I haven’t been to DuPont State Forest in several years now. It is a great place, with some wonderful waterfalls. These waterfalls are some of the very early ones visited that really planted the “Waterfall Chasing” seed in me. However, due to its ease of access, numerous trails, numerous waterfalls varying in size and shape, and exposure in movies like “The Last Mohican”, and “Hunger Games”, ithas become insanely popular. Large new gravel parking lots have been constructed to handle the increase in visitors. The sides of Staton Rd could no longer hold the overflow parking from the Hooker Falls parking area. Tours of the waterfalls of DuPont are now shuttled in and out by school buses at select times of the year. DuPont State Forest truly has become one of North Carolina’s top attractions. While I am glad to see this location get the love it truly deserves, there is a part of me left sad. Sad that I can no longer visit this place without hundreds of others. That is just not what it’s about for me. I have for the most part just focused on other waterfalls, leaving these for the masses.
Most of the time, High Falls, or Cullowhee Falls as it is known to some is a nice, very tall 150 ft waterfall with a low flow. Today, 4/18/15 was the first scheduled dam release this season from Lake Glenvile, that transforms this pretty waterfall into one of the most powerful, raging waterfalls in North Carolina. The dam release was set to be done at 10:00 am. While I did not arrive in time to see the “transformation”, I did get a good glance at the river in its regular flow, driving along NC 107. Soon after leaving Sylva, NC along NC 107 heading south, the highway runs alongside the great Tuckaseegee River or “The Tuck”, as locals call it. It’s a fairly wide mountain river with lots of water in it. After driving through Cullowhee and Western Carolina University, NC 107 follows the river for miles into the small community of Tuckaseegee. It’s here where the Tuckaseegee meets up with the West Fork of the Tuckaseegee River. The West Fork was like a creek in size compared to the Tuckaseegee. NC 107 switches here and follows the West Fork. Read more
After spending some time at the very nice White Owl Falls, I had time for maybe 1 more waterfall before it was time to call it a day. Mother Nature had already chased me away from my planned destinations for this day. Somehow I had found myself along the Thompson River, a mysterious river that I have done very little exploring on. Since the weather was still looking promising after White Owl Falls, I figured that I would just stay where I was. Just from reading about this area, I knew that the High Falls was a reasonably short hike from the Brewer Rd area along US 281. Click on the link for more info and photos on White Owl Falls.
It’s early fall in western NC again!! While we wait here in the piedmont for the leaves to change, the beautiful color transformation is already well underway in the mountains of NC, especially above 5000 ft. As I write this, color is moving down the mountains a little each day. This report is about a day trip taken 10/12/13. Read more
Well, call it déjà vu…..unseasonably warm weather in January again. It seems like I was writing about this last year at this time when my Waterfallshiker blog began. A week has passed by since my last hike and entry. At that point I was hiking to a beautiful 69 foot waterfall in Virginia through thick snow and hard, slippery, and treacherous ice. Read more
Dupont Forest is to me what is best described as “NC Land of the Waterfalls 101”. I am often asked by friends, co-workers, and family/extended family members where a good place would be to go see some waterfalls. My answer is almost always Dupont Forest. I have seen quite a few waterfalls in NC. No other place combines the perfect combination of large, unique waterfalls (3 of them all within 1.5 miles of eachother) , and close proximity to a town (Brevard), along with what is very easy hiking conditions for the mountains. These river waterfalls here are the type that one can get up close and personal with. While there are 3 waterfalls within a close range, there is a 4th one about 2 miles or so up stream from High Falls. All 4 can be accessed all the way up to the base. There are a few other waterfalls on a tributary stream, known as Grassy Creek Falls and Wintergreen Falls but I was not able to get to those on this hike. This hike was inspired by the way by recently watching “The Hunger Games”. It turns out that this film was filmed largely in North Carolina, including Dupont Forest. I was able to recognize Bridal Veil Falls and Triple Falls in the movie. Thank goodness there were no canon BOOMS during our hike. We also did not run into any tracker jackers. If ya want to know what that means, see the flick!!
All the other numerous times I have been here, I always parked at the Hooker Falls Parking area. This area allows a short 0.3 flat hike to Hooker Falls, then after crossing the road, a 0.5 mile hike to Triple Falls, and another 0.6 miles to High Falls. This time, I parked in a new parking area, the Buck Forest Road parking area. This area actually has restrooms, and puts your access to the Little River at the Covered Bridge on top of High Falls. From here you can go left to see High, Triple and Hooker Falls, or cross the bridge, turn right to see Bridal Veil Falls. 1st stop today was Bridal Veil….
A look to the right shows how large of an area this slide covers. This rock out on this waterfall just may be one of my favorite places on earth. It is easy to sit down, look around, enjoy the sound and before you know it, an hour has passed by. After awhile it is time to head up, this waterfall has more to offer. In normal conditions, the left side of the river has a large dry exposed rock face. It is usually safe to walk up this, be careful of the trickles of water in places, slippery rocks can be treacherous. Once up the hill, the river will runs along the bedrock for a short ways, then up to the upper part of the falls, a 10 foot freefall.
This waterfall has a special little treat waiting behind it. In the 1990’s, “Last of The Mohicans” was filmed here and featured extensive scenes of this waterfall, including walking behind it. If you enter on the left side, you will get a tad wet going in, but you will be able to walk under the falls to the other side. Be extremely careful up here. Please do not attempt to cross the river any place up here other than behind the falls. The swift current will sweep you right away. Once on the other side, you have some other cool views.
Eventually I will learn how to use my camera and get this shot right……
After this , it is time to head back towards the covered bridge. Once back, there is an important decision to make. Are you tired and ready to go home? Or do you have 2-3 miles left in you? If so, take an immediate right after crossing the bridge towards the High Falls veiwing area. This will be above the river, but a very nice and direct shot.
This is easily a 125 foot waterfall. It is very impressive. Look at the people way down there at the base, it helps show the size of this beauty. There was a side trail last year that led to the base, where the view is incredible. This year, it is closed off and you have to walk much further to get to the bottom, not on this day though. From here it is about 0.5 mile down to Triple Falls.
Triple Falls, is just like it the name says, three falls in one. Two that are 25 feet or so and the bottom one is a tad larger at 45 feet. There is a nice viewing area along the path for these falls, also there are steps that lead down to the middle waterfall. Here, there is a lot of dry rock to walk around on and get up close with this gem.
As you leave Triple Falls, the trail drops sharply for a short distance, then flattens out and heads for the Hooker Falls parking area. After crossing Staton Road and walking through the parking lot, the short and flat trail to Hooker Falls begins. It follows on the right side of the Little River for about 0.3 miles, then opens up to what has to be one of the most beautiful 10 foot waterfalls around.
Here is Hooker Falls from the side, the first view seen. After this view, the trail goes down, and circles back to the falls and large swimming hole.
Hooker Falls was also featured in “Last of The Mohicans”. In the movie, the groups take canoes over the falls. That had to be something.
This large pool is a popular swimming hole in the summer. After Hooker Falls, the river makes its way into Cascade Lake and the waterfall tour of the Little River is over. After returning to the Hooker Fall parking area, you can either head back up trail to the covered bridge, or you can also walk up Staton Road about 1/2 mile. You can also do what I did, have your girlfriend, who loves Bridal Veil Falls, take the car back to Hooker Falls and meet you there.
I ended up hiking 7.3 miles on this day, and totally enjoyed the four waterfalls. I spent less time on High and Triple falls, as I have focused on those more in the past. They are all special and totally different from eachother. After bringing people here, I find great pleasure just watching how much people like it. It is only the tip of the iceberg out here as there are many more waiting. There are waterfalls out here bigger and better than the ones here , but few will be in such a concentrated area, with such easy hiking conditions.
In the slideshow below are the photos above and some others taken along the Hike. The lake photo is of Lake Julia.