Accessibility – Moderate+
Height – 15′ creek-wide sliding rocks
Distance – 4.0 miles out and back (all 3 falls)
Beauty – 3
Photo rating – 2
Solitude – 10
GPS Info: LAT 35.3390 LONG -82.8053
Last Updated – 08-27-2018
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Above Bennett Cove Falls, a trio of unique waterfalls are located at higher elevations, the uppermost of which requires a short, steep scramble off the left side of the logging grade that leads upstream to where two creeks merge. This upper waterfall is hemmed in by rhodos and downfall clogs the base. Maybe 15 feet high, this final waterfall is the last drop we found on our upstream journey that began between Cherry Cove and Bennett Cove. Along the way you will pass the Lower Waterfall in Upper Bennett Cove and The Middle Waterfall in Upper Bennett Cove.
The waterfalls in Upper Bennett Cove really aren’t for everyone. While they aren’t terribly difficult to reach, it is a long hike to an out of the way place. On the plus side, you will visit three waterfalls most have not seen. The hike follows a maintained logging road and then two overgrown logging grades as it ascends toward the Parkway. The hike doesn’t involve any bushwhacking or creek walking so it grades out a slightly more than moderate. The chances of getting lost are slim but when following unmarked trails, this is always a concern.
To get reach the parking area on Headwaters Road, toke US276 North from the intersection of US64/NC280/US276 in Brevard, follow US276 10.3 miles to the turn for FR475B (Headwaters Road) on the left. From the Blue Right Parkway the right turn to FR475B is about 4.7 miles. At certain times of the year FR475B is gated but that won’t matter for this hike since the parking area is before the gate. After leaving US276. FR475B ascends to an open area with a large pullout on the left and logging road heading to the right. Park here. The hike begins across FR475B on the gated FR5032..
Pass the gate and follow the FR5032. The grade is undulating but more uphill than down. The road is easy to follow as it makes its way higher and thankfully on my August 2018 visit it had been recently mowed. At nearly half a mile from the parking area the road makes a hard right switchback up the hill toward No-Name Cove. Approximately 50 feet before the switchback you will see several large boulders on the left side of the road. They are covered in moss and downfall. These were likely placed here to prevent vehicle access many years ago. Once you get past the boulders, the road is easy to follow.
The overgrown road intersects the creek flowing out of Bennett Cove about a quarter of a mile from FR5032. It’s the first creek crossing you come to and if you were to follow the creek upstream, you would come to the Bennett Cove Falls. From here you have to pay attention. Cross the creek and head toward Cherry Cove, the next drainage South of Bennett Cove. The obvious logging grade will enter an open area where low ground cover fans out. The road splits, with the road to Upper Bennett Cove heading to the right. Several trees were marked with flagging tape but it was badly faded. The grade will become more apparent as it ascends the ridge. Several fallen trees pose obstacles before the grade swings left around a ridge. Even in the thick summer vegetation you can see the creek in Bennett Cove down below.
As the trail straightens out and heads uphill, a faint side path will descend toward the sound of falling water. This is the Lower Waterfall in Upper Bennett Cove. The path is easy enough to follow and the sound will guide you to the base. Once past this trail the will get muddy and ascend more steeply as it rises to meet the creek as it meanders down the cove. The grade eventually meets the creek and crosses to river left. After the crossing you can look upstream and see the Middle Waterfall in Upper Bennett Cove. To get to it, follow the grade upstream before making your way down the slope to the creek. The area is littered with downfall but once to the falls there is room to move in the creek.
The grade will rise past the middle falls as it ascends toward a large flat plain where two creeks come together in the upper reaches of Bennett Cove. I explored up as far as the merger of the two creeks but not any further so there could be more to see at higher altitude. The Upper Falls is right at the edge of the flat area and accessed from a steep side path that drops off the left side of the logging grade. There isn’t a lot of room in front of the falls.
For most this hike is a long way to go for nothing incredible. I like to explore so this was fun for me. That said, I don’t know that I need to go back any time soon. If you undertake this hike, be careful. If you got hurt up here, no one would ever find you.
The Uppermost waterfall I found in Upper Bennett Cove – August 2018