172 – Bennett Cove Falls

Accessibility – Moderate+

Height: Approx 30′

Distance – 2.1 (out and back)

Beauty – 6

Photo rating – 5

Solitude – 10

GPS Info: LAT 35.33668 LONG -82.80406

Last updated – 03-19-2017

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The waterfall on Bennett Cove might not be for everyone. It is about a mile to the falls, half of this on a graded logging road. The other half a mile is split between an overgrown logging grade that is easy to follow and a 0.25 of a mile bushwhack up the creek. This is the part that might not be for everyone. It is not an easy trek to the falls and near the falls you have to walk the side of the ridge, which in places is very steep and lacking handholds. It is a short distance of bushwhacking but enough that I consider this an off-trail hike. There is the potential to get hurt on this hike so use your better judgment. I have deemed this one off limits for my little adventurer. At 8 years old she’s a veteran of 140+ waterfalls but this one is on the no list.

To get to the parking area on Headwaters Road, toke US276 North from the intersection of US64/NC280/US276 in Brevard, follow 276 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. At certain times of the year FR475B is gated but that won’t matter for this hike since the parking area is before the gate. After leaving US276. FR475B ascends to an open area with a large pullout on the left and logging road heading to the right. Park here. The hike begins across FR475B on the gated FR5032 (Cherry Cove Road).

The hike up FR5032 is undulating but more uphill than down. The road is easy to follow as it makes its way higher. At nearly half a mile from the parking area the road makes a hard right switchback. Maybe 50 feet before the switchback you will see several large boulders on the left side of the road and some branches that the forest service has piled on the side of the road. These were likely placed here to prevent vehicle access many years ago. Once you get past the boulders, the route is easy to follow. The overgrown road intersects the creek about a quarter of a mile from FR5032. It’s the first creek crossing you reach. From here it’s all about the bushwhack. You can head upstream on either side of the creek. I made my approach on river left and I was glad I did. Coming from the river right side would have a perilous descent to get into position to get a good shot. As far as the way up the creek, here’s what I can tell you. The closer to the creek you are, the thicker the rhodos.

I kept pushing higher on the ridge. Unfortunately the contour of the land will push you back toward the creek to clear several rocky spines that come down toward the creek. After each I moved higher again. In places I found a path and in others I was on my own. The last part near the falls is the most dangerous with a section where you’re walking along the side of the ridge with nothing to hold onto. I made my way to a large boulder on river left just below the falls to shoot. If it were warmer I may have gone down to the base or made my way to the cascades below. I did this one in the winter so my guess is the bushwhack will be even more fun in the summer. Oh yeah, lots of briers! Be careful.



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