087 – Upper Dill Falls

Accessibility – Moderate

Height – 25′

Distance – 0.7 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 10

Photo rating – 10

Solitude – 10

GPS Info: LAT 35.2863 LONG -82.9443

Upper Dill Falls is the lesser known companion of Dill Falls, one of two waterfalls on this segment of Tanasee Creek in the Nantahala National Forest. The waterfalls are accessed from FR4663, which intersects NC215 south of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Upper Dill Falls and Dill Falls are accessed from the same parking area but follow different trails. Upper Dill Falls is nothing like it’s downstream companion. A thick canopy envelops the 25 foot high waterfall, giving it a remote feeling.

On my initial visit to Dill Falls in October of 2014, we missed the scramble path for Upper Dill Falls so it wasn’t until I returned in July of 2015 that I made my first visit. I arrived about an hour before sunset but already the waterfall was deep in shadow. Before I even got my tripod set up, this one jumped near the top of my 10 list. You can see the rest of the list here. It is a diverse list, filled with some obscure waterfalls on lower volume creeks. If you make it to Upper Dill Falls, you’ll probably understand.

To get to Upper Dill Falls, take US64 West out of Brevard to the intersection with NC215. Headwaters Outfitters is on the corner so you can use this as a reference point (it’s not too far past NC178). Make a right onto NC215 and head North for 14.2 miles and turn left on FR4663. Coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway FR4663 will be on your right and it comes up quickly. Be warned, when you’re turning onto FR4663, it looks like you’re pulling into someone’s driveway! There small house right at the intersection of NC215 and FR4663. The road is marked as FR4663. Like many Forest Roads, they are subject to closures in the winter (December 15th) so do your research ahead of time to avoid a wasted trip. The road isn’t gated at NC215 but it is about a half a mile in. You could park there and walk, as long as you don’t block the gate or mind an extra two miles each way on foot.

I have visited this one in July and October of 2015 and then again in December of 2016. The road was in decent shape as far as gravel roads go. I drive a Nissan Xterra so good shape and easily passable to me might be different that it is for you. Follow FR4663 1.9 miles to the split with FR4663B. Bear left onto the lesser traveled FR4663B. The turn is easy to miss so pay attention. FR4663B is narrow and bumpy and even though you’re on it just over half a mile you’re going to feel like I’ve sent you on a fool’s errand. The road ends at an open area where you can park. There are room for several cars but I have yet to find anyone here, which is one of the reasons I like these waterfalls.

The trails to the waterfalls are on the right as you pull into the parking area. One goes up and the other down, to get to Dill Falls take the left branch, heading down. To get to Upper Dill Falls take the right fork up the hill. The hill is littered with mounds to prevent vehicle access so you will be climbing over them and this can be tricky so watch your step. After the trail levels out at the top of the incline proceed a short distance along the road. You will hear the waterfall before you see the steep scramble down to the creek. The upper section is steep but there are enough handholds to reach the lower section without any undue angst. From there the trail emerges on the right of the falls.

The rocks are covered in moss while the surrounding vegetation frames the rock. I set up in the creek to take my shots. I’m usually not one to linger after I’m done shooting but having this peaceful oasis to myself that July evening, I sat around and enjoyed the sound of the water flowing over the rocks until the fading light demanded I leave. I was so happy with the shots taken on my July visit that when I returned in October of 2015 with my wife and then six-year-old daughter, I didn’t even take my camera out of my pack.

Upper Dill Falls – July 2015
The mossy rocks at Upper Dill Falls – July 2015
A winter view – December 2016
Upper Dill Falls – December 2016
More of the downstream cascades – December 2016
 A different vantage – Upper Dill Falls – December 2016