077 – Chestnut Falls

Accessibility – Moderate

Height – Approx 20′-25′

Distance – 1.88 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 7

Photo rating – 7

Solitude – 8

GPS Info: LAT 35.2791 LONG -82.8874

Last Updated: 08-22-2017

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The hike to the waterfall isn’t too bad but the scramble to the base can be tricky. The waterfall is about 20 feet high with a smaller drop located just in front. The only thing that detracts from the otherwise idyllic location are the two fallen trees across the base of the falls.

To get to Chestnut Falls from the Blue Ridge Parkway, reset your trip odometer while you’re sitting at the stop sign at the base of the ramp. Make a right and pass under the BRP and continue South for 6.5 miles. FR140 is located on the far side of a narrow bridge so use the ‘narrow bridge’ sign as your warning to slow down. The left turn is right after the bridge. Coming from US64, the drive is 10.2 miles up NC215 to the right hand turn just before the narrow bridge. FR140 has spent a lot of time the last few years barred to vehicle traffic so check. This most recent closure began in August of 2015. If the road is open you can drive 2.7 miles to a small pull off on the right. There will be a gated logging road on the right. As always, do not block the gate.

The hike to the waterfall follows the logging road. The hike is very nice and the road is easy to follow. About 0.90 of a mile from the gate the road is going to split. On the left, across from the fork in the road is a trail that leads to the base of the falls. This is about the only part of the hike that presents any difficulty. My daughter didn’t seem to think the decent was too bad but these things don’t bother her. On the other hand, she was kind of put off by an encounter we had about half a mile into our hike. While following the logging road, we ended up in a right of way dispute with a six-foot black snake that was crossing the road. There was a tense five minute standoff before the snake managed his way across the road, leaving us to our hike. He had no interest in us but his passage wasn’t soon forgotten. For the rest of the hike to Chestnut Falls, my daughter had to be assured the snake wasn’t following us.

As far as kid friendly, i’d say yes. The scramble is another story. That’s your decision. Look at it and see what you think. It does get a little steep about halfway down. There is an open area next to the creek at the base of the falls that makes a great spot to set up for a few shots. The setting is very tranquil. It’s the kind of location you can enjoy for a while since there is likely not going to be anyone intruding.

Chestnut Falls – June 2015
The downfall at the base of Chestnut Falls – June 2015
Making the most of the downfall at Chestnut Falls – June 2015