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The Essentials

Pine Ridge Falls

G Rating 3.5 
WOW Factor 3

Plumb Rating 


Height: 20'


Distance: 1.0 mi (RT)



Video: Available

GPS and Map Details
Latitude:   36° 7.211' N
Longitude: 82° 32.238' W
Elevation:   ~1970 ft
Face:         ~300° (NW)


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Pine Ridge Falls in Unicoi Co., TN


Side View of Pine Ridge Falls


Moss at Pine Ridge Falls


Alternate View of Pine Ridge Falls




Pine Ridge Falls in the Cherokee National Forest


Pine Ridge Falls



Photo Tips


Waterfall Posters



New Hampshire



Pine Ridge Falls

Cherokee National Forest, Unicoi, Tennessee

Visit my personal gallery at Gardner Photography for larger high resolution waterfall photos

Pine Ridge Falls in Unicoi Co., TN

Pine Ridge Falls (1/02/2009, 26 mm, f/22, 15 sec, ISO 100)


This waterfall is located in the Clark's Creek area of the Cherokee National Forest between Erwin and Greeneville, TN.  The area contains several trails and primitive campsites as well as a few other waterfalls such as Sill Branch Falls and upper Sill Branch Falls.  The small streams in the area are also stocked with brook trout so I've been told.


The waterfall, while not that impressive, is located in a beautiful area and I'm sure that it's quite impressive after some rainfall or in the wet season.  Flow was relatively low when I visited.  Ironically, the week after I visited, the area received over 3 inches of rainfall.  Go figure.


Getting There

To reach Pine Ridge Falls take Exit #37 off of Interstate 26 in Erwin.  Take Highway 81/107 west for about 6.5 miles and then turn left to stay on Highway 107.  Continue on 107 for about 5 miles and then turn left onto Clark's Creek Rd.  The parking area and trailhead are located about 3.2 miles down this road, 0.2 miles past the parking for Sill Branch Falls.  Roughly (pun intended) 1/2 this distance is a gravel road.  Look for the trailhead sign for "Longarm Branch Trail" to make sure you're at the right parking area.  The GPS coordinates for the parking area are N 36° 7.518', W 082° 32.264'.


Use the following link to customize your own directions to Pine Ridge Falls.


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Hike Details

The hike is not difficult - actually a bit easier than Sill Branch Falls.  The distance is similar but elevation gain is less.  This is a great hike for the entire family.


One-way mileage is 0.5 miles uphill, although the slope is gradual.  The trail is wide and once again often used by horses (watch your step!)


There is one stream crossing and then a fork in the trail.  Go left and you're almost there.


The creek crossing itself was easy when we were there.  My 8 yr-old had no problems.  Of course conditions can change.


The trail ends at the waterfall.



Photo Tips

Plan on spending some time here.


While not as large or impressive, Pine Ridge Falls has more photographic potential - in large part due to the surroundings.  I probably spent twice as much time at this waterfall working the angles and foreground elements, taking multiple shots for panoramics, switching lenses, generally having a good time.


The moss color was a little on the dull side but in the Spring - wow, that stuff will pop with some vivid greens.


I used Photoshop to stitch as many as 6 photos together in making some nice (IMO) panoramics of the waterfall and surroundings.  I guess I should make a little tutorial on doing this.  Stay tuned.


I tried both vertical and horizontal panoramics and had some success with both.  The vertical ones are to the left and the horizontal one is below. 


FREE TIP:  Note the first panoramic on the left.  Looks like a normal picture, right?  Well, yes and no.  While the aspect ratio is similar to a standard picture, the real difference (and benefit) in combining photos together is obtained in the picture's resolution.    Take this picture for an example.  Rounding numbers, my standard pictures are 10 megapixels.  However, this picture is a combination of 3 separate photos so this new photo actually has 30 megapixels.  It makes no difference on the web where I reduce the resolution and quality, but for printing - you betcha!  What size print can you make/order from a 30 MP photo?  -- whatever you can afford to hang on the wall.


Pine Ridge Falls Panoramic View


Focal length - You will need a wide angle lens to get the entire waterfall because space is limited.  Alternately, you can shoot pieces of the waterfall and area and put them together with photo software if you have it.  I also played around with a 70-300 zoom lens isolating the mossy logs and rocks in front of the waterfall.


I always use a polarizer but the effect was minor today due to a heavy overcast and the angle of the sun.


Choices of composition are as varied as your imagination will allow.  Foreground elements abound.  There is room to work many different angles on the waterfall.

Have fun with this one.  I did.




Here you go.



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