Accessibility – Moderate+
Height: Approx 25′
Distance – 4.4 Miles (out and back)
Beauty – 5
Photo rating – 6
Solitude – 6
GPS Info: LAT 35.0934 LONG -82.9696
Last Updated: 04/01/2017
Home Alphabetical Listing Numerical Listing Location Listing Gorges State Park
Drift Falls, a.k.a. Bust Yer Butt Falls is the final stop on our upstream journey along this section of the Horsepasture River. All five waterfalls are accessed from the same parking area in Gorges State park even though the waterfalls themselves are in Pisgah. Since you have to park in Gorges, I list them in the Gorges Section. Taken as a whole this ranks as my top waterfall hike in the area. The remainder of my top 10 list can be found here. I’m going to treat Stairway Falls, Secret Falls, Rainbow Falls, Turtleback Falls and Drift Falls as a single entity. Stairway Falls is the only hike I start from the parking area. Each successive waterfall on the hike begins at its predecessor so this will be a little different than my other entries.
After everything we saw up to this point, the finale is disappointing. Drift Falls is akin to sliding rock and time was, it was put to the same use. Currently the property is privately owned. No trespassing signs adorn a fence dividing Pisgah Forest from the private lands. The trail runs to the fence and turns toward the river. The narrow passage dumps out onto a flat stone that provides a view of the river as it slides down into the collection pool. You can take your shots from the stone but not much else. As I said, we did it because it was only 0.2 of a mile further upstream.
Despite the steeper segments early in the hike, it remains kid friendly and this final section of the trail isn’t too steep but the trail to the river near the fence is kind of worn. The hike from Turtleback Falls to Drift Falls is 0.2 miles. If it were any longer I would skip it. As a matter of fact, on our December 2015 visit, we elected to bypass this final stop. My six-year-old daughter really wanted to hike to it again but she was overruled this time. She told me how much she really liked this one but I think it’s because she likes saying ‘Bust Yer Butt’.
Once you’re done there the hike back is about 2.2 miles, bringing the total to 4.4. In February of 2014 I did a lot of carrying of my then 4 year old, on the way back. Our rule used to be, you can only be carried on the uphill portions of the return hike. This used to come into play frequently. On our December 2015 hike, she led the way for most of it.