Tag Archives: Waterfalls

The Cascades

Jeffress Park, Blue Ridge Parkway

 

Nice little park with ample parking, picnic tables, and restrooms. The trail is well-worn and obvious. It’s 90% easy to make the half-mile hike to the falls. The last few hundred feet is a stone stairway with a rickety handrail here and there. Not bad going down but my knees got to burning on the way back up. It’s impossible to capture the entire cascade in one photo, but there’s an overlook at the top and another further down.

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The drive along the Parkway is a pleasant one with several overlooks.

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Below is the best shot I could get of the Cascades.

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Crab Orchard Falls

Just four miles from our cabin there are some little-known falls, Crab Orchard. You won’t find it on Google Maps. If you want to visit, look for the Valle Crucis Conference Center. Pull into their parking lot and pay attention to the signs for “Waterfall Parking.”

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Here’s the deal; Although the hike in is only half a mile, it’s a steep climb. The first .4 miles is on a cleared path that just keeps going up, up, and up. The last .1 is a steep downward drop to the base of the falls, and a bit on the rough side. Don’t try it if it’s wet.

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You can’t get lost!

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Just as you approach the bottom, there is a rickety wooden walkway that’s seen better days. Be careful.

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It’s a beautiful little spot down there, with a small pool and various branches of cascading water.

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If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb those big rocks and view the upper part of the falls, or backtrack a bit and follow a trail up higher on the mountain.

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It’s cool for us to have such a place so close to home. Might pack a lunch next time. The hike is a bit on the strenuous side, but it’s a rewarding one. Not long, just steep. Coming down was very easy.

Crab Orchard Falls, Banner Elk, North Carolina

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Where’s The Damn Waterfall? (A true story of bumbling about in the woods).

Kim and I took a nice country drive to Laurel Creek Falls today. At least we thought we were at the right place. We pulled off the road at an obvious parking space, but there were no falls. We poked around and found an extremely steep path down to the stream’s edge. It was well worn, and there was nothing else obvious in the area. Kim could not climb down. I went ahead and scrambled down the rocks and tree roots to the bottom.

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I soon ran out of dirt to step on and resorted to rock hopping, until I came to an intersection in the stream. One branch ran under the road.

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I didn’t want to get my shoes soaked so I didn’t take that route. Instead, I climbed up the hill by the side of the bridge. It was so steep I almost didn’t make it, but there was a handy tree root right where I needed it.

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I crossed the road and saw two posts sunk in the ground for no particular reason. I thought they were trail markers. The “trail” turned out to be almost completely overgown, but I picked my way to a cliff overlooking the stream. IMG_0794

I walked on mossy slick boulders and used hanging vines to climb to the next higher rock. This was a dead end. I thought that was the falls. Climbing back up and out was even more difficult. I was seriously winded when I made it back to the road. The car was only a few hundred feet away though!

Just as I was about to cross back over the road, I saw a nice clean trail cut into the woods almost directly across from the parking area. DOH! After resting a few minutes, Kim and I returned to the trail and made an easy hike to a better section of the falls.

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Your grandma could have made this hike in street shoes. I felt pretty dumb, but at least we found what we were looking for. Beautiful spot. No other people around, but plenty of evidence that folks frequent these falls.

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Panties – for example.

Laurel Creek Falls are less than ten miles from our cabin. The main falls is only a few hundred yards off the road, but once you’re back there it’s rugged country.

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It’s well worth the visit, just make sure you find the right trail, so you don’t go bumbling about the woods like I did!

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Linville Falls

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Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway lies Linville Falls. The hike to the falls is a moderate one, according to the park service. It turned out to be a bit difficult for us flatlanders. Jeez, we’re out of shape and have no mountain legs whatsoever.

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The Upper Falls is the first viewing point along the trail.

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From there it’s up, up, and up to see the falls from the highest vantage point.

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We got quite the workout climbing to the top and checking out the different overlooks along the way. Coming back down was much easier. I wanted to go down to the base of the falls, but didn’t want to climb back out, so we skipped it.

The drive from our cabin was forty minutes and quite scenic. The hiking part was no walk on the beach, but well worth it.

When we got to Florida, I gained an interest in Florida history, the Everglades, etc. Now that we’re in North Carolina, I have a sudden interest in waterfalls! Look for more waterfall posts in the future, but not too soon. I need time to recuperate.