080 – Waterfall on Slate Rock Creek

Accessibility – Easy

Height: Approx 25′

Distance – 1.58 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 8

Photo rating – 8

Solitude – 9

GPS Info: LAT 35.3929 LONG -82.6946

The Waterfall on Slate Rock Creek is the furthest I’ve explored down Yellow Gap Road (FR1206) to date. The waterfall is really pretty but what makes this one worth the drive is the hike to the waterfall. The trail follows Slate Rock Creek the whole way from the trailhead at 1206 to the waterfall. This section of the creek is filled with cascades and water features. Large boulders and stones fill the creek, providing numerous photo ops before getting to the main attraction about 0.8 of a mile from the parking area. The trail is easy to follow upstream and the trailhead is marked with a sign indicating the Pilot Cove/Slate Rock Trail. It didn’t take long before this became one of my top 10 hikes in the area. The creek and the waterfall and even the small tributary just before the falls combine to make this a great walk in the woods. As of this time, the Slate Rock Creek hike is the only one on my Top 10 list that has only a single waterfall. The rest of my top 10 hikes can be found here.

Starting at the convergence of 64/280/276 near Brevard, head North on US276 11.7 miles to Yellow Gap Road (FR1206). If you’re coming in from the Blue Ridge Parkway Yellow Gap Road is on the left 3.0 miles from the stop sign at the base of the ramp. The gravel road is marked with a small brown sign indicating 1206. You will be on FR1206 for 6.8 miles. You will pass the Barnett Branch Trail after 1.3 miles and then the intersection with FR476 after 3.3 miles. After the split with FR476, which goes to the right, the road condition does deteriorate noticeably. As far as parking you can park just before the bridge over the creek on the right hand side. If no one is using the area across the bridge as a campsite you can park there. The trailhead is in the back of the open area across the bridge and it is marked with a carsonite sign.

The hike isn’t strenuous and shouldn’t take too long. At right around 0.8 of a mile it will take maybe 25-30 minutes. Longer if you’re like me and you keep stopping to take pictures of the creek. Around the midpoint of the hike the trail ascends a set of log steps. Shortly after the steps you will cross a small feeder stream. You will rock hop over a second feeder stream a short distance before the waterfall. Do not overlook this small stream. It will make for a great shot. There is a scramble path to the base of the falls on the left hand side of the trail. When you get to a heavily washed out section that used to be the way down, reverse course a short distance and look for the path into the rhodos.

The scramble is the only challenge but my daughter, who was six at the time had no problem making the descent. She is really good at these kinds of steep declines so keep that in mind when making your decision. My little one in a veteran of more than 100 waterfalls and close to 200 hikes so she has a lot of experience on and off trail. You know what your kids can and can’t handle. When in doubt, opt for the safe route.


Waterfall on Slate Rock Creek – Creek View – June 2015

Close-up of the Waterfall on Slate Rock Creek – June 2015
The colored rocks at the base of the waterfall – June 2105
The collection pool and surrounding forest – Slate Rock Creek – June 2015
Small tributary just downstream of the main falls – June 2015