If you're looking for a fun, moderate hike in the Cherokee National Forest, then you need to check out Margarette Falls!
It's an out and back trail located in Greeneville, Tennessee that follows a lovely creek, so constant water sounds and a waterfall reward at the end!
Margarette Falls Hike at a glance:
- Distance: 3.24 Miles
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation Gain: 611 Feet
- Highlights: Waterfall!
As you can see on the trail map, we started the trail at the trailhead on Shelton Mission Road. Two other trails branch off of the trail, but we stayed on the center trail to Margarette Falls.
My favorite kind of hike, downhill on the way out! There is a steady incline on the way to the falls. However the elevation gain of 611 feet is even spaced and is very doable.
There are plenty of rock stairs to help along the way. We stopped frequently to take photos and enjoy the cascading water, our time was 2 hours and 38 minutes and that was at a very leisurely pace!
We were visiting our daughter and her husband in Jonesborough, TN and our daughter asked us to go on a hike with her to Margarette Falls Trail in Greene County, TN, which is not too far from the town of Greeneville.
There are several trail options from this trailhead, all with the same starting point, but the directions for each are well marked as you head down the trail.
Starting the hike.
The trail starts as a wide, stony path through the forest and we were lucky to catch mountain laurels in bloom. Beautiful! Not too far in, the trail follows alongside a creek on your left. It is a very pleasant walk with the flowing water as a perfect soundtrack!
You soon reach an intersection where The Phillip Hollow trail bears to the left, crossing the creek, but you just continue on the same trail. There are signs and maps at this intersection so there isn’t a risk of confusion.
The creek is very scenic at this intersection but it just keeps getting better as you head up the trail!
From this point the trail begins to narrow and starts to get a bit more rocky and rooty as you ascend. You soon come to a metal bridge crossing the creek.
After the bridge crossing, the trail becomes somewhat challenging on the feet, with the roots and rocks.
Lots of water cascades!
But the trail soon leads into a section of forest that is a bit more kind to the feet. Along the way you can still enjoy the sounds, and sights, of the creek as it cascades over the rocks.
Easy creek crossing.
Another set of stone steps takes you up to the only other creek-crossing on the Margarette Falls Trail. There is no bridge for this crossing but there are a series of large, well-placed rocks that made it easy for us to cross the creek. Just keep in mind, as you plan your hike, that this might not be as easy to cross when the creek is up due to recent heavy rains.
The trail continues next to the creek as you head towards the falls. You will come upon a short, wooden bridge over a small trail section that probably gets runoff after rains.
Roots in this section.
You go through another rooty and rocky section of the trail as you approach the falls so watch your footing as you look for that first peek!
Margarette Falls cascading into the pool below is a beautiful scene and well worth the hike! There are lots of large rocks around the creek below and they are great spots to sit and enjoy your lunch!