Gentry Creek Falls

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I haven’t visited Gentry Creek Falls in NE Tennessee until 2017.  For some strange reason, I had it in my mind that the double Gentry Creek Falls were too far away for a day trip….. Also from what I was reading, they were extremely difficult to get to.  After finally doing some more in depth research on this one, I discovered I was way off.    It is in Tennessee….but just barely.  This waterfall was about as close to me as some other NE Tennessee Waterfalls I have previously visited, such as Laurel Creek Falls, The Blue Hole, Jones Falls, and Compression Falls.  The closest town Gentry Creek Falls is associated with is Laurel Bloomery, TN.  This is a tiny town near the place where the Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina state lines all meet.  Its very close to Damascus, Va  and Mountain City, Tn, and maybe 30 minutes from Boone, NC.  This one is actually pretty close for me.  I should have visited this one  long ago.

This one is pretty easy to drive to….even if other resources might describe it different.  Coming from NC, I go straight through Boone follow US 421 to Mountain City, TN.  Anyone coming from TN, just needs to find their way to Mountain City on US 421.  Once there, look for TN 91 heading north towards Damascus, Va and take it.  In 6 miles or so, in the tiny town of Laurel Bloomery, will be Gentry Creek Rd.  Turn here.  It comes to an intersection and Gentry Creek Rd turns right.  A sign will be here to help guide.img_2556So, make the right and follow the road until it turns to dirt.  Now, some of the resources describe this last dirt road section that is 1.2 miles as very rough, and pot hole filled and only fit for high clearance vehicles.  I did NOT find this to be the case.  Just past where the dirt road begins is a parking lot for the Rogers Ridge Trailhead.  I pulled in here and contemplated walking from here.  I am glad I decided not to.  While the road is narrow and there are a few potholes, the road was totally passable to my small Honda.  The few potholes can be safely avoided and it really was not that bad.  IMG_2558.JPGThere are two trails visible above, and the one straight behind the cars or the one that hugs Gentry Creek is the correct one.  The hike has been described as difficult.  I found it to be more easy to moderate.    It is all about following Gentry Creek.  It is 2 1/2 miles one way for a 5 mile round trip hike.  It is mostly level or a slight ascent heading to the falls.  The only real climb was just before the falls.  What makes this Waterfall hike unique and somewhat challenging is the 15 times that the blue-blazed trail crosses Gentry Creek.  This is a decent size stream and most…people will get their feet wet.  Rocks have been placed at every crossing.  Even with this, I found myself having to step in water a few times.  I had waterproof boots on and used Hiking Poles for balance crossing the streams.  The poles were very helpful.  Here is just an example of a crossing.img_2596Yes, there was lots of ice from the recent cold spell.  This made things even trickier, but also added amazing beauty at the falls.  Last note on the crossings: bring dry shoes and socks to change into and just do your best.  If your feet get wet, they get wet.  After crossing this creek a total of 30 times, most people will think about wet crossings differently.  I stayed dry on most, but 2 of them got me.  After #15 Gentry Creek Falls soon came into view:fullsizeoutput_1c24It was a beautiful, icy, rhododendron laced double waterfall nearly 60 feet high in total.  The best view of both falls comes on a large rock as you approach.  Climb up on the rock for the best photo op.

img_2237Now, I worked my way to the bottom for some views from the base.  This included another creek crossing, upping my total for the day to 32 times crossing Gentry Creek.  The bank on the opposite side was steep and icy, but I wanted the shot……img_9908img_9909img_9912I have read that the Upper Falls is accessible but difficult.  With all the ice present here, I decided not to test it today.  I have seen it described as more scenic than the bottom drop, so I will make a return trip someday when the ice is gone.  After this, it is pretty uneventful, just head back the way you came and on to the next one…..Prints will soon be available at www.waterfallshikerphotography.com.  It will be under the Tennessee section.   Some additional photos from the hike to leave you with:fullsizeoutput_1c28.jpegIMG_2621.JPGimg_2593img_2606img_2582

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