053 – Waterfall on Cedar Rock Creek

Accessibility – Moderate

Height: Approx 25′

Distance – 1.9 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 8

Photo rating – 9

Solitude – 6

GPS Info: LAT 35.2785 LONG -82.7994

Last updated – 04/01/2017

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The Waterfall on Cedar Rock Creek is a single drop of about 20 feet. This falls in worth the hike and it can be combined with the upper waterfall. It can also be added as a waypoint if completing the John Rock Summit hike. The upper waterfall is viewable from a campsite at the base of the falls and the lower falls can be accessed by passing through the campsite, climbing over the fallen log and following the trail downstream. There is an overlook at the top of the falls and a short scramble leading to the base. 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. This is the easier route to the falls. Following this trail will bring you to a large cave. Just past the cave the rocks lead down to the falls. If 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. The lower falls is a short distance downstream following a path out of the campsite.

You can shoot this one from in front or by crossing the creek and shooting form the left side of the creek. In the summer the waterfall can provide a refreshing dip. The current picks up after the initial drop but at the base of the falls the ground is flat and open. The biggest challenge will be the sun. If it’s directly overhead, the shadows are awful. You can get good shots form the rocks on the right side of the creek or by working your way to the flat area left of the 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 walking through someone’s campsite if you miss the first trail.

Waterfall on Cedar Rock Creek – October 2014
Waterfall on Cedar Rock Creek – July 2015
Lower Waterfall on Cedar Rock Creek – July 2015