218 – Nellie’s Falls

Accessibility – Medium

Height – 25′

Distance – 1.6 (out and back)

Beauty – 7

Photo rating – 5

Solitude – 8

GPS Info: LAT 35.2013 LONG -83.0330

Last updated – 08-22-2017


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Sadly for Nellie’s Falls, it is accessed from the same parking area as Flat Creek Falls and if you’ve driven all this way to see a waterfall, it isn’t Nellie’s. This is a shame since this is a beautiful waterfall, ticked into a narrow rock valley. The setting is very peaceful and the falls has enough small drops and ledges to keep your entertained for hours. The total height is maybe 25-28 feat but it seems bigger since you have to get close to it before you can get a good view. I thoroughly enjoyed this waterfall and I can’t wait to go back for a second visit that will include Upper Nellie’s Falls.

Like many of the waterfalls I visit, Nellie’s was one of those that I didn’t manage to see on my first visit to Flat Creek Falls. The rains came and chased me away. I didn’t make it on my second visit to Flat Creek. My hiking partners were worn out from the hike back to the top of Grassy Gap. The third time I wasn’t stopping by to see Flat Creek Falls. This time I was determined to see Nellie’s falls.

To get to the trailhead, follow US64 west out of Brevard until it intersects with NC281 North. As of 8-22-2017 there is road construction and blasting work going on around the junction so delays are possible. Bear right onto NC281. If you get to Toxaway Falls turn around and go back 0.6 miles. Follow NC281N for 9.3 miles to SR1140 – Rock Bridge Road and make a left. The drive up the unpaved Rock Bridge Road starts by going over a metal bridge. The road is in decent shape with a few rough patches so use caution. Follow Rock Bridge Road 1.7 miles to the intersection with FR4662. Bear right, heading downhill. The trailhead is 2.1 miles down FR4662. Along the way there are several areas that are in the process of being logged so don’t be surprised. When we arrived the parking area was empty. When we got back two hours later there were 11 cars in the small parking area!

The hike beings by crossing the creek on a pair of logs or wading through the ankle deep water. The hike ascends slightly after the crossing. The first left heads back down to the creek. Take the second left and head up the hill. The trail will ascend for the first 0.25 of a mile through a rhodo tunnel for most of the way. This will shift to a stand of small pines just before another path splits off to the left. Follow this down the hill. There is going to be some downfall to go over, under and around along this section of the trail. YOu’ll be on this part of the trail for 0.4 to 0.5 of a mile. The path you’re on will seem to end, while a more obvious path with branch to the left. Follow this down the hill toward the creek. There are going to be some soggy areas and a lot of fallen trees to negotiate before you reach the creek. The path will end at Flat Creek where you will have to cross. Almost immediately upstream from the crossing is a creek-wide cascade. To get around it, go to the left of the huge boulder and follow this path above the cascade. The path will feed you back to the creek on an open rock area. Walk this a few yards to the base of the falls.

There is a large flat boulder in the middle of the creek that made a nice platform for taking pictures. The hike was kid-friendly for Alana, who matched me step for step the entire way. She even led most of the way back. Nellie’s Falls definitely isn’t an equal of Flat Creek Falls but it shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the area. I think it’s a worthwhile side trip. As far as doing it after Flat Creek, that would make for a long day. As for photos, I don’t see a problem setting up on the boulder or on the bank. Sadly the lighting was awful on my visit.

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The lowest segment – August 2017
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The river-right side of the falls – August 2017
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A fuller view of the drops – August 2017
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A landscape view of the scene – August 2017
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Jen adding some perspective to the scene – August 2017

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