Last weekend, our cousin and her family came up to stay with us at Holly Hollow, one of our cabins near Blue Ridge. On Sunday, we headed out for a little family adventure with them, heading up to Benton Falls near the Ocoee Whitewater Center in TN. When you are staying near Blue Ridge, GA you should check out this great family adventure too!
Blue Ridge is just south of the state line where Tennessee and North Carolina intersect, you can be in either state within 15 miles. Driving along River Road, you pass the Ocoee Whitewater Center, Goforth Creek and come to the intersection leading you to Chilhowee Recreation Area (map link), where we were heading. As we drove along the river, we could see whitewater rafters and kayaks out playing in the rapids. That water is a little too cold for me in March, but there were a lot of brave souls out there this afternoon.
Once you turn off of River Road, the road starts climbing. You are driving up to the top of one of the last ridgelines on the western edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Along the road, there are about 6-8 scenic overlooks that you can stop at and see mountains to the east, lakes to the south, and for 40-50 miles to the west. One of our Favorite overlooks has a stone wall along the edge of the parking lot.
On the other side of the wall, the ground is just 2′ below. If you play with your camera angle, you tan take pictures which look like there is nothing on the other side of the wall. We love trying to come up with creative pictures to make here! As we were taking the picture above, other people pulled into the parking lot in time to see Tim jumping off the wall. They couldn’t believe that someone would allow their child to “hurt themselves” while the parents took pictures. To their relief, everyone was safe, they had a good laugh and took some stunt pictures themselves. Here is another of our “stunt pictures”.
We jumped back into our cars and headed to the Chilhowee Recreation Area. The recreation area has plenty to do, there are camping sites, restrooms with showers, hiking and mountain biking trails, picnic tables with grills, and also a lake with a small beach for swimming. All the ingredients you need for a great family adventure. We came here today to hike to Benton Falls, so we jumped on the trail right away.
We made this “time lapse” video our our hike. As you can see, it was a pretty flat hike. This was our first attempt at a time lapse video, I’m sure we will get better at it as we practice a little more.
You can click on any of these images to see them full size if you are interested. After we took a few pictures of the waterfall, we also decided to take a few family photos too!
We hiked back to the recreation area, and quickly cooked up a quick dinner. Be brought our hiking cookstove and boiled up hot dogs and were eating dinner within a few minutes. With everyone full, we headed back out to check out several of the overlooks and maybe take some sunset pictures.
Our timing was off a little, and sunset was still about a hour away. Regretfully, we decided to head back down the mountain and skip the sunset today. The ride back towards Blue Ridge was a beautiful drive, with the river along our right side as we headed towards home.
This picture was from one of the overlooks last fall, we stayed until last light that time.
I hope that you will make the time to visit Benton Falls and the Chilhowee Recreation Area on your next visit to Blue Ridge. Make plans to stay in one of our numerous cabins while you are up here, we have cabins with mountain views, along the river, and also secluded and private cabin rentals. Check them all out, I am certain Sundance Cabin Rentals has just what you need for a perfect vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains.