Follow along with outdoorsman and writer Johnny Molloy as he treks through the mountains of Northeast Tennessee.
Escaping the crowds on scenic backroads and hiking through a remote valley in the Cherokee National Forest will lead you a double decker waterfall that even the locals don’t know about, located deep in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee.
Gentry Creek Falls is located near Mountain City, Tenn., and is one of the lesser-visited, yet worth the trek waterfalls in the area The 4.8-mile there-and-back hike takes you to a two-tiered 60 ft. cataract tumbling over rock bluffs into a sea of rhododendron, amid the heights of a secluded hardwood forest.
Gentry Creek Falls can be a real showstopper when flowing bold. At the trailhead, you’ll see two trails heading north. Take the path on the left, labeled Gentry Creek Trail. The other path is an unmaintained trail.
This hike requires 13 stream crossings. However, at normal water flow you’ll stay dry with stepping stones at each point. The stream gradient increases throughout the hike as trekking poles are recommended.
You’ll find your first creek crossing after the .5 mile marker. As you get deeper in the valley, fractured rock bluffs appearing in the forest slopes. At this point, the bordering ridges rise sharp, forcing the path to crisscross Gentry Creek in order to stay on flat ground.
Your final creek crossing will come just before 2.5 miles, as the trail rises and becomes extremely rocky. Just ahead, Gentry Creek Falls opens with two 30-foot waterfalls dropping over the scenic rock bluffs. It is easy to reach the lower falls and pool, as attempting the second one is not recommended. Once you’ve reached your final point, turn around and make the trek back to the main Gentry Creek Falls trailhead.
GPS trailhead coordinates: 36.542392, -81.724514
While You’re There
Gentry Creek Falls is located 30 minutes from Mountain City, Tenn. There you’ll find a town that deeply rooted in Americana folk music, local artisans, as well as an off-road paradise at Doe Mountain Recreation Area.
Leave No Trace
Johnny Molloy is the author of many outdoor guides including Best Tent Camping: Tennessee, Paddling Tennessee, and Five Star Trails Tri-Cities: East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.