Scenic USA - Tennessee

Bald River Falls

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Bald River Falls - Cherohala Skyway, Tennessee

Photos by Chris Byard

     What would 100 million dollars buy during a time near the end of the 20th century? Well in this case, deep in the Southern Appalachian Wilderness, the tidy sum was enough to produce a highway that only bikers and driving enthusiasts could have dreamt up. Funded with a grant from the National Scenic Byway program, the 43 mile highway is a shortcut, connecting Tellico Plains in Tennessee with Robbinsville, North Carolina. The Cherohala Skyway, taking its name from the Cherokee and Nantahala national forests, twists, turns and climbs its way through rugged mountain peaks, offering a two-lane avenue of driving pleasure with mile high panoramic views all along the way.
     The Bald River, a powerful stream, begins at a high elevation Bald River Falls USFS Sign in the Unicoi Range near the Tennessee-North Carolina border and descends to the Tellico River. Recognized as a premiere trout stream, the Bald River offers anglers an opportunity for brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Both Bald and North rivers are managed as wild trout streams, with exceptional catches of brown trout. For waterfall fans, Bald River Falls is one of the inspiring stops along the byway. This 90 foot waterfall is among some of Tennessee's most scenic waterfalls. The roadside falls area is about 12 miles east of Tellico Plains. Located on the scenic Tellico River Road (FR 210), about five from the western beginning of the byway, the falls are about six miles upstream. The falls are easily seen from a bridge, but for avid hikers Trail 88 follows the stream for additional waterfall views. Kahuan Falls, Bald River Cascade, and Suislide Falls are further upstream. Out and back distance is just under five miles, and estimates for the hike vary from two to three hours.

       Byway Map


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