Saturday, May 6, 2017
Rainbow Falls - Benton Falls
Lora and I headed out to the Cherokee National Forest to find waterfalls on the Chilhowee Trail System. We went to the Tennessee Landforms website and located falls to search for.
We started out at the Clemmer Trailhead on Hwy 30. It was 1.7 miles out to the "Rainbow Falls" according to their map. On the trail sign it just said water falls. There were a couple of good water crossings to be done on the way out there going across Rock Creek.
The first fall you come to is the 20' Rock Creek Falls. Off to your left there is a path going up along the rock wall. Once up on the rock wall you continue hiking to the 40' Chestnut Mountain Falls. From there you will notice water coming in from the left. Climb up the bank through the rhododendron about fifty yards to the 25' Thornburg Ridge Falls Which flows from under a large rock bridge. Continue to work your way above the falls to find yourself facing the 16' Big Bluff Falls.
We hiked back to the car and then headed to the Benton Falls trailhead at McKamy Lake. We did the 0.5 mile hike around the lake first. You can just go straight over the dam to get to the trail. As you head down to the base of Benton Falls you will notice a footpath to the right when the trail makes a left. This footpath ends shortly and you have to climb through the rhododendron to the 20' Silvermine Creek Falls. Straight ahead across the creek you can climb through the rhododendron to view the 20' Elora Falls. We headed back to the car and almost made it before the rain poured down on us.