293 – Kalakaleskies Falls

Accessibility – Sketchy

Height – 25′ over 2 drops

Distance – Roadside Scramble

Beauty – 7

Photo rating – 7

Solitude – 3

GPS Info: LAT 35.0670 LONG -83.2249

Last Updated – 08-27-2018


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About the only thing harder than pronouncing the name of this waterfall is scrambling down to the base. The two drops are accessed from two equally challenging descents, one onto slippery moss covered rocks between the upper and lower drop and the other to a profile view of the lower drop with a nearly vertical section to climb down. If you do brave the decent, you will be rewarded with a scenic and powerful waterfall pouring over sculpted rock, forming swirling eddies at the base of the main drop and remaining a churning froth before pouring down the lower slide.

Getting to Kalakaleskies Falls from Highlands is going to take less than five minutes on US64. From the intersection of US64 and NC28 follow US64 West for 1.9 miles to the parking area on the left. This parking area is right at the edge of Lake Sequoyah by Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls, which can be added to this hike since you can descend to the base of this uppermost waterfall before heading downstream. A scramble path descends from the upper edge of the parking area and after climbing over an overflow pipe you can move onto the open rock to view Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls before heading toward the brink of Kalakaleskies Falls.

Climb back over the pipe at the top of the sloping rock and pick up the scramble path leading downstream. Numerous paths head toward the river. The one you want is the one that leads onto the mossy rocks right below the main drop. The spray off the main drop ensures the rocks are slippery. One false step and you’re going to slide off the rock and into the rushing water for a painful journey down the lower section. From the open rock you will have a great view of the falls and a hint of the upper few feet of Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls.

From here, return to the path heading downstream to a perilous descent down a nearly vertical climb to a poor profile view of the lower drop. Nowhere near as sexy as the upper portion, the best view would likely be to bushwhack down to the edge of the collection pool. Sadly on my visit a collection of fallen hemlocks were in the way and time was short. If you omit the lower drop, don’t worry, the upper section is what you need to see.

DSC_16765
The Upper Drop
DSC_16753
The Lower Section

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