Accessibility – Easy
Height – 10′-12′
Distance – 0.44 miles (out and back)
Beauty – 8
Photo rating – 9
Solitude – 8
GPS Info: LAT 35.0681 LONG -83.0095
Last updated: 03/06/2016
D.E.W. Falls is part of a trio of falls on Mill Creek very near the creek’s crossing with NC281. D.E.W. and Slippery Witch Falls are both upstream of 281 and John’s Jump Falls is just below. All three can be reached from the same parking area. If you add in White Owl Falls you have four very easily accessible waterfalls relatively close together. All of the hikes are short and all of the falls are remarkably secluded considering their proximity to NC281. As a matter of fact, when walking from the parking area to the gravel road that leads to D.E.W. Falls, you will hear John’s Jump Falls down to your right.
To get to D.E.W. Falls from the intersection of US64 and NC281 South not too far west of Toxaway Falls, turn left onto 281. If you’re coming from Cashier’s, make a right onto NC281 and start the odometer. One mile into the drive you will pass the entrance to Gorges State Park and at 3.6 miles from the turn you will reach Brewer Road, SR1189 and the roadside parking for White Owl Falls. Continue south for another 1.2 miles. There is a gated forest road on the right just as the road sweeps into a left hand turn. You can park here or round the bend and park in the large grassy area on the left. This is the parking area for John’s Jump Falls.
From the John’s Jump Parking area, walk down NC281 toward the bend and then the coast is clear, head across to the gravel road. The road is gated to vehicle traffic but not pedestrian. Almost immediately the road passed through a campsite. Shortly thereafter the trail splits. Head up the hill but be on the lookout for a trail on the left. You will know you are on the right trail when you see a very distintive Y-shaped tree on the left shortly after leaving the forest road. Follow the trail a short distance to the secluded clearing where you will find D.E.W. Falls. There is a large flat stone expanse across the collection pool from the falls that is a great place to set up for a shot. The setting is idyllic.
The hike is totally kid friendly, with the only danger being the short jaunt down NC281. The pool below the falls has little current so it would make a great place for a dip on a hot summer day.