205 – Upper Creek Falls

Accessibility – Moderate

Height: Approx 50′

Distance – 1.2 (out and back) or 1.7 (loop)

Beauty – 7

Photo rating – 6

Solitude – 5

GPS Info: LAT 35.9608 LONG -81.8634

Last updated – 07-17-2017


Upper Creek Falls is located in the Linville Gorge area and can be combined with a visit to The Gorge to make a full day. The hike when done as an out and back is just over a mile over relatively easy terrain. It can also be turned into a loop hike that tops out at 1.7 miles. Due to approaching heavy thunderstorms and how much time we spent at Sliding Rock on Upper Creek, I didn’t get to complete the loop. I needed the shortest route back to the Xterra! Most will probably consider the Sliding Rock on Upper Creek and Upper Creek Falls as one waterfall but due to the fact they are so different, I’m listing them as two falls. If you have kids and want to enjoy the water, the Sliding Rock on Upper Creek is the place to go. Upper Creek Falls might not be the best place for the little ones.

To get to the parking area, turn right out of the gravel parking area for Linville Falls and follow NC183. If you’re coming from NC221, make a right onto NC183 and pass the parking area for Linville Falls. NC183 will wind along for a while, passing under the Blue Ridge Parkway and eventually come to a T at NC181. Make a right on NC181 and follow it for 4.2 miles to the parking area on the left. The gravel road leading to the parking area is on the outside of a long sweeping right hand turn. There are other ways to get here but this is the only one I have mileage for. The parking area is at the end of the gravel road.

The hike starts at the kiosk and enters the woods from the middle of the parking area. If you’re doing this as a loop, you will return to the parking area (or start) at the far end of the lot. The trail is heavily traveled and if you come here on a nice day, expect a lot of company. The trail intersects Upper Creek after 0.6 of a mile. To get to Upper Creek Falls, cross the creek and walk through the campsite on the far side. A trail heads downstream and downhill from the back right corner of the campsite. It begins to descend and as it does you will come to a steep scramble path on the right. Ignore the first one where you can see the rock face on the right. Continue down the main trail to the second path and follow this one down toward the creek. It is steep but obvious. The path leads to a large sloped rock below the main drop but above the cascades below. The sloped rock gives a great view of the falls. If it’s wet, use caution. The rock is about 12-15 feet over the creek bed.

I took my shots from here but with thunder rumbling and the skies darkening, I didn’t get to explore as much as I wanted.

DSC_0646DSC_0651

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