Accessibility – Hard+
Height: Approx 50 (multiple drops)
Distance – 5.2 miles (out and back)
Beauty – 8
Photo rating – 7
Solitude – 10
GPS Info: LAT 35.23691 LONG -82.91408
First Visit: 07-24-2019
Most Recent Visit – 11-08-2020
I’m going to do my best to describe this hike but it is not easy to put into words. There are a lot of roads going off in every direction so you need to make sure you are on the right one. before you do anything, make sure you have the GPS coordinates for both waterfalls in your tracker or you have a map and understand what all the lines on it mean. If you are using a map or tracker, most of the roads I’m going to describe are not going to be on it. As a matter of fact, FR5324 is not on either of my topo maps. Go figure.
Step 1, get to the trailhead on Tanasee Gap Road. To access the trailhead, follow NC215N from the intersection with US64 approximately 8.5 miles to the left turn on Tanasee Gap Road. If you’re coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway the turn will be on the right. FR5324 is on the right after 2.5 miles. You can drive up the hill and park without blocking the gate or you can park by Tanassee Gap Rd and walk up the road. We’re only talking about an extra 100 feet.
The hike: Start the hike by passing the gate on FR5324. Almost immediately the road is going to split. Stay to the left and not long after, cross a small tributary. At 0.3 from the gate, you will cross North Fork Tucker Creek and the road will swing to the right. Two tenths past the creek it will swing left. The next 0.6 of a mile will be relatively straight with only small bends. After 0.6 the road makes a hard right into a drainage. When it comes out the other side of the drainage and makes another right, you need to pay attention. At 1.6 miles from the gate, a less obvious road will head up the hill to the right. The GPS for this spot is 35.23091, -82.91452. If you miss this turn, I have no idea where you will end up.
Climb the old road to the top of the ridge and make a left to continue climbing up the hill. It will swing to the right to get around a ridge spine. Almost as soon as you come around the spine you will reach 35.2317, -82.91294. This is a steep, open gulley that will take you down to Johnnies Creek. This scramble down the gulley is 0.2 of a mile and you drop 300 feet and you will be climbing back up this thing on the way out. Once you get down toward the creek, the ground is pretty flat and you mat pick up the remnants of the Johnnies Creek Trail. If you don’t, just head upstream. You’re not going to be far from the creek at any point. if you end up at the same place I did when I got to Johnnies Creek, you are about 0.4 of a mile from the falls.
Johnnies Creek Falls is really nice but there is some downfall to content with when it comes to getting a nice shot. The creek is high volume so waterflow isn’t going to be a concern. Not a great hike for the kids but your dog will love it. Not a whole lot of places for them to get into trouble and its not likely you’re going to see anyone. Since you’re here, you wanna go see Bruce Knob Falls too. Reverse your route to get back to your car. If you’re thinking about following the creek downstream, you will end up on heavily posted private property.