Water Falls near Watauga Lake
Blue Hole – at the base of Holston Mountain near Stoney Creek. Turn onto Panhandle Road off Highway 91 – shortly after the pavement turns to gravel there is a small parking area on the left. Walk down the hill.
Coon Den (Bear Cave) – the trail is located along the road between the National Forest campground and the Appalachian Trail/Laurel Fork trailhead, .6 miles from the trailhead near a private property boundary. Look for a culvert under the road where the stream runs into Laurel Fork. Beyond the falls the trail tees into the Appalachian Trail. The slope up to the falls is moderate.
Jones Falls – located near the Appalachian Trail close to the Buck Mountain area of Carter County. A side trail goes to the falls from the Appalachian Trail. N36.20290, W81.98234
Laurel Falls (Laurel Fork Falls) – located on the Appalachian Trail between Hampton and Dennis Cove. It is a fairly large waterfall (40’ high by 50’ wide) into a deep gorge. The shortest, mostly level (except in a couple places) route is from Dennis Cove. The Hampton trail is about an hour hike, mostly level with a few climbs and the access point is located on Highway 321/67 in Hampton and goes through the Pond Mountain Wilderness area.
Forest Service Trail 39 – runs along Laurel Fork stream above Dennis Cove. The trailhead is along the bridge right before the Forest Service campground. A wet hike as it involves several crossings of the stream, but has large waterfalls with large splash pools. Tunnel through the rhododendron to reach the first falls. The triple cascade is next and is just a short distance up the trail.
Twisting Falls – located in one of the more remote areas, take Poga Rd. off Highway 321 in Elk Mills, TN, to Clawson Rd, then to Dark Ridge Rd. Park near a barn and walk a slow, steep descent to the falls. Requires great caution. N36.22972 W81.97528
More information can be found at www.johnsoncountytrails.org for the below listed fall.
Gentry Creek Falls – A 2.5 mile hike each way, but moderate. At the intersection of Highway 421 and Highway 67 in Mountain City, head east on Hwy 67 go 2 traffic lights and turn left onto Highway 91 (N). Go 7.4 miles to Laurel Bloomery. Turn right onto Gentry Creek Rd – go .7 miles, turn right – follow that road (which is still Gentry Creek Rd) 1.8 miles until it turns to dirt. Go .2 miles to a parking area on the left, but continue on 1.8 miles of a very rough, narrow road to a wide parking spot. The trail goes NE from here crossing the creek 13 times, but there are 2 falls, each about 30 foot high.
Elk River Falls – One of the area’s most powerful falls and easily accessible. Take Highway 19E to Elk Park, North Carolina (just over the border from Roan Mountain, TN) turn north onto Old Mill Road – go ¼ mile, turn North again on to Elk River Rd. Go 4 miles until the road dead ends at the falls parking area. A short ¼ mile hike to the base of the falls.
More information can be found at www.cartercounty.info/waterfalls