014 – Upper Waterfall on Cedar Rock Creek

Accessibility – Moderate

Height: Approx 15′

Distance – 1.9 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 6

Photo rating – 6

Solitude – 6

GPS Info: LAT 35.???? LONG -82.????

Last Updated: 04/01-2017


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The Upper Waterfall on Cedar Rock Creek is a rockslide about 15 feet in height. By itself this waterfall isn’t worth the trip but when combined with the lower waterfall or when hiking to the summit of John Rock, it’s worth a look. The upper waterfall is viewable from a campsite at the base of the falls. The vegetation above the falls frames the waterfall nicely, adding a lot of greens to an otherwise bland setting. If you can get here in the fall and add the color, it looks even better. The out and back hike is less than 2.0 miles and is the same route you would take to hike John Rock.

From the intersection of 64/276 in Brevard, follow 276 5.3 miles to the split with 475. Make the left onto 475 and follow it 1.4  miles to the entrance to the Pisgah Center (Fish hatchery) and park here. The lot fills up in the summer so keep this in mind. The trail to the falls is frequented by mountain bikers and is just curvy enough that you have to keep alert so you don’t get run down. There are a few spots the hillside drains over the trail so it remains muddy almost year round. Both waterfalls on this hike are accessed from here. If you’re so inclined you can add another two miles to this hike and include the Waterfall on Groan Creek to your itinerary.

The hike is kid friendly as it follows a defined, albeit sometimes muddy trail. From the parking area head toward the gated road to the left of the fish hatchery. It will cross Cedar Rock Creek on a foot bridge. Immediately after crossing the creek there is a trail on the right designated with orange blazes. The trail will make another creek crossing shortly after passing a section of trail bordered by a chain link fence. The wide flat road goes to the right. You will want to go left up the hill. After about half a mile you will pass two fallen trees that have been cut out to allow passage. Shortly after this you will come to a side trail on the left. It’s steep and east to miss. I’ve been here three times and missed it twice. The creek is down there and you will be able to hear the lower falls. After you miss the side trail, you’ll get to a stake that indicates a trail split and a camp site down on the left. Head down to the camp site for a view of the upper falls. It is a steep scramble down so use caution. The lower falls is a short distance downstream following a path out of the campsite.

The photo opportunities are endless but the subject matter lacks. Take a few shots and move downstream to the lower falls. You’re going to need a cloudy day to get a good shot or an arrival after the sun has dropped behind the hills. This isn’t a difficult hike but it is on the way to John Rock which is a very popular hike. The campsite is almost always occupied so you’ll likely be taking your pictures from someone’s campsite.

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Upper Cedar Rock Creek Falls – October 2013
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Upper Cedar Rock Falls – October 2014
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Upper Cedar Rock Falls – October 2014

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