054 – Waterfall on Cathey’s Creek

Accessibility – Moderate

Height: Approx 50′

Distance – 1.0 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 7

Photo rating – 7

Solitude – 6

GPS Info: LAT 35.2263 LONG -82.8027

Last updated – 04/01/2017

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The Waterfall on Catheys Creek is approximately 50 feet high and close to the road. The extent of the hike is a scramble from the road down to the base. It is right on the gravel FR 471 and is bigger kid friendly. My five year old managed it with no problems but she is an experienced hiker and this was her fiftieth waterfall hike. Not too shabby. Roadside parking at the trail head is limited to a max of two cars but there are pull-offs in either direction if there is someone here, which is unlikely. The path to the base is steep in places and slippery in spots. Use commonsense and watch your step. Cathey’s Creek has a decent flow so this isn’t one to dry up.

You can come at this one from either direction. From downtown Brevard follow US 64 about 3.5 miles and turn right at the Kuykendall Group Camp sign. Make an immediately left on to Catheys Creek Rd (FR 471). It’s a scenic 3.2 mile drive to the parking area on the right. There’s enough room two cars and it’s hard to spot the pullout until you’re right on top of it. The trailhead is easy to find once you’re parked but it is not signed. Coming in from the other direction, follow US 276 5.3 miles from the intersection of 64/281/276 in Brevard to the intersection with 475. Bear left on FR475 and follow it for 6.0 miles to FR471. The drive down FR471 is almost five miles before you reach the parking area on the left. You will reach the parking area right after the bridge crossing Cathey’s Creek.

Once you get out of your vehicle you’ll hear the waterfall somewhere down there. The trail is pretty easy to follow but it does get steep and slippery as you approach the base of the falls. Use caution and plan your next step. If you have to hold on, there’s plenty of Rhododendron to help you down.

I don’t want to say this hike is kid friendly. When it comes to scrambles my daughter is a cut above. She’s been hiking with me since she was three and she knows her way around. When we do a scramble she knows to scan the way ahead and find her handholds. If she’s not sure, she asks what should she do next. She managed this one with nothing more than some hand holding when it got really steep or too slippery. You can shoot this one from the side of the creek or wade into the water. It isn’t very deep. There is also a sandbar on the far side that provides a good vantage. No location is better than the others. It’s all about what appeals to your eye. The light can be tricky toward the top of the falls.

FR471 at the parking area for Cathey’s Creek Falls – October 2014
Cathey’s Creel Falls from the left bank – October 2014
Increased water flow – March 2016
Cathey’s Creek – March 2016
Shadows in the collection pool below Cathey’s Creek Falls – October 2014