083 – Upper Waterfall on Log Hollow Branch

Accessibility – Moderate+

Height: Approx 20′

Distance – 1.4 miles (out and back) 2.4 miles as a combined hike

Beauty – 5

Photo rating – 6

Solitude – 10

GPS Info: LAT 35.3241 LONG -82.8089

Last Updated: 03-19-2017

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Depending on your level of adventure and how much time you have, a side trip to the Upper Waterfall Log Hollow Branch can be omitted but I don’t recommend missing it. It is distinctive enough to warrant a visit and the hike to it isn’t all that bad. If you’ve come to do all four, then away we go. If you’re hiking to the four falls on this stretch of FR5043, this will be the third stop. The Waterfall on Log Hollow is the prettiest of the quartet and the easiest to access. The Waterfall on South Log Hollow Branch is the tallest. The Upper Waterfall on Log Hollow is the hardest to reach but by no means hard. To see just this falls the out and back is about 1.2 miles following FR5043 for a mile of the trek (the hike to see all four falls is 2.4 miles). The waterfall is upstream of the Waterfall on Log Hollow Branch and can be viewed from a small clearing after a hike of about 0.1 of a mile from the lower falls.

From the intersection of US64/NC280/US276 in Brevard, follow US276 10.3 miles to the turn for FR475B (Headwaters Road) on the left. From the Blue Right Parkway the right turn to FR475B is about 4.7 miles. FR475B connects with 475 not to far from the fish hatchery but at certain times of the year the access gates are closed so you might want to check at the ranger station for potential road closures or you could end up doing a lot of backtracking. From the intersection with US276 follow 475B 1.6 miles. This is a gravel road with frequent turnouts to provide for two way traffic. On my last visit in March of 2017 it was in very good shape. You will get some great views of Looking Glass Rock off to your left before you reach the gated FR5043. FR5043 will be on the right at the apex of a hairpin turn to the left. The forest service does not take kindly to people blocking the gates so park so as not to do so. All four falls on this hike are accessed from here.

The hike is kid friendly and scenic, although the southern section (between Log Hollow Falls and Logging Road Falls was logged in 2016). The elevation changes are sedate, while the logging road is wide. It is used as a mountain bike trail so use caution.

The hike to the upper falls is relatively kid friendly but for younger ones, keep your children’s physical limitations in mind. My 6-year-old daughter did not join me for this segment of the hike, mostly since she was tired after a day of hiking. She immediately regretted this omission so we will be returning at a later date so she can add this one to her list as well. Taken as a whole, the combined hike to the four falls along FR5043 ranks as one of my top 10 hikes. The complete list is here.

Starting from scratch, head past the gate and follow FR5043. You will first pass a large clearing and then a 0.25 mile from gate you will reach the first bridge, which will be our last stop (Log Hollow North / Discovery Falls). Continue another 0.25 of a mile along FR5043 to the second bridge. Cross the bridge and follow a side trail to the right to a view of the lower falls. If you’re coming from the waterfall on South Log Hollow Branch (Logging Road Falls), just before the bridge, make a left into the woods. The area in front of the lower falls is a bit of a mess after several trees fell last year. Expect them to be there for a while.

From the clearing where you took your pictures of Log Hollow Falls, a side trail heads away from the river right side of the creek as it ascends. It soon turns to parallel the creek as it ascends to the top of the lower falls. Like most trails that lead to the upper falls, the steep section is the part where you climb to the top of the lower falls. After starting out kind of steep, the trail levels off above the falls. The path mirrors the creek upstream to the waterfall. The upper falls is barely 0.1 of a mile upstream. It’s a steep rock slide about about 30′-35′ feet high.

The photo opportunities are limited. You can get a shot from the front but there isn’t a lot of room to work. If you can use the foreground vegetation to hide the downfall at the base of the falls, even better. This is the most difficult of the four falls on this hike and you will absolutely be the only one here! Once you’re done here, follow the scramble path back to FR5043. Make a left and head for the final stop, the Waterfall on North Log Hollow Branch.

The downfall at Upper Log Hollow Falls – March 2017
Less of the stuff – March 2017
A shot from the trail on river right – March 2017

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