Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 37307
Falls Trail Dayhike
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Hike Leader: Marc Bernatti 423 261-2573
Hike Rating: easy to moderate
Hike Distance: around 3 miles, mostly downhill. A car shuttle will be used; kids and pets are welcome.
Hike Description: The trail starts at the Coker Creek Falls parking lot, follows the creek and ends at the Benton MacKaye/John Muir Trails near the Hiwassee River. At times, when hill hugging, the footing is difficult. A walking stick could be useful. Bring enough water and a snack. The Welcome Center in Coker Creek will be open to get what you forgot.
Directions: Meet at the Cocker Creek Welcome Center/Post Office on Hwy 68 (mile marker 34) at 10 AM. From Ducktown, go north on Hwy 68 - approximately 25 miles. From Tellico Plains, travel south on Hwy 68 - approximately 10 miles. There is no cell service in the remote areas around Coker Creek, so if you need to call the Gift Shop (423-261-2286) or Marc, do so before leaving Ducktown or Tellico Plains.
We’ll work out a shuttle arrangement and drop off a vehicle or vehicles at the bottom and take those drives back up to the parking lot to start our hike. The road near the bottom is very rough so, we need high clearance vehicles with good traction to get down and come back out.
Post Trip Report: The weather was perfect for this hike: mild temperatures and slightly overcast. Five hikers, including three from the Club and two guests, met up at the Coker Creek Welcome Center to drive to the Falls’ upper parking lot. A couple of hunters stationed there informed us that there were a number of hunters and 80 some dogs running hogs “on the mountain” and suggested we wear something “bright colored”. Note to hike leaders: suggest bringing bright colored safety vests in future hike announcements. One vehicle was stationed down at the bridge to shuttle the hikers back to the parking lot at hike completion. The Forestry Service had installed a new sign for travelers heading south on Duckett Ridge at the entrance to the Falls road. This sign seems to have survived so far, probably because it was a short ways into the FS road, but still visible enough for those looking. The trail had a few downed trees across the tread, but was passable. The two trees with root balls pulled up had damaged the trail. Those sections will need some serious work and rock hauling to fix. Near the bottom, we met an ambitious family with kids who were hiking the trail in and back out, UP from the bottom. We never did see or hear the hunters or their dogs while hiking. However, there were pick-up trucks parked all along the road, a sure sign of hunters. Making the hike were club members David and Debbie Flowers with their dog Abby, Marc Bernatti (hike leader), and our two guests, Jamie Mayfield and Amy Cass. See the picture at right.
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