Monday, June 30, 2008

Margarette Falls

One of the most popular waterfalls to visit in Greene County, TN is the spectacular, 60-foot-tall Margarette Falls (sometimes spelled 'Marguerite'). The hike to get there is surprisingly beautiful, but also fairly strenuous. The trail snakes its way through impressive rock formations, over and around lots of small waterfalls and cascades, and across four creek crossings as it makes its way through the gorge to the falls. Even though it's listed as a moderate/strenuous hike (the slick rocks, the humidity and my backpack weren't helping me), I have to say it's one of the most scenic hikes in our area. The waterfall itself is magnificent - the combination of free-falling water and cascades makes this waterfall unique and picturesque.

Directions from I-26 -- take the Erwin/Jonesborough exit #37. At the end of the ramp, turn west toward Jonesborough taking State Route 81/107 west for 6.5 miles; stay on Rt. 107 by turning left and continuing for 16 more miles until you reach Route 351, turn left and travel for 4.5 miles, then take another left onto Route 350 (Greystone Road). Continue on for 3.8 miles and then turn right onto Shelton Mission Road. After 1.3 miles, turn right into the large gravel parking area for Margarette Falls, Phillips Hollow Trail and Bullen Hollow Trail (watch your odometer, the parking lot is easy to pass because the sign for it faces the other direction!).

After parking, walk the gravel road for 1/2 mile to another clearing. From here, take the trail to your right and almost immediately you'll come to another fork, go left. Follow the trail for approximately 0.7 more miles to the falls (it seems much farther!). Both Bill Fuller and Wendell Dingus describe two more waterfalls above Margarette, click here and here for more.

Update 8/31/08: Click here to read the account of a young hiker who was seriously injured when he slipped and fell 40' while attempting to climb Margarette -- in all, it took a team of 80 volunteers to rescue him.

Update 4/17/12: They've rerouted the trail and built a bridge, which changed this hike significantly. It's still a lovely hike, but to be honest, it's not quite the same. While the trail still follows the creek, it has been moved up the sides of the surrounding hills for much of the hike. The good news is that there is now only one creek crossing. Also, evidence of the terrible storms that blew through this area two years ago can still be seen with all the trees that were blown down. Still recommend the hike - the falls are gorgeous!

17 comments:

  1. Picturesque indeed! Very beautiful....

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  2. Mark, this past weekend I was driving around the greeneville are and happened to find Margarette Falls and Round knob. I started up the road to go to Round knob but later turned around due to the amount of hunters on the sides of the road and never made it to the top. I was wondering if you knew if there was anything on round knob to see or if there were views from the top.

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    1. If you go up round knob at night and park at the top, you can see the lights from Greeneville, Morristown, and Johnson City.....It is a beautiful sight!

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    2. how ever if you go up during the day you enter a little rest area type of deal and off to the side is a trail its easy for the first mile and a half then gets more difficult i had my three and six year old with me so when the terrain changed we had to back down but what we saw it was a very pretty area and im sure once you get to the top it will be wounderful!

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    3. how ever if you go up during the day you enter a little rest area type of deal and off to the side is a trail its easy for the first mile and a half then gets more difficult i had my three and six year old with me so when the terrain changed we had to back down but what we saw it was a very pretty area and im sure once you get to the top it will be wounderful!

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  3. Hi Jarrod, I haven't been there - so I won't be any help on this one - sorry! :)

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  4. Round Knobb is a nice place to picnic,but the tree's are so tall there isn't to see but the forest but on the trip up at one spot you can see all of Greeneville and some surrounding counties' i would recomend you go.

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  5. We visited the falls last Saturday and had a great hike. The trail has been greatly improved recently with gravel and an awesome bridge that makes one of the crossings a breeze. Fairly easy hike steep grades and the last 1/4 mile is a no pass zone goat trail. We encountered some people who had been drinking at the falls we would not recommend that unless u lick casts. There are a few recently fallen trees over the path and one in the top swimming hole at the falls. worth the hike for sure.

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  6. When I lived in the area in the late 1980's I would often go for drives up to Round Knob. I mostly just liked the drive, but at the top there was a small shelter as I recall and spring tapped where folks would bring jugs to bottle their own water long before bottled water was the "in" thing. Also some folks would be brave and take horse trailers up there as there were horse trails. I don't know if any of this, including my memory about the horse trails, is still accurate in 2012.

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  7. Just did this hike on May 26, 2013 and not only found Bailey Falls, but climbed above Bailey Falls. You can see part of the other fall from the bottom of Bailey Falls, but there are two falls up above, not just the one. It's pretty up above Bailey Falls and not all the difficult to climb. We had to stop there though. There was a ridge i wasn't prepared to climb which is a shame. I would have loved to have followed the stream on up.

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  8. Im somewhat new to hiking and am not familiar with the new trails up there. Is there any map/guide or some way you could tell me how to get to the falls? it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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  9. I'm sorry for the confusion. While the trail has been 'rerouted' it still follows the same stream as before - what's changed is that the trail no longer is right next to the stream the entire way, but has been moved up the side of the creek bank in various places. So the "directions" section above is still accurate -- it describes how to get to the parking lot and from there to the falls. There really only one crucial point and that's at the end of the gravel road. After you've walked that road for ½ mile or so you'll come to a large clearing (can't miss it), look to the right and you'll see the trailhead. Take this trail and you'll immediately come to a fork, stay left, and that will take you all the way to the falls. Happy trails. --mark

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  10. Tried this hike yesterday. Just after the bridge, about .2 miles from the falls, the trail goes onto a ledge, narrow, and boulder covered. Don't know how far this path of large rocks goes because it disappeared around a corner. We had our older lab with us and neither he or my husband and I could navigate this obstacle. Why did they do that to the trail? We had to turn around and go back - very disappointed. B. Young 6/7/14

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    1. We are getting ready to go to Margeritte Falls Saturday.. do you know if the path is still blocked?

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    2. I've heard from others who have emailed to tell me they've made it to the falls since then. But can't vouch for what condition the trail is in.

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  11. We visited this waterfall yesterday. The trail is in good shape, and the falls were beautiful. Plenty of opportunities for photos. We saw some huge trees which were felled by the tornadoes about 5 years ago, but not on the trail. At the falls we were greeted by a black snake that had just caught and swallowed it's meal. On the way back to the parking lot, we saw a lot of blood on some rocks, and at first thought someone had had an accident, but another lady told us a guy had just killed a rattlesnake. I had just commented to my husband that the sunny areas of the trail would be a perfect place for a snake to sun itself. I really wish they'd left it alone.

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  12. Has anyone been up there this week
    Wondering the conditions with all this rain???

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