Trail Reports

Pilot Rock Trail, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Oct 28, 2012 @ 12:44 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Vista Hikes | 1 comment

Pilot Rock Trail, Pisgah National Forest

Pilot Rock is another of the granite plutons found in the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. Not as spectacular as it’s more famous cousin, Looking Glass Rock, Pilot still offers remarkable views of the Blue Ridge Parkway and national forest, including the Cradle of Forestry National Historical Site. It’s a short mile climb of almost 700 feet from the valley floor to the southern face of Pilot Rock. The forest changes along the way; from birch saplings to oak and maple, and the omnipresent laurels that embrace...

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Wilson Creek Trail, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 @ 11:44 am in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Water Hikes | 1 comment

Wilson Creek Trail, Pisgah National Forest

Think of Wilson Creek as Linville Gorge lite. A long, rugged wilderness gorge running from the nearly 6000′ mountain peaks at its north, Wilson Creek shares many similarities with its bigger brother to the west. Wilson Creek was named a National Wild and Scenic River in August, 2000. The gorge area is a haven for recreation including hiking of course, but also fun for kayaking, camping, fishing, tubing, you get the picture. There are dozens of trails throughout the recreation area, including this one that follows the upper reaches of...

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Harper Creek Falls, Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Oct 14, 2012 @ 12:46 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Water Hikes | 7 comments

Harper Creek Falls, Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River, Pisgah National Forest

One of the highlights of the Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River area is Harper Creek Falls. Located in the Grandfather Mountain Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest, this three-tiered falls is a fun place to swim, slide and dive — but the rugged terrain makes for a difficult and dangerous access. The Harper Creek Trail is easy enough. With the exception of a 200 foot ascent from the trailhead, most of this trail follows Harper Creek as it makes its way through the wilderness to an appointment with Wilson Creek. Once you reach the...

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Cat Gap Trail to John Rock, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 @ 1:25 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Vista Hikes | 5 comments

Cat Gap Trail to John Rock, Pisgah National Forest

The always popular Cat Gap Loop Trail is a jumping off point for many great hikes within the Davidson River area of Pisgah National Forest. Included among them is the picturesque John Rock, one of the area’s plutons that stand over the recreation area. With views of the Fish Hatchery, Looking Glass Rock, Pilot Mountain and the ridges that run to Graveyard Fields, John Rock is a great spot for scenic vistas on your way around the Cat Gap Loop. This is a complete hike. In addition to the great views on John Rock, the trail follows two...

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Bad Fork Trail, North Mills River, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 @ 2:01 pm in Blue Ridge Parkway, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes | 0 comments

Bad Fork Trail, North Mills River, Pisgah National Forest

Another of the myriad of ridge and gap trails from North Mills River to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Bad Fork Trail follows its namesake creek from Forest Road 5000 to Bent Creek Gap at mile 400 on the Parkway. This is a four mile round trip that can be extended by continuing on the Mountains to Sea Trail on the north side of the Parkway. Only moderately steep, this is a nice leg stretcher that doesn’t take very long to complete. Look for laurel blossoms in the spring and views through the trees in winter. Our hike occurred on Thursday,...

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North Slope Connector to Art Loeb Trail, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Sep 7, 2012 @ 6:05 pm in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes | 0 comments

North Slope Connector to Art Loeb Trail, Pisgah National Forest

Section 1 of the Art Loeb Trail is in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC overlooking the Davidson River Recreation Area. The North Slope Trail is a loop contained within the boundary created by the Art Loeb and the river. Between the two trails is a connector. Combining the two via the connector makes an 8-mile loop that takes in a large portion of the forest above the river. Dense and damp in summer months, the mostly deciduous forest gets a lot of rainfall and remains green well into mid-autumn. The Davidson River Campground is nearby,...

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Mt. Pisgah, Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway

Posted by on Sep 1, 2012 @ 7:39 pm in Blue Ridge Parkway, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Vista Hikes | 2 comments

Mt. Pisgah, Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway

Named after the Biblical mount where Moses first saw the Promised Land, Mt. Pisgah is the landmark that gave Pisgah National Forest its name. Located on the border of Buncombe and Haywood counties in NC, close to the point where Transylvania and Henderson meet them, the mountain is easily accessible via a hiking trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mt. Pisgah is topped with the Asheville-based broadcaster WLOS-TV tower, so it is always identifiable even from long distances. From the summit spectacular views of the surrounding Blue Ridge...

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Mt. Sterling Trail and Mt. Sterling Ridge Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on Aug 25, 2012 @ 4:03 pm in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Rated Difficult Hikes, Vista Hikes | 0 comments

Mt. Sterling Trail and Mt. Sterling Ridge Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Crowning the Mount Sterling Ridge, 5842 foot Mount Sterling is another of the tall peaks that give the Great Smoky Mountains their character. Located in the far eastern area of the national park in North Carolina, the 7-mile Mount Sterling Ridge rims the scenic Cataloochee Valley to the southeast. There are trails to the summit of Mount Sterling from every direction, but the shortest and steepest begins at Mt. Sterling Gap on the east side. This six mile round trip climbs nearly 2000 feet through the type of dense mixed forest that Great...

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Summey Cove Trail to Courthouse Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Aug 18, 2012 @ 5:23 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Water Hikes | 6 comments

Summey Cove Trail to Courthouse Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Hidden deep in the woods between Courthouse Ridge and Brushy Ridge in western Pisgah National Forest, Courthouse Creek makes a dramatic plunge through a narrow chute into a natural amphitheater of bedrock, cascading 45 feet into a cold crisp pool. Courthouse Falls is one of the best kept secrets in the “Land of Waterfalls.” Beautiful for its solitude as well as its picturesque setting, Courthouse Falls is reachable by trail or by forest road. The Summey Cove Trail is a 5-mile round trip that begins north of Balsam Grove on Scenic...

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Homestead Trail, Lake Powhatan, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 @ 5:40 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Easy Hikes, Water Hikes | 0 comments

Homestead Trail, Lake Powhatan, Pisgah National Forest

Located in the Bent Creek area west of Asheville, the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area is a suburban fun place for family activities including hiking, biking, fishing, swimming and jogging. Adjacent to the North Carolina Arboretum and part of the Bent Creek Research and Demonstration Forest in Pisgah National Forest, the recreation area contains several miles of trails between the Blue Ridge Parkway and a high mountain ridge. There are connections with long distance trails in the national forest that can make your hike as adventurous as you...

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Bracken Mountain Trail, Bracken Preserve, Brevard, NC

Posted by on Aug 2, 2012 @ 8:23 pm in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Rated Moderate Hikes | 0 comments

Bracken Mountain Trail, Bracken Preserve, Brevard, NC

Bracken Mountain Preserve and Recreation Area is 395 acres of forested land owned by the town of Brevard in Transylvania County, NC. This municipal preserve is due west of downtown and adjacent to Pisgah National Forest and the Brevard Music Center. The town secured approval from the National Forest Service to build a connection with the established trail system, and to link with Forest Service Road 475C. A grand opening was held on July 27, 2012 for 7.1 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails within the Preserve. Future planned amenities...

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Big East Fork Trail, Shining Rock Wilderness

Posted by on Jul 28, 2012 @ 6:22 pm in Blue Ridge Parkway, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Shining Rock Wilderness | 6 comments

Big East Fork Trail, Shining Rock Wilderness

The southeast corner of Shining Rock Wilderness is filled with rivers, creeks and streams tumbling down from the mountains that rise above 6000 feet in the high country. Included among these waterways is the East Fork of the Pigeon River, otherwise known as Big East Fork. A trail follows the river from Hwy 276 to the confluence with Greasy Cove Prong and beyond. This Big East Fork Trail passes several coves and small waterfalls as it climbs nearly a thousand feet through dark and deep forest. The final push is a climb out of the wilderness...

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Whitewater Falls, Nantahala National Forest & Bearwallow Valley in Gorges State Park

Posted by on Jul 21, 2012 @ 7:18 pm in Gorges State Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina, Rated Easy Hikes, Water Hikes | 2 comments

Whitewater Falls, Nantahala National Forest & Bearwallow Valley in Gorges State Park

Transylvania County, North Carolina is known as “Land of Waterfalls” for good reason, as there are 250 unique cascades within a short drive of each other. Upper Whitewater Falls on the Whitewater River south of Sapphire is perhaps the most spectacular. There are two distinct overlooks of the 411 foot plunge taken by the river on its path to Lake Jocassee. Nantahala National Forest has developed a small park with family amenities for those who wish to view this spectacular wall of water. Eight short miles north of Upper Whitewater...

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Art Loeb Trail to Grassy Cove Top, Shining Rock Wilderness

Posted by on Jul 8, 2012 @ 6:33 pm in Blue Ridge Parkway, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Shining Rock Wilderness, Vista Hikes | 6 comments

Art Loeb Trail to Grassy Cove Top, Shining Rock Wilderness

Milepost 420 on the Blue Ridge Parkway is where you will find Black Balsam Road. It’s a short drive to a spruce forest where the Art Loeb Trail crosses the road and heads up onto the balds. This is North Carolina high country. There are several mountains greater than 6000 feet with treeless summits, affording spectacular 360° views of the surrounding Blue Ridge. I love it here. I can’t get enough of the natural beauty to be seen along the Art Loeb Trail as you cross Black Balsam Knob and then Tennent Mountain. The land is rich...

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North Carolina Arboretum

Posted by on Jul 1, 2012 @ 11:22 am in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Inspiration, North Carolina, North Carolina Arboretum, Photo Essays, Rated Easy Hikes | 0 comments

North Carolina Arboretum

Nestled in the woods of Pisgah National Forest in Asheville, the North Carolina Arboretum is a 434 acre public garden located within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Set amid rolling hills just off mile 393 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Arboretum offers more than ten miles of groomed hiking trails that are suitable for all ages. Home to one of the finest, most unique bonsai collections in the United States, the Arboretum has 65 acres of cultivated gardens that are appropriately seasonal. The Arboretum is an affiliate of the University of...

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Case Camp Ridge Trail and North Face Trail, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Jun 30, 2012 @ 1:10 pm in Blue Ridge Parkway, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes | 1 comment

Case Camp Ridge Trail and North Face Trail, Pisgah National Forest

This is a two-part hike with a short drive on a forest service road in between. Both the Case Camp Ridge Trail and the North Face Trail start on Forest Road 475B in Pisgah National Forest. The first climbs 1000 feet in 1.7 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway near Cherry Gap at mile 416. It’s a short walk from the trail to the Cherry Cove Overlook and a close-up view of Looking Glass Rock. Return to the forest road down the same trail and drive another three miles toward Looking Glass. The North Face Trail is a 1.5 mile round trip to the...

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Art Loeb Trail to Pilot Mountain, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Jun 23, 2012 @ 6:08 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Difficult Hikes, Vista Hikes | 8 comments

Art Loeb Trail to Pilot Mountain, Pisgah National Forest

Pilot Mountain stands 5084 feet above the western edge of Pisgah National Forest, near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Looking Glass Rock. There are three ways to get to its summit, but the one I enjoy most is the section of the Art Loeb Trail from Gloucester Gap along Forest Road 475. It isn’t particularly long, but it is quite strenuous. You will get your exercise climbing Pilot Mountain. The views are stunningly panoramic, making it totally worth the exertion. On an especially clear day you can see all the way to Tennessee and South...

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Slick Rock Falls, Cove Creek and Caney Bottom Trails, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 @ 7:26 pm in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Easy Hikes | 0 comments

Slick Rock Falls, Cove Creek and Caney Bottom Trails, Pisgah National Forest

Another of the myriad of hikes along Forest Road 475 in Pisgah National Forest, this two-parter is near the Fish Hatchery and Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. First we took a short trip up Forest Road 475B to Slick Rock Falls, then hiked to the base of Looking Glass Rock. The climbers love this area and we encountered some when we reached the base. The main hike was a little further up Forest Road 475 at the Cove Creek Group Camp. The primary feature of this 6-mile loop is Cove Creek Falls, a 50-foot slide waterfall. This is a nice flat...

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Vineyard Gap and Riverside Trails, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Jun 3, 2012 @ 3:15 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Easy Hikes, Water Hikes | 2 comments

Vineyard Gap and Riverside Trails, Pisgah National Forest

The Riverside Trail along the South Fork of Mills River in Pisgah National Forest is a great opportunity for boys to be boys, and girls to laugh at them, as the trail fords the river several times. You’ll get to wade in a crisp, cool mountain stream up to your knees as you negotiate the current and the smooth, slippery rocks on the bed. Enjoy the peaceful sounds of the babbling water as you hike alongside this beautiful mountain river that’s full of twists and turns. Start with the two-mile Vineyard Gap Trail up and over Forge...

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Ramsey Cascades, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on May 23, 2012 @ 2:28 pm in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Moderate Hikes, Tennessee, Water Hikes | 5 comments

Ramsey Cascades, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A spectacular waterfall isn’t the only highlight of the Ramsey Cascades Trail in the Greenbrier area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail to the cascade gains more than 2,000 feet as it follows rushing rivers and streams filled with moss-covered boulders for its four-mile length. The last couple miles pass through old-growth hardwood forest with giant tulip trees, birch and hemlock. Rhododendron is plentiful as you reach the cascade, the tallest waterfall in the park. Water splashes 100 feet over rock outcroppings and...

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Summit Stones & Adventure Musings

Posted by on May 21, 2012 @ 8:03 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, Inspiration | 0 comments

Summit Stones & Adventure Musings

It’s all about the importance of giving back and passing forward… So says the masthead at Summit Stones & Adventure Musings, a fount of wisdom and inspiration that dares to take us to the “wild places,” the summits, canyons and waters of our imagined and realized adventures. True to his aspirations, DSD as he is known, has blessed me with an assortment of Summit Stones to deposit in my favorite secret places… to pass forward. Wilderness trails and ethereal peaks in the Blue Ridge and Smokies will become home...

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Brush Creek and Burnett Gap Trails, Cherokee National Forest

Posted by on Apr 29, 2012 @ 1:03 pm in Cherokee National Forest, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Difficult Hikes, Tennessee | 3 comments

Brush Creek and Burnett Gap Trails, Cherokee National Forest

Usually when you come here you will find a cheerful description of a scenic hike that was fun, and that I recommend for your enjoyment. Instead, I am going to suggest that you stay away from this hike if you value your safety and security. The Brush Creek and Burnett Gap Trails are so terribly maintained as to make them virtually impassible. I’m sure at one time these trails near the French Broad River were quite exhilarating. There are some impressive views of the surrounding mountains from the Brush Creek Ridge. However, this is an...

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Triple Falls, High Falls, Hooker Falls, DuPont State Forest

Posted by on Apr 22, 2012 @ 8:37 am in Best Hike, DuPont State Forest, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Rated Easy Hikes, Water Hikes | 0 comments

Triple Falls, High Falls, Hooker Falls, DuPont State Forest

With so much interest in The Hunger Games movie, I thought it was time to head out to DuPont State Forest for a dawn hike to Triple Falls, one of the scenes in the film. Triple Falls is a tiered cascade on the Little River that drops 120 dramatic feet and was also featured in the Last of the Mohicans movie. A photo of Triple Falls was used by the Friends of the Falls conservation group to convince the North Carolina Governor and the Council of State to protect the waterfalls of the Little River from private residential development. After...

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Chattooga River Trail, Nantahala National Forest

Posted by on Apr 1, 2012 @ 1:17 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina, Rated Easy Hikes, Water Hikes | 3 comments

Chattooga River Trail, Nantahala National Forest

Designated a National Wild and Scenic River, the Chattooga River’s headwaters are in North Carolina, but it stretches into Georgia and South Carolina as well. In fact, at one point known as Ellicott Rock, it marks the common tri-boundary of all three states. There are more than 50 miles of trails along the Chattooga River but this four-mile stretch just south of Cashiers, NC is a good introduction to get you in the mood for future exploration. This section of the river is known for the steep, remote Chattooga Cliffs that stand guard...

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Spencer Branch and Trace Ridge on Coffee Pot Mountain, Pisgah National Forest

Posted by on Mar 30, 2012 @ 12:52 pm in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes | 4 comments

Spencer Branch and Trace Ridge on Coffee Pot Mountain, Pisgah National Forest

North Mills River Recreation Area in Pisgah National Forest, along with its brother at South Mills River, has a rich trail system. It covers the Pisgah Ridge at the Blue Ridge Parkway down to the North Mills River. A combination of trails leading from the Trace Ridge Trailhead at the recreation area go up, over, and around Coffee Pot Mountain on the way up to the parkway. There are plenty of creeks and streams along the way, as well as views of the surrounding Blue Ridge from the top. This hike occurred on Thursday, March 22, 2012 from 9:00am...

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Mountains to Sea Trail Over Rough Butt Bald, Blue Ridge Parkway

Posted by on Mar 25, 2012 @ 2:42 pm in Blue Ridge Parkway, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Middle Prong Wilderness, Mountains to Sea Trail, North Carolina, Rated Easy Hikes | 0 comments

Mountains to Sea Trail Over Rough Butt Bald, Blue Ridge Parkway

The Mountains to Sea Trail spans the width of North Carolina, running from the Great Smoky Mountains in the west, to the Outer Banks of Coastal Carolina. Much of the trail in the mountainous part of the state is near or parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway. This section of the MST along the parkway has been designated a National Recreation Trail. With elevations well above 5000 feet, there are segments in Haywood County that make nice day hikes in the high country. One of those is Rough Butt Bald at milepost 427. This hike occurred on Thursday,...

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Turkey Knob and Blackrock Trails, Nantahala National Forest

Posted by on Mar 11, 2012 @ 1:58 pm in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina, Rated Moderate Hikes | 3 comments

Turkey Knob and Blackrock Trails, Nantahala National Forest

Situated in the far northern reaches of the Panthertown Trail System in Nantahala National Forest, Turkey Knob and Blackrock Mountain offer long distance views of the more well known features of Panthertown Valley. From more than 4000 feet elevation, there are splendid views of Little and Big Green Mountains and The Great Wall. The full expanse of Mac’s Gap lays on the floor of the valley between the cliffs of Blackrock and the Greens. Blackrock Trail also connects with Packs Gap, the western entrance to the trail system. This hike...

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Stone Mountain and Wintergreen Falls, DuPont State Forest

Posted by on Mar 4, 2012 @ 3:37 pm in DuPont State Forest, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Rated Easy Hikes, Rated Moderate Hikes, Vista Hikes, Water Hikes | 3 comments

Stone Mountain and Wintergreen Falls, DuPont State Forest

Tucked away in the northeastern corner of DuPont State Forest in Western North Carolina, Stone Mountain is the highest point in the state forest at 3620 feet. Appropriately named for the exposed granite slab that traverses its summit, Stone Mountain offers a near 360° view of the surrounding terrain to winter hikers. Wintergreen Falls, though not as spectacular as other waterfalls in DuPont, is nonetheless charming as Grassy Creek tumbles through a deep mixed forest. The name was chosen for the evergreen ground cover known as teaberry...

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Falls Creek Falls and Hospital Rock Trail, Mountain Bridge Wilderness, SC

Posted by on Feb 27, 2012 @ 5:28 pm in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Mountain Bridge Wilderness, Rated Difficult Hikes, South Carolina | 3 comments

Falls Creek Falls and Hospital Rock Trail, Mountain Bridge Wilderness, SC

Falls Creek Falls is a double cascade in the northeast corner of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness in upstate South Carolina that free falls more than a hundred feet. In winter there is a distant view of the top of the falls from 800 feet below at the trailhead on Falls Creek Rd. From the falls, Hospital Rock Trail climbs Standingstone Mountain along Falls Creek for ridge top views of the surrounding wilderness area. This very difficult and strenuous trail continues along the ridge and over several streams to the small cave in Hospital Rock,...

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