Sunday, December 5, 2010
Forever is composed of nows.
~Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American poet
Above: Pine Ridge Falls in the Clark's Creek area of Unicoi Co. Even if you're not much of a hiker, Clark's Creek is a beautiful drive, especially this time of year when you can see through the woods to the creek below. It's one of the few forest service roads in the area that I can confidently say a high clearance vehicle isn't necessary. It has some potholes here and there, but overall it's a level and well-maintained gravel road. It's about four miles from the main highway to where it ends in a cul-de-sac. Two waterfalls are in close proximity to one another, Sill Branch Falls and Pine Ridge Falls. Both are short, fairly easy hikes (1/2 mile each). For a longer, more difficult hike, check out Buckeye Falls.
Directions: (From Johnson City, TN) Take I-26 to the Erwin/Jonesboroughexit #37. At the end of the ramp, turn right and take State Route 81/107 west for 6.5 miles, stay on Rt. 107 by turning left and continue for 5 more miles. Turn left on Clark's Creek Road and drive 3.3 miles (the last 1.9 will be gravel) into the Cherokee National Forest to a parking area on the left (It's 0.2 miles past the parking area for Sill Branch Falls). A small brown sign will indicate the trailhead for "Longarm Branch Trail." After a short hike (1/2 mile?), you'll reach the creek crossing; once across, the trail will fork -- stick to the left, the falls are just a short distance further.