Accessibility – Moderate
Height: Approx 80′
Distance – 4.0 miles (out and back)
Beauty – 9
Photo rating – 8
Solitude – 7
GPS Info: LAT 35.3360 LONG -82.7598
Last Updated: 05-15-2016
Last updated – 04/01/2017
The hike to Twin Falls on Henry Branch is approximately 2.0 miles each way along a marked trail. The trail is easy enough but there are numerous log bridges to cross along the way. There is a little bit of everything on this hike and that’s why it ranks as one of my top 10 waterfall hikes in the area. The rest of that list is here. Most of the bridges are reasonably sturdy. Others are a bit scary. A few lack handrails so smaller children will require added supervision. Once you reach the falls there are some steep areas when trying to get a better look and most of the rocks around the waterfall are wet and slippery. The two falls, divided by a thick overgrown of vegetation, are unique in the fact that they are both almost 80 feet high. This hike can be easily combined with the Waterfall on Avery Creek to make a sort of loop hike of about 4.5 miles. If you want to add in the Waterfall on Clawhammer Creek, you’re in for about 6.5 miles all totaled.
From the confluence of 64/280/276 in Brevard, take US276 North for 2.1 miles to FR477 (Avery Creek Road) and make a right. FR477 is easy to find since there is a sign for the Pisgah Riding Stables. FR447 is a gravel road with pullouts to allow two-way traffic. It is also gated at certain times of the year so check in at the ranger station before making the drive. If the road is gated at the bridge, it’s going to add about 1.5-2.0 miles round trip to the hike. Follow FR477 just under 2.75 to the parking area for the Buckhorn Gap Trail. If you are wanting to see the Waterfall on Avery Creek along the way, park at the pullout 2.2 miles from the turn onto FR477. If you’re going to try this hike, consult your Pisgah Trail Map, since I haven’t done it.
Start out following the orange blazes signifying the Buckhorn Gap Trail. The trail will start downgrade for a time as it begins to parallel Avery Creek. At 10-15 minutes from the trailhead you will probably hear the Waterfall on Avery Creek stirring down and to your right. There isn’t a great view from the Buckhorn Gap Trail and the only way down is a dubious scramble path. It’s much easier and safer to see the Waterfall on Avery Creek from the Avery Creek trail (blue blazes). The two trails meet up about 0.5 of a mile later. When I did this hike in June of 2014, on the way back, my wife and daughter hiked the Avery Creek Trail while I ran the Buckhorn Gap Trial back to the truck so I could pick them up at the Avery Creek Trailhead. During this run I spotted my first, and thankfully only, Rattlesnake.
At the intersection with the Avery Creek Trail, bear left, staying on the left side of Avery Creek. The Avery Creek and The Buckhorn Gap Trail join up for a time and they also serves as an equestrian trail. This becomes evident at creek crossings where there is a stream for the house to ford, while a log bridge is usually just up or down stream. If you get your feet wet crossing a creek, you didn’t look hard enough for the bridge. When the trails split, head across the bridge following the orange blazes. Once across turn left and continue upstream. Barely 0.25 of a mile later the trail crosses Henry Branch. Mind the horse crossing and find the bridge. After a two section bridge, the trail will ascend steeply over a rock with an enormous dead hemlock growing on it. You can either go up and over or down and around. In all, there are ten creek crossings on this hike. After a short bridge without handrails crosses at the bottom of a channel, look for a side trail on the left. Ignore it for now and stay on the main trail as it goes up toward the falls. If you take this defined trail to the left a short distance you will come to what I told my daughter Alana I would call, until I’m told otherwise, Alana’s Falls (Waterfall on Unnamed Trib of Henry Branch). The main trail will come to a campsite on the right and from this point you will be able to see the falls through the trees.
The trail does ascend steeply before meeting Henry Branch on the left side of the falls. You can rock hop to the area between the falls and then follow a trail around the divider to the right falls, which is hidden from view. Getting higher on the falls isn’t too bad but the ascent was pretty slippery on the right side falls. Even moving higher didn’t allow for a better shot on the right drop. Getting up to the left drop isn’t too bad and there is some interesting stuff at the base of the falls; root balls, logs and the like. To the right of the collection pool on the left waterfall there is a trail that heads up over the ridge presumably toward the right drop but I didn’t check it out. It looked steep but manageable. Next time.
The hike is kid friendly but it can get a bit long at four miles round trip for younger kids. On the plus side, there is very little elevation change. My daughter had just turned 5 when we did this hike the first time and she took it well. When we did it in May of 2016, she was 7 and there were no issues. She liked the bridges and there was enough to see to keep her from realizing how far we hiked. As far as getting a decent shot, you can get some cool stuff by climbing toward the primary drop on the left side. On the right the best shot is from the creek where the trail comes in from the left side. In either case, you’re going to need a wide angle lens and you will have to shoot the two falls independently.
Left drop from the center area – June 2014