Margarette Falls(4/21/2010, 18 mm, f/16, 3.2 sec, ISO 100)
The hike to this waterfall is just super. The scenery is tremendous, rivaling anything in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. The hiking distance is short enough for almost anyone to attempt, and during wildflower season you'll be treated to trilliums and many other varieties of native flowers. The second waterfall photo to the left is one of several small cascades you will encounter on the hike to Margarette Falls.
The waterfall itself is very nice. Unfortunately it started to rain when I was there so most of my pictures of the main falls didn't turn out. You'll just have to trust me. It's a nice waterfall in a beautiful setting. The combination of the setting and picturesque hike caused me to bump the G rating to a 7.0, very nice indeed considering how stingy I am with high numbers.
High resolution versions of the pictures seen here can be found in my waterfall photo gallery.
Now for some not so good news. The directions in Gregory Plumb's book "Waterfalls of Tennesse" are not entirely accurate. Normally spot on, I think the road names/signs have changed since he visited. I got lost. Ok, not lost exactly but I took some extra turns to get there. Based on my experience I would recommend you use the direction to the waterfall as listed on the Appalachain Treks website which bring you to the parking lot from a slightly different route. I have always had good luck with Mark's directions.
You can also use the following link to customize your own directions to Margarette Falls.
View Margarette Falls in a larger map
From the parking lot head down the access road at the back of the parking lot. After 0.5 miles you'll reach the end of the road. This little clearing/turnaround used to be the parking area. Take the trail to the right that begins following Dry Creek up the gorge. Immediately take the left fork and stay near the stream. From here it's another 0.7 very picturesque miles up to Margarette Falls.
Dry Creek drops down the gorge in a series of small cascades and waterfalls for the entire distance. There are about 4 creek crossings but no real problem staying dry. The hike is all uphill on the way in with an elevation change in the range of 600 feet. While not a terribly difficult hike, there are a few scrambles up and over boulders caused by flooding in recent years.
The primary view from the base is very nice. Try zooming out to include more trees and foliage around the waterfall. Water spots on my filter ruined this picture for me.
As always I recommend the use of a polarizer to cut down on reflections.
You'll need a wide-to-normal zoom lens here in the 18-55 mm range because of the proximity to the waterfall and its size.
Facing to the north, there should be good shade (lower contrast is good for waterfalls) until mid-morning and then again in the late afternoon.
A slow shutter speed will blur the waterfall and make for a nicer picture, especially with the moderately low water flow. In summertime a slow shutter speed will be a must. Again, you'll need a tripod for any exposures over about 1/60th second and you'll need shutter speeds in the 0.25 seconds or greater to do justice to this waterfall.
If you're like me, you may spend more time photographing the cascades on the hike to the waterfall than the actual waterfall itself.
Here you go.