Accessibility – Moderate
Height: Approx 20′
Distance – 5.2 miles (out and back)
Beauty – 10
Photo rating – 9
Solitude – 9
GPS Info: LAT 35.2702 LONG -82.8090
Last updated – 04/01/2017
The waterfall on Grogan Creek can be incorporated onto hikes coming from two trailheads along FR475. The more traveled route makes it the final stop after visiting the two waterfalls on Cedar Rock Creek. Since I had been to both of those previously, I elected to come at Grogan Creek from the other access on FR475 and those are the directions you’ll find here. I don’t know which route is easier since I’ve only hiked it from this end. The total hike was 5.2 miles. The trails and logging roads were in good shape and easy to follow. Going to grogan Creek from FR5095 allows you to add the Waterfall on Long Branch to your itinerary.
Starting in Brevard, follow US 276 North 5.3 miles from the intersection of 64/280/276. Make the left onto FR475 passing the usually overcrowded parking area for Looking Glass Rock and then the Fish Hatchery. At 1.9 miles the pavement ends and the gravel portion begins. The road is rough in spots and has numerous turnouts to allow for two way traffic. Drive 4.2 miles on FR475 until reaching the intersection with FR5095. The road is gated by the Forest Service. When you park, make sure you don’t block the gate. The Forest Service doesn’t take kindly to having their gates blocked.
The hike begins at the gate and follows FR5095 on a mostly uphill journey. The hike is scenic and strenuous at time but worth every step. It is one of my top 10 hikes. The rest of the list is here. A mile into the hike you’re going to hear a rustling in the bushes. This is Long Branch Creek. Through the thicket you can see glimpses of the creek. If you have the time, backtrack a few feet to a scramble path up to the falls. It’s a steep ascent but you’re already here so if you’re up for it, climb up and take in the view of the Waterfall on Long Branch.
The uphill journey resumes as FR5095 climbs to the top of the ridge where it intersects with the Long Branch Trail. At the intersection take the orange blazed Long Branch Trail, which continues more or less in the same direction as FR5095. The hike on the Long Branch Trail alternates between flat and downhill until it reaches an intersection with the Butter Gap Trail after a mile. Make a right on Butter Gap Trail, following the Blue Blazes. This is a mountain bike trail so be alert. After making the right follow the Butter Gap Trail 0.75 miles until you hear the falls. There is a path that leads to the top of the falls. I avoided this path and I suggest you do as well. Instead I headed left and scrambled down to the base. The route down was steep and muddy but worth it.
Other than the distance, the terrain of the hike is kid friendly. The scramble down may be tough for some. If they’ve done scrambles before, this will be no different. As always, use your judgment. I know what my daughter can and can’t do. You’ll have to make you own determination. It’s a beautiful waterfall and since it requires a lengthy hike form either end, you’re likely going to have this idyllic spot to yourself. Make the most of it.
Getting a decent shot is easy. There is a large flat area below the falls where you can set up your tripod and have room to work. My only regret was not removing that branch that was lying in the creek. It’s in the foreground of most of my head on shots and it really bothers me. The canopy is mostly open so you’re going to do better on a cloudy day. I was here in March on a overcast day and the lighting was perfect. There are so many places you can shoot from. Go with what appeals to your eye.