009 – Moore Cove Falls

Accessibility – Easy

Height: Approx 50′

Distance – 1.2 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 9

Photo rating – 9

Solitude – 5

GPS Info: LAT 35.3128 LONG -82.7788

Last updated: 2/20/2016


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Moore Cove Falls will rank as one of the most unique waterfalls you’re going to find in Pisgah Forest. The waterfall is not high in height or volume of water but it has a character all it’s own. The hike to Moore Cove is 0.6 of a mile one way. The terrain is undulating but not too steep and follows a defined path with several raised boardwalks over low lying wet areas. The waterfall is on a low flow creek so don’t expect Rainbow Falls or Looking Glass Falls. The setting is what differentiates Moore Cove. The overhanging cliff forms a cave behind the water and is easily accessed from the observation deck. The rocks in front are wet and slippery so use caution. The area under the falls tends to be muddy. Even so you can get up close and personal.

There is ample parking along US 276 and an information kiosk at the trailhead. If you arrive early in the day or make this your last stop, you can enjoy a very unique waterfall in relative peace. If you arrive midday during prime time, expect a lot of company. On my February 2016 visit with temps hovering in the low 20s, there were two people heading to the falls when we arrived. When we drove by later on that day (temp of 30) there were more than a dozen cars in the parking area. This is a popular spot. It is my most visited waterfall with my February visit marking my tenth trip. I just can’t seem to drive past without stopping. Since my first visit, Moore Cove has ranked as one of favorite waterfalls. It has always been and will likely always be on my Top 10 list. You can see the other 9 falls on that list here.

The forgiving nature of the hike and the proximity to US 276, Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock make it a popular stop. From the intersection of 64/276/280 in Brevard, follow US276 about 6.7 miles (1.1 miles past Looking Glass Falls) to the parking area along the right side of the road. Coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway it’s about 8.3 miles. The trail starts at the kiosk and after crossing the creek it heads up a set of earthen steps. The trail is easy to follow and well maintained.

The photo opportunities are endless as long as you’re not here in prime time. The canopy is thick enough to provide even lighting so you can shoot from the front or sides. If you are here in the winter months, the setting is very different with the sky visible above the bluff and sunlight hitting the face of the falls creating a small rainbow in the falling water. Along the hike there is a large boulder on the left side of the trail. When the lighting is correct, you can see a face in the shadows. The only challenge with the boulder and the falls is having them to yourself.

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Winter view of Moore Cove – December 2015
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Ice and a small rainbow at Moore Cove – February 2016
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The face in the stone – Moore Cove – October 2013
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Moore Cove – June 2015

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