301 – Scotsman Falls

Accessibility – Medium+

Height – 50′ freefall + stepped cascades

Distance – 0.2 – Scramble

Beauty – 8

Photo rating – 5

Solitude – 6

GPS Info: LAT 35.01668 LONG -83.1121

Last Updated – 09-01-2018

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Scotsman Falls is a 50 foot high waterfall on Scotsman creek. The upper section of the falls is a freefall and the lower part is a stepped cascade down colorful rock. The open rock area on the river right side of the falls wraps around and heads downstream creating a great place to take pictures and hang out. The hike is steep and the last little bit is over exposed rock, which may make some uneasy. Unlike a lot of trick rock areas, the reward for passing this one is a great waterfall.

To get to the pullout from the Highlands, take Horse Cove Road from the middle of town where US64 turns left to head to Cashiers. If you continue straight onto this extension of Main Street it will lead to Horse Cove Road which switches back down the mountain and into Horse Cove. At 3.7 miles from the traffic light you will pass Walkingstick Road on the right. At 4.55 miles Horse Cove Road reaches a fork. The paved Whiteside Cove Road goes straight and the unpaved Bull Pen Road make a right. Turn onto Bull Pen Road. At 2 miles the road goes from gravel to paved and at 3 miles you reach the bridge over the Chatooga River and Potholes Falls. Cross the river and 1.1 miles from the crossing look for a wide area on the outside of the hard left hand turn. If you get to the hard right switchback by a campsite, you went to far.

If you’re coming from Cashiers, follow Bull Pen Road from NC107 for just over 4 miles. The road will make a hard left switchback at a campsite and cross over Scotsman Creek, leaving the creek on your left. At the right hand bend, there is a large pull out. Park in the pullout and scan the edge of the area.

A trail descends from the end of the pullout closest to the Chatooga River Bridge. The upper section of the trail is steep but easily managed and before you’re too far into the scramble you’ll hear the falls. The trail will eventually get steeper and leave you at a sketchy rock area that you have to negotiate to get out of the woods. Take your time here. I swung to the right and then back to the left to avoid a wet section of rock. Once past this I was able to make my way onto the open rock. It provided a path downstream to take in this amazing waterfall. There is a lot of rock to explore on both sides of the creek as well as downstream where a huge boulder is in the middle of the creek.

The upper freefall was split by a large rock on my visit and this added to the unique setting. Sadly the clouds wouldn’t cooperate and I was forced to shoot in the sunlight. Not to worry, this isn’t my last visit to Scotsman Falls.

The split freefall at Scotsman Falls – September 2018
A white puffy cloud graced this shot – September 2018

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