Bald River is a small wild trout stream flowing cold and clear northward through the middle of the steep-sided Bald River Gorge and hence down the middle of this Wilderness. The Wilderness ends just before the river plunges dramatically over a 90-foot waterfall, Bald River Falls, and into the Tellico River. Southern Appalachian hardwoods, pine, dog hobble, and other flora cloak the mountain slopes above the river, home to black bears, deer, wild turkeys, and wild hogs. Fall turns the area into a quilt of color. Summer wildflowers are plentiful. The Bald River Trail climbs steeply from the Bald River Falls parking lot on the northern edge of the Wilderness, descends past a series of waterfalls and along an old logging railway bed, then rises to follow the side of the gorge. Alternating between riverbank and gorge rim, the trail eventually passes through thick stands of laurel and rhododendron before climbing briefly to the Cantrell Parking Area on the southern boundary. The distance is less than six miles, the hiking fairly easy, and campsites exist in several sheltered spots. Two additional trails provide shorter hikes. Human use is heavy. Anglers are limited to fly-fishing and must have a special fishing permit.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Bald River Gorge Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Tennessee Wilderness Act of 1984 - Public law 98-578 (10/30/1984) To designate certain lands in the Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee, as wilderness areas, and to allow management of certain lands for other purposes than wilderness