Tuesday, May 18, 2010

in the eye of the beholder

If a given combination of trees, mountains, water, and houses, say a landscape, is beautiful, it is not so by itself, but because of me, of my favor, of the idea or feeling I attach to it.
--Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet

Martin's Creek Falls is a 20-foot tall waterfall just outside of Erwin, TN. It's not very well known -- but what it lacks in terms of power and majesty, is made up for in peace and tranquility. It's worth a visit - especially after some heavy rains. In times of drought this waterfall is reduced to a trickle. Click here for a full description and detailed directions.

Last year the gate to the forest service road leading up Martin's Creek was locked -- I never did figure out why. But I was in Erwin this weekend and thought I'd again check it out -- and was glad to see the gate opened. The road is still rough, so a high clearance vehicle is recommended. And while there's evidence that a number of trees came down over the winter, the road is passable. The one surprise was the condition of the short trail leading to the falls. It's in terrible shape. It's as if someone came through intending to improve it, but left the cut trees and brush in the middle of the trail. Hopefully this is temporary. But with some effort and scrambling over the trees, you'll soon arrive at the falls.


  1. I live in the Lilydale neighborhood near the gate on Martin's Creek road. You mention being happy that the gate was open. I wish they would leave it closed all the time. I'm 53 years old and I can walk from the gate to the falls in just over 20 minutes. I can walk all the way to the end of the road in less than an hour. Leaving the gate open encourages people to drive up there and dump trash, throw their cigarettes out the window, etc. I know this because I pick up the trash along the road on a regular basis. I'll be doing it again today after coming down from a hike up to Curly Maple Gap (and beyond). Why do you need to drive on that road?

  2. Thanks for your comment. I could definitely live with the gate being permanently closed, after all, it would only be about a mile hike into the falls. What kept me from doing this last year was that there is no place to leave a car at the gate without either blocking the gate or completely annoying the people who live right there. Moving the gate in 30 yards and creating a small parking/turn around area would keep out the riffraff and yet insure this beautiful area is accessible to those of us who appreciate it.

  3. Beautiful waterfall! Thanks for sharing this pic.


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