084 – Discovery Falls

Accessibility – Moderate

Height: Approx 50′

Distance – 0.9 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 7

Photo rating – 6

Solitude – 9

GPS Info: LAT 35.3276 LONG -82.8091

Last updated – 03-19-2017

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Depending on how you feel about hiking off-trail, your trip to The Waterfall on the North Tributary of Log Hollow Branch can part of a hike that includes four waterfalls total. All four falls are accessed from the same stretch of FR5043. If you’re  intending to visit all of the falls on this hike, the waterfall on the North Tributary of Log Hollow Branch will be the final stop. You can also make it your first stop if you desire. If doing only this waterfall, the out and back is about 0.9 miles, most of which is on FR5043. The rest is the hike upstream (the hike is about 2.4 miles if you want to see all 4 falls, which you probably do). The waterfall is more than 50 feet high and can be hard to photograph due to the height.

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 FR475 not to far from the fish hatchery but at certain times of the year the access gate at FR475 is closed to 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 drive 1.6 miles. This is a gravel road with frequent turnouts to provide for two way traffic. On my last visit 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 right. 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. The elevation changes are sedate, while the logging road is wide. It is used as a mountain bike trail so use caution. Taken as a whole, the combined hike to the four falls along FR5043 ranks as one of my top ten hikes. The complete list is here.

Even the off-trail portion of this hike isn’t terribly challenging and as long as you can follow the creek, there is little danger of getting lost. On our visit in June of 2015, my six-year-old daughter sat this one out, although more so due to being tired than unable. By the time we got to the car she regretted this decision, so I will be taking her back the netx time we’re exploring in that area.

If you’re just starting out, head past the gate and follow FR5043. You will pass through an open area and roughly 0.25 of a mile from gate you will reach the first bridge. Backtrack a few feet from the bridge and there is a trail into the woods, leading up the right side of the creek. If you’re coming from points south like Waterfall on Log Hollow Branch (the pretty one), Upper Waterfall on Log Hollow Branch (the hard to reach one) or the Logging Road Falls (the tall one), the hike is 0.25 of a mile from the bridge over Log Hollow Branch. Coming from this direction the trail is just across the bridge on the left.

The path is easy to follow and there isn’t a lot of ground clutter. There are a few downed tress to climb over and the hike in is mostly uphill but not obnoxiously so. From FR5043 it’s less than 0.2 of a mile to the waterfall.

The waterfall doesn’t have a huge water flow so unless you visit after it rains, don’t expect much. From the base of the waterfall the only good vantage for a picture is by standing in the creek. You will need a wide angle lens. tilted up to capture it all. There just isn’t way to back off far enough. There might be a way to get a shot from the left bank but the terrain is very steep. I didn’t try it but I may on a future visit, just to have a better shot.

Even with the limited photo opportunities this one is worth the effort to see it. Like the other waterfalls on FR5043, you will almost always have this one to yourself, making it preferential to the more visited falls on US276.

Waterfall on the Northern Tributary of Log Hollow Branch – June 2015
The view from the creek – Log Hollow North – June 2015