The Bald River is a major tributary of the Tellico River located in the southern district of the Cherokee National Forest. The Bald River empties into the Tellico River and cascades over rocks forming a large waterfall, Bald River Falls, reported to be 90 to 100 feet high. The waterfall is easily visible from a bridge across the river on the scenic Tellico River Road (Forest Service Road 210). The location is about six miles from the turn off for the Cherohala Skyway (TN State Road 165), just past the Osterneck overlook.
The Tellico River Road, which was built on an old logging road, winds along the Tellico River for the entire drive. One can expect to see large boulders, majestic rock formations, fast flowing whitewater, and a lush green forest along the way. This river is not dam controlled by the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority,) so the water ebbs and flows in its natural state which makes it even prettier. The historic Tellico District Ranger Station, built as a Civillian Conservation Corps project, s on this road. If you continue on past the waterfall you come to Green Cove, which is a fish camp. The road then deadends into the Pheasant Fields fish rearing pools where visitors view the trout raised for stocking the river.
This is a largely an uncongested area and is located outside of the rural town of Tellico Plains. However, one should expect to encounter motorcyclists and sightseers during the busy fall and summer months. The majority of kayakers and canoeists come to the river in the spring since it is best paddled after a rainfall. There are no commercial outfitters on the Tellico River.
The waterfall is beautiful in all seasons. The changing colors in the fall can be seen throughout the Cherokee National Forest, but are especially beautiful in contrast to the water flowing from the waterfall. The spring offers Rhododendrons and a variety of spring flowers. The cool, clear, refreshing waters of the Tellico River offer relief from the summer heat. Swimming holes and shallow areas are all along the river. Be careful of fast moving water and losing your balance on slippery rocks. The waterfall has been known to ice over in the winter and is spectacular when it does.
A hiking trail known as Bald River Falls Trail can be reached from a parking lot just past the waterfall. This trail follows along the waterfall and the Bald River through deciduous trees and embankments along the river. This trail is 5.6 miles and ends on Forest Service Road 126 and is rated a moderate hike.
Access to the waterfalls along the Forest Service Road is generally accessible year round. However, the road has been closed in the winter due to icing and sometimes in the spring due to flooding.
The Tellico Ranger Station is open Monday-Friday. For more information on the weekends, stop by the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center on (TN 165) in Tellico Plains, before heading out to see the waterfall.
How to Get There
TN 165 (Cherohala Skyway) to Tellico River Road (FS 210) and park at Bald River Falls
ADA Accessibility Notes
The great thing about this waterfall is that you can enjoy it from your car window.
Pet Friendly Notes
The Cherokee National Forest allows pets as long as they are leashed.