This trail is an easy-to-follow loop, but there is a bit of elevation gain on the way back to your car.
Time To Complete
The trail itself is easy, but most people want to spend some time at the falls.
The area is beautiful year round. In the spring/early summer, you’ll see blooming wildflowers, the water is refreshing to dip your toes in when it’s hot in the summer, and fall is beautiful when the leaves are changing colors.
You’ll find Turtletown Falls not far from the small town of Farner, Tennessee, and you’ll find not one, but two waterfalls at the turnaround point. The trail meanders by an upper falls and a lower falls, and then you’ll follow old logging road on the way back. The falls can get a bit strong after a good rain or two, so keep that in mind as you hike along the trail, especially if you’ve got an energetic pup in tow. The second half is more difficult than the first, with a bit of elevation gain as you make your way back to the trailhead.
What Makes It Great
All you have to do is follow the white markers along the trail for a zigzagging hike through Cherokee National Forest. With two flowing waterfalls and plenty of photographic opportunities, don’t forget your tripod if you want to get one of those great timelapse photos (this hike is great for it!). The hike is broken up into the larger upper falls and the “bonus” lower falls if you follow the creek just a little farther. This trail is a popular one, but every once in awhile you might get lucky and find yourself all alone out there.
The first mile works as a nice little warm-up for the rest of the trail—it’s an easy walk along the creek. It turns into a slightly more challenging hike that weaves around hills and has a bit of elevation change where it descends to the falls. The hike back out is what really gets your blood pumping. In the spring, you’ll get views of the raging Hiwassee River through the leafless trees, but in the summer, expect to be entirely enveloped in trees the whole time. Late spring/early summer is also the best time to come to see the wildflowers bursting into bloom. If you’re looking for a little nature therapy, you’ll find it on this route, no matter what the season.
Who is Going to Love It
Hikers, nature photographers, and trail runners will all be captivated by the Turtletown Falls Trail. The hike is short enough and can be done by hikers and runners of all levels, and is a fun way to spend a couple hours with the kids.
If you’re looking for a place to splash around in the summer, this spot isn’t for you. The force of the water can be quite strong, so it’s not safe to swim here.
Many people bring their dogs on this hike, but your four-legged hiking companion needs to be on a leash.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take Highway 5 N for about 10 miles where you’ll turn left onto TN-68. Continue for just over 11 miles and turn left on Farner Road. From here, drive for another 2.8 miles until you see a sign for Turtletown Falls. Be prepared to cross a wet bridge on your way in, and there’s a small parking lot at the trailhead.