Accessibility – Medium
Height – 20′
Distance – Trail and scramble
Beauty – 6
Photo rating – 7
Solitude – 8
GPS Info: LAT 35.0206 LONG -83.1639
Last Updated – 09-01-2018
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Stick Falls is the first of three waterfall on this hike. Two, Stick and Lower Stick Falls are on Big Creek, while Slick Stick Falls is on Little Creek upstream from where Little Creek merges into Big Creek below Lower Stick Falls. The hike to the three falls is accessed from the same roadside trailhead on Walkingstick Road in the Horse Cove. It can be access from either Highlands or Cashiers, both of which lie at opposite ends of Horse Cove Road.
Coming from Cashiers, take NC107 South from the intersection with US64 in the middle of town for 1.6 miles and make a right onto Whiteside Cove Road. Follow Whiteside Cove Road 9 miles and make a left onto the unpaved Walkingstick road. The trailhead is 1.7 miles down Walkingstick Road at a wide pull out on the right. Coming from HIghlands, take US64 East into the middle of town. When US64 turns left at the traffic light, keep going straight onto Horse Cove Road. Horse Cove Road will switchback down the mountain into Horse Cove. Walkingstick Road is 3.7 miles from the middle of town on the right. The trailhead is 1.7 miles down on the right.
From the middle of the parking area, a faint path leads down the ridge on a moderate slope. It is overgrown in places but easy enough to follow. Even if it weren’t the woods are open enough if you lose the path. The trail I took led to an old logging grade and went across but I made a left onto the old grade and followed it downstream to an easier place to descent. It was at the point where a lot of downfall blocked the logging road. The trail on this side is steeper and it’s going to steer you away from the falls to avoid a high cliff. The trail skirts the cliff and then passes below it before resuming the plunge to the creek. This section is steeper and as you approach the creek you will have to make your way into a side channel and follow that down to the base of the fall. It’s an easy walk across the shallow creek to an open rock area great for taking pictures.
At about 22 feet high, Slick Falls drops over different sections rock, splashing into potholes and cascading in different directions. The rock is pitted and colorful, with a lot of orange. For what it’s worth, the orange rock is extremely slippery while the other rocks are not as bad. Keep this in mind if you’re heading down to Lower Stick Falls. The total hike is barely 0.2 one way but with the scrambling and creek-crossing, it might present issues for those accusomted to hiking in DuPont. If you’re thinking about taking on Lower Stick Falls, take this link.