227 – Lower Slick Rock Falls

Accessibility – Medium+

Height – Approx 30-35′

Distance – 0.3 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 3

Photo rating – 3

Solitude – 4

GPS Info: LAT 35.2932 LONG -82.7975

 Last Updated: 09-07-2017

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It’s sometimes amazing how many waterfalls I’ve been to in my short hiking career. For me it came into focus when I was putting together my pictures and hike recap from Lower Slick Rock Falls. It wasn’t that Lower Sick Rock was anything special but it was the fact that it was “227 – Lower Slick Rock Falls” as compared to “012 – Slick Rock Falls” in the roughly four years since my first trip to Slick Rock Falls I visited 215 different waterfalls before I made it back to see the lower falls.

 Slick Rock Falls is a low flow waterfall along 475B about a mile from the intersection with 475. Lower Slick Rock Falls is it’s lesser-seen downstream companion. This lower waterfall is harder to reach and not nearly as nice but only because of all the clutter collected on the falls. I was there after a heavy thunderstorm so it was absolutely raging. Most times this will be little more than a trickle, just like Slick Rock Falls. This lower falls was about 30-35 feet high but there was no good vantage to photograph all of it. It was hard enough to get to a vantage to photograph some of it!

From the intersection of US64/US276?NC280 in Brevard, follow US276 5.3 miles to the split with 475. Make a left on 475 and follow it past the fish hatchery. 1.3 miles from US276, bear right onto FR475B. This is a narrow winding gravel road so use caution. Follow it for 1.1 to a pull off on the right. If coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway turn right onto 475B and follow it 5.5 miles to the pull off on the left. This is the parking area for Slick Rock Falls. There is also parking on the other side of the road above the campsites. You can park in either place.

 Start the hike by walking down into the campsites into the land of the fallen hemlock. It is a mess down here and you’re going to be climbing over and around lots of downfall on this short hike. Once you get to the last of the campsites the trail will lead to the creek. You have to cross here. Immediately to your right after the crossing is a towering rock cliff. Pass in front of this. You will hear the falls on your left. As far as getting a decent look, the trail heads down to the confluence with another creek but there is no view of the falls from here. I managed to find a faint path that led to the base of the largest of the drops. There was a fallen hemlock right across the falls, which intrudes in all of my shots and I’m sure more of them are going to be falling soon enough. Of all the areas I’ve hiked in this part of Pisgah, this is probably the hardest hit by the hemlock blight.

This one isn’t for most. It isn’t that the hike is hard but it’s that the payoff isn’t great. It was cool with the high water but the usual summer dribble on Slick Rock Creek will really make this excursion a waste of time. You’ll probably have the falls to yourself with the exception of the 50 people camping in the sites by FR475B. This could be a very cool place but with fallen trees everywhere. it’s a jumbled mess.

The land of the fallen hemlock – September 2017
High water on Lower Slick Rock Falls – September 2017
But for all the blowdown, a very cool spot – September 2017

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