Benton Falls TN was the first waterfall that Frankie and I visited together just after we first met. Due to it's close proximity and ease of access, it became a regular favorite of ours and it still is today for many reasons.
Located in the southern portion of the Cherokee National Forest of eastern Tennessee, this waterfall is stunning not just because of it's beauty alone, but because of the scenic wonders of the Ocoee area as well.
We like to think the scenic "trail" to the falls starts while you're still in your vehicle! If you're coming from the Chattanooga area, you'll drive past Parksville Lake and be immediately stunned by breathtaking views.
Then as you wind your way through the lakeside highway and up Chilhowee Mountain, you'll be captured at every overlook as you gaze at the breath-taking views below. The first left-hand pullout offers an incredible view of the water and Sugarloaf Mountain that are sure to prompt a selfie...or two...or TEN!
Follow the signs to the Chilhowee day use area, where you'll pay a mild $3 fee for parking and usage.
The area has a seasonal campground, restrooms, grilling and picnic facilities, and even a beach with swimming allowed at McCamy Lake.
There is a nice trail that circles the lake which connects to Benton Falls Trail proper with pretty good signage for directions, but you can also find a pretty good online map at the Benton Falls Trail page on the USDA website.
There are also several trails through the area, so if your spending the day or even camping, you'll have plenty of trail action if you so choose.
We usually prefer to bring our own food when visiting the Benton Falls area. This option also affords us the greatest ability to tailor our food to our particular way of eating.
But, if you are looking for someone else to cook for you, you can find a few options nearby and plenty as long as you don't mind traveling a little further (up to 45 minutes, which is nothing to travelers like us).
From Benton Falls headed toward Cleveland Tennessee:
We have eaten at Big Mike's Outdoor BBQ once. We got the pulled pork and ONLY the pulled pork at the time with no sides, because of our Carnivore way of eating. So we can't comment on the sides, but the pulled pork was pretty good. We will probably stop back by in the near future and try some ribs or another meat from the menu.
Just down the road from Mike's, there is a Subway inside the Shell station if you are looking for a sub sandwich on the go.
If you're in the mood for pizza or Italian fare, you could continue cruising and stop by the Ocoee Gondolier.
Probably one of the most famous restaurants nearby is the Ocoee Dam Deli and Diner (partly because of their play on words with the name). We can testify that they do have some pretty tasty fried food. If you're wanting pretty standard American fare with their own twist, this would be the place.
And of course there are other options in other directions. You can search toward Ducktown, Benton, and further toward Cleveland. No matter your preference, within 15 to 45 minutes from Benton Falls, you'll find plenty of restaurant options.
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