet.
How To Get There:
From Mountain City, TN, take Rt. 91 north toward Damascus, VA for 7 miles. At Laurel Bloomery, turn right onto Gentry Creek Road (across from the A to Z Market). Drive 0.7 miles, then turn right to stay on Gentry Creek Road. Drive 2.4 miles to a cul-de-sac at the end of the road. The last 1.3 miles is a bumpy gravel drive. Soon after the road turns to gravel, you will pass another parking area on your left. Be sure to keep right and drive until you reach the end.
(This post was originally published on our sticks or stones blog, which is no longer in publication.)