Pete’s Branch Falls Trail

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My husband and I hiked Pete’s Branch Falls trail in Cherokee National Forest on Friday. It’s an easy trail located near Chuckey, Tennessee, and a good choice for anyone who is not up to a long day hike but still would like to get away from things for a couple of hours.

There’s a nice campground and several other trails close by. We parked at the picnic area along Horse Creek.

picnic area near Horse Creek
Covered picnic area

This would be a great place for group or family picnics; it has a covered picnic area, a rest room, garbage cans, and a few picnic tables located up an accessible trail right on the creek. 

picnic tables near the creek
Picnic tables close to the creek

I’m not sure what the fishing regulations are for the area, but we saw some small trout in deeper pools of the water.After looking around the picnic area, we turned to a rocky forest road and started hiking. forest road 94The first part of the hike follows the creek closely, and we crossed the stream several times. The head of the Pete’s Branch Trail actually begins about a mile into the hike. It was very easy to find. 

Petes Branch Falls trail headEventually we arrived at the end of the forest road and the beginning of the pedestrian-only trail. This area looked like a popular place for wilderness camping.

stone fire ring and camp site
A good wilderness camp site

There was a stone ring firepit and a level spot for a tent. We also spotted a wild green recliner hiding amongst the brush!

petes branch falls trail
Horse Creek
petes branch falls trail
A creek crossing

We moved up the slope where the trail became narrower and the creek was almost nonexistent.

petes branch falls trail
The pedestrian part of the trail

After climbing a small set of rock steps near the top of the trail, we finally reached a giant wall of rock.

There was only a trickle of water falling down the 45 ft drop. I imagine the waterfall would be beautiful after a heavy rain, but we haven’t had any in almost a month. We sat under a rock ledge and listened to the forest while we ate some fruit and drank our water. Then we headed back down the trail.

The entire hike took just over two hours. We saw several people at the picnic area when we returned, and the trail looked like it was used fairly frequently. We also saw garbage laying on the trail in several places, reminding me that I needed to tuck a pair of latex gloves and a garbage bag into my pack for next time. I don’t know how or why aluminum soda cans, plastic oil containers, wrappers, and plastic bottles end up on the trail, but it makes me sad to see it. I hope that it doesn’t become a regular sight!

If you’re interested in hiking the trail, you can find directions at the Cherokee National Forest website.

What did you do this weekend?

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