Accessibility – Moderate+
Height: Approx 25′
Distance – 1.6 (out and back)
Beauty – 5
Photo rating – 8
Solitude – 7
GPS Info: LAT 35.8562 LONG -82.0849
Last updated – 07-17-2017
Grassy Creek Falls is a three-tiered waterfall locate about 0.75 of a mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway in Little Switzerland. Most of the hike is along gravel road with only the final third of a mile along a narrower trail. At the falls there are three scramble paths that we saw. I took the middle one down to the falls and the furthest from the falls back up. The one closet to the falls had an unforgiving look to it, like one slip and bones would get broken. Jen came back up this one, while Alana and I didn’t watch.
To get to the parking area take the Little Switzerland exit, MP333.9. At the bottom of the ramp you will see the Little Switzerland Inn. Turn right on Chestnut Grove Church Rd. This will pass under the parkway. Just after the underpass you will see the Grassy Creek Falls Road. This is a private road and the only legal parking is at the upper end, above the sign indicting no parking further down the road. We paired this hike with Crabtree Falls and turned it into a nice half-day adventure. We did Crabtree first and then drove out to this one before backtracking. Depending on your plans you could start here and then work back to Crabtree Falls. In either case, you’d want to do both of these on the same trip.
This hike passes through private property the entire way so please respect the wishes of the landowners who allow access to the waterfall by staying on the road to the falls and off of their property. From the top of the road, walk down the hill for about 0.25 of a mile. There is a small creek on the left that will pass under the road at an intersection. Three of the four choices lead to homes. The one you want veers only slightly to the right and the roadbed is darker than the other ones. This will lead you to the second steep hill you’re going to walk down. Both this hill and the one above the intersection will have you huffing on the way back. At around 0.55 from the trailhead the road will bend hard to the right and pass through a blue gate. The trail you want is back before the gate. It has a chain across it to keep vehicles out. This trail will lead you about 0.25 of a mile to the first of the paths on the right. I recommend descending on the second or third but you make your own decision.
The lower trail brings you out below the middle drop while the upper two leave you at the base of the main drop. It is pretty easy to move from level to level but the rocks are slippery so use caution. I took some from below the middle section and below the main drop but since a family of four appeared to be in it for the long haul and they had no interest in moving aside for a minute so I could take a shot, I wasn’t able to get a shot from the base. Next time. The hike is kid friendly but the scramble paths may test those that are not accustomed to these type things. The hike out will be uphill so be prepared.