King Creek Falls – Winter 2016

King Creek Falls was the main waterfall I was here to see on this late February afternoon.  I made a full day of it though, stopping along the way at White Owl Falls, and Spoonauger Falls.  Both Falls had impressive waterflows.  It was a dreary, cloudy day.  It had all the makings of an epic waterfall journey.  After visiting Spoonager Falls for the first time, it was a short ride back up Burrells Ford Rd to the parking area for King Creek Falls.   After the unexpected trees and fallen Rhodo that made the last 0.1 mile of Spoonauger Falls much more challenging, I was wondering what this 0.9 mile trek had in store for me.  My answer came sooner than expected.  There was a large truck parked near me with 2 older gentleman.  They had been along the trail maintaining it and were putting chainsaws away.  This was an interesting sign.  I had a quick chat with them and they mentioned that it was pretty passable.  After hiking it, I was so, so thankful for their efforts. The first half of this trail would have been much more difficult without them.   
Those Pine trees just don’t seem to hold up well to late winter, early spring storms.  There was much more downfall on this trail than the one on Spoonauger just down the road.  The main difference, the trail maintainers had already been here.  There had also been some fresh trail sign painting, marking the Foothills Trail and King Creek Trail.

After the bridge crosses King Creek, this was where my luck ran out.  There were still some fallen rhodos to work my way up and over, under, in and around.  The trail was so narrow here, rising quickly on one side, and dropping steeply on the other.  I had no choice but to work through it, camera gear and all.  I made my way on to King Creek Falls and it was impressive.  Gone was the half sun half shade of the first visit.  I had a much better waterflow, and I had it all to myself.  

The best views require crossing the creek, which was somewhat tricky  in higher water.  The tree crossing it was not as sturdy as I remember it though.  I have a feeling the rotting tree will be gone some day and this will be a wet crossing.  That would be ok, it’s worth it!  Here is a short video of King Creek Falls:

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Spoonauger Falls

I first visited Spoonauger Falls in late February 2016.  It was an overcast day, with lots of rain falling in the days prior to my hike.  I was in this area to make a return visit to King Creek Falls.  My 1st visit was over 2 years ago, and I wanted to return under better conditions than what a typical hot and dry late August afternoon can provide.  Before I did this though, my first stop was to a waterfall that I overlooked on my first visit.  Once I learned how close I was to Spoonauger Falls, and that I didn’t check it out….I could have kicked myself.  That’s ok, I made it on this day and it was a beauty!  

White Owl Falls

From NC, I came down NC 281 and crossed into South Carolina where the highway changes to SC 130.  On the way down, I passed right by Whte Owl Falls on the Thompson River and had a feeling it would looking good.  I was soooo not wrong.  I even took a side path to view it from the top, it was ok, no where near as good as the view from the base.  It was gonna be a good day.  I got back on the road, into SC, and took the sign “To 107”.  I turned left to head south for a few miles and took a right on Burrels Ford Road.  To get to Spoonauger Falls, meant driving past the King Creek Falls parking area for a short ways.  I initially passed right by it , crossed the bridge over the Chatooga River, and boom, I was in Georgia.  Georgia wasn’t even on my mine…but Spoonaguer is right at the Chatooga which happens to be the northern border between these two states.  

I pulled into this parking lot above, turned around as parked just off the road where the access was to the Chatooga Trail.  This waterfall starts off with an easy hike along the Chatooga River upstream from the road.  After a crossing of Spoonauger Creek, the trail for Spoonauger Falls heads right or upstream.  

As you can see by the sign, it is a short 0.1 miles upstream.  It was difficult on this day in February anyway.  A number of large Rhododendrons , much taller than my 6 foot frame had toppled over and were covering the narrow, wet and muddy trail.  I slowly worked my way over and under and around the storm-fallen plants and was treated to a beautiful 50 foot waterfall. 

I was able to make it out into the middle and down a few tiers for an exceptional view.  I’m not sure what I was expecting to see at Spoonauger Falls but it wasn’t this.  I was very pleased.  I made it back to the car, then it was off to King Creek.  

Here is a short video of Spoonauger Falls:

Blackwater Falls


I’ve wanted to visit Blackwater Falls….for years now.  The problem is that it has always been “just out of reach”. I reside in central NC, and I make trips into central and southern West Virginia several times a year.  Northern West Virginia doubles the 2 1/2 hour ride I normally set aside for West Virginia explorations.  The main reason I was headed to West Virginia in the first place was to find water.  Western NC, SC and eastern TN have been suffering abnormally dry starts to the summer of 2016, but not the Virginias.  Facebook photos of favorite NC waterfalls were displaying pitifully low waterflows, rendering rivers into trickling creeks.  On the Saturday of my departure, WV had just suffered 8-10 inches of rain in places two days prior, and there were reports of flooding in areas.   This was where I would find water.   Continue reading “Blackwater Falls”

Minnehaha Falls & Panther Falls

I had a big day planned for this late January 2016 weekend.  The Waterfalls of Brasstown Falls were to be my primary destination.  Any other waterfall destination I could find myself at would just be a bonus.  Brasstown Falls is over 4 hours away for me.  I picked a small town in northern Georgia, Clayton to drive down the day before on Saturday to spend the night.  I wasn’t the only one with a long drive, as most of the friends I was meeting the next day had at least 2 hours to drive.  One particular friend, Daniel Jack Hutchison, had a similar drive as I did, except coming in from Tennessee as opposed to west/central North Carolina.  We made some “rough” plans to see where we were about 1 pm and go from there.  Luckily, we were both set up early in the afternoon and had plenty of time to spare.  He knew of a few waterfalls closeby to Clayton, Ga so off we went.   Continue reading “Minnehaha Falls & Panther Falls”

Long Creek Falls Along the Chattooga

 It was a late January Sunday afternoon.  We had just spent 1-2 hours exploring each waterfall at Brasstown Falls.  It had already been a great day, and a great weekend as well.  I had spent time the previous day in NE Georgia seeing waterfalls, and had seen some waterfalls the same day before Brasstown.  I could have left for home and been fine…..but that is just not how we roll.  I always try to squeeze in as many waterfalls as possible per trip and usually the hard part is deciding which ones NOT to visit and to save for a later day.  After Brasstown Falls, we had a short meeting of the waterfall minds.  Sids Falls was very close by, but most of us had just recently visited this one.  Daniel had this thing for Kings Creek Falls, which is beautiful and a must-see…but being probably an hour away was just not practical.  It really came down to 2 waterfalls, that were just moments away: Opossum Creek Falls or Long Creek Falls.  They were both very close by.  The trailheads were maybe 1 mile apart on the dirt Turkey Ridge Rd. They were also both on the Carolina Mountain Club’s Waterfall Challenge 100 (WC100) that I have been working on for several years and had yet to see.  One person in the group had been to these before and warned that Opossum Creek Falls was over 5 miles round trip while Long Creek Falls was around 3 miles round trip.  Being Sunday afternoon now, and long drives home awaiting everyone, we opted for the shorter Long Creek Falls.  It turned out to be a very good choice. Continue reading “Long Creek Falls Along the Chattooga”

Brasstown Falls

 Brasstown Falls is a unique setting  of 4 very cool, interesting, beautiful and different waterfalls located very close to one another.  3 of them are on Brasstown Creek and 1 is just upstream on the feeder stream Little Brasstown Creek.  Brasstown Falls was the destination for one of my trips to South Carolina in 2014, that thanks to bad traffic jams,  taking different routes than planned and just running out of daylight, I ended up at Station Cove Falls.  It wasn’t a total loss.  After that, I kind of forgot about Brasstown for awhile.  It is on the Carolina Mountain Club’s Waterfall Challenge 100 list that I have been steadily working down for a few years now.  Sooner or later it was going to come up again.  A recent trip to Sids Falls in Oconee County, SC with some friends brought me very close to Brasstown Falls and it came up on the radar screen again.  I had heard some great things about Brasstown Falls.  It was time to plan an overnight trip and come and visit this one.   Continue reading “Brasstown Falls”

Station Cove Falls – 2016 Winter Hike

 Station Cove Falls is a beautiful 60 foot set of cascades that starts as one drop and then splits into two.  The  group and I, after completing the  primary hike to Sids Falls on Shoulder Bone Branch, had enough energy and daylight for 1 more waterfall.  There wasn’t much time left on these short days when the sun goes down at 5 pm, so we had to choose something fairly short.  Brasstown Falls was closeby, and we actually drove right by Yellow Branch and Issaqueena Falls.  We settled on Station Cove Falls, just outside of Walhalla, SC.
This is a short 1/2 mile hike that is about as easy as mountain hiking gets.  The first half of the hike is along and just above a swamp.  You wouldn’t think a waterfall was anywhere near this place.  Once around the swamp, the landscape changes quickly as the hills rise on each side of you. The fence and info board roughly mark the changing of the landscape.  Continue reading “Station Cove Falls – 2016 Winter Hike”

The Dills…Dill Falls & Upper Dill Falls

  

The popularity of the waterfalls along or close to NC Hwy 215 has grown tremendously over the last decade.  The stretch of highway 215 between US 64 near Rosman, and the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway is famous for the waterfalls at the Living Waters Ministries, Courthouse Falls, and the somewhat lesser known Dills.  There are also a good number of waterfalls north of the Blue Ridge Parkway on or near NC 215, but this article will be all about the Dills.  The Dills are the waterfalls closest to the Blue Ridge Parkway (between the BRP south to U.S. 64), and also the easiest to drive right past and totally miss.  Continue reading “The Dills…Dill Falls & Upper Dill Falls”

Cedar Rock Falls – A Beautiful Yet Painful Waterfall Hike

 
It had been a wonderful July waterfall weekend.  After a month since my last waterfall visit, I was eager to get out this weekend and see all that I could.  For the last waterfall on Sunday afternoon, I chose to visit Cedar Rock Falls as I was making my way through Brevard, NC.   Cedar Rock Falls is a 20 foot waterfall that lies just off the Cat Gap Loop Trail in the Pisgah National Forest.  It is fairly close to Looking Glass Falls.  This is a waterfall that I had yet to see and is also one listed on Carolina Moutain Club’s Waterfall 100 challenge.  I could have….and probably should have just drove through Brevard and headed home, but the close location and the nice afternoon cloud cover that had developed convinced me to see one more.   Continue reading “Cedar Rock Falls – A Beautiful Yet Painful Waterfall Hike”

Soco Falls June 2015 – Some Improvements

  

There is good news to be reported from Soco Falls.  There have been some improvements to the treacherous trail that leads down to the base.  It is hard to describe what all they have done.  The ropes have been replaced for one.  Also, it appears that work either has been done or is in progress to make the descent more of a “rock steps” if you will.  I simply remember the last time I was there, the climb down was more of a mud path that was quite slick.  In fact the last time I was there, a lady had fallen off the side of the trail. Here is the link to that trip report: Soco Falls – Still Beautiful, Still Dangerous. Continue reading “Soco Falls June 2015 – Some Improvements”