Accessibility – Medium
Height – Approx 25′
Distance – 0.75 miles (out and back)
Beauty – 7
Photo rating – 8
Solitude – 8
GPS Info: LAT 35.2717 LONG -82.8957
Last Updated: 08-22-2017
Cody Falls is the relatively unknown and mostly ignored companion to the immensely popular Courthouse Falls. The two are on the same hike and less than five minutes apart but maybe 1 out of 100 visitors to Courthouse Falls visit Cody Falls or even know it’s there despite the fact you can hear it from the Courthouse Falls trail. Is it the easiest hike to get down to the base, no. Is it worth it, yes. The waterfall is a single steep slide, very similar to Courthouse Falls. At the base of the falls the water fills a pool and makes a hard left, almost U-turn and tumbles down a small cascade. The area is lush and green and even on a visit on a bright sunny day, the lighting was amazing. Best of all, at no point did I feel like I was going to die while on this hike.
Getting to the trailhead will require a drive of 3.0 miles along FR140 from the intersection with NC215. FR140 was never the smoothest of logging roads and now that the lower end of FR140, between FR140A and NC215 is being used as a logging road once again and the logging trucks are tearing it up, expect a bumpy ride. As always the incline before Courthouse Falls is a bumpy mess. Also note that the bridge over Courthouse Creek on NC215 is under construction and is currently reduced to single lane traffic.
To get to the falls from the Blue Ridge Parkway, reset your trip odometer while you’re sitting at the stop sign at the base of the ramp. Make a right and pass under the BRP and continue South for 6.5 miles. FR140 is located on the far side of a narrow bridge so use the ‘narrow bridge’ sign as your warning to slow down. As of 8-22-2017, the bridge over Courthouse Creek is under repair so the turn to FR140 is just after the single lane area ends. The left turn is right after the bridge. Coming from US64, the drive is 10.2 miles up NC215 to the right hand turn just before the narrow bridge. If the road is open, which it has been on both of my 2017 visits, you can drive 3.0 miles to a small pull off on the right just after you pass over Courthouse Creek.
The hike is slightly more than a third of a mile following the combined orange blazed Courthouse Falls Trail and the Blue Blazed Summey Cove Trail. The hike will take less than 10 minutes and is easy enough. Since you’re here, you should probably combine this one with Courthouse Falls. When you get to the split, the Courthouse Falls Trail turns back to the left. There is a big ugly “don’t do stupid things on the rocks or you may die” sign at the intersection. There are two choices from here. If you keep going on the Summey Cove Trail you will see an obvious path on the left where people have gone down to Cody Falls. If you miss the first one, you can take the second one. In either case, you can hear the waterfall. If you lose the trail, keep heading down and angling to your left. If you venture too far to the right (upstream) you will come to the high rock walls near the top of the falls. Once you get to the creek, follow it up to the base of the falls. You can also get down to the creek by turning onto the Courthouse Falls Trail and following it until you come to the worn tree stump on the right of the trail. An obvious path turns to the right at this point and will take you down to the creek.
The waterfall is back in a rock valley, covered in moss. The canopy is thick so the light isn’t so bad even in the middle of the day. This hike isn’t over difficult and most with some experience will have no trouble. The Looking Glass Falls, DuPont Forest crowd may find the difficulty outweighs the reward. I think the opposite. Now that I’ve been down there I have no fear that my little adventurer could easily make this hike. The trail is obvious enough that she could probably lead the way. Of course, she’s been hiking since age 3 and is versed in hiking on and off trail. You’re going to have to be the final judge on what your kids are capable of doing. As near as I could tell, it is hard to take a bad picture of this waterfall. The lighting is even and there are so many places to set up to focus on various features.