Accessibility – Moderate+
Height – 25′
Distance – 2.4 (out and back)
Beauty – 7
Photo rating – 9
Solitude – 9
GPS Info: LAT 35.33374 LONG -82.80611
Last Updated – 09-30-2018
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The waterfall on Cherry Cove can be combined with the waterfall in Bennett Cove to make a nice half day of off-trail exploring. More than a mile of the hike to these two falls is a moderate out and back on FR5032, a grassy logging grade. The next section is along a logging grade in a lesser state of repair followed by two creek sections that are a mix of hiking, wading, bushwhacking and scrambling. That said, this hike might not be for everyone. It is about 1.2 miles to Cherry Cove Falls with detours to several lower falls adding to the distance.
Unlike neighboring Bennett Cove Falls there is no awkward side-hill hiking as you get close to Cherry Cove Falls but there is a very steep final section to get to the base. That said, this is not a hike for everyone. Even with most of the trek along logging roads in various conditions, the final descent is steep and overgrown with a lot of fallen crap to wade over and thru. Like any venture off-trail there is a potential for injury on this hike is you’re not careful.
To get to the parking area on Headwaters Road, take 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.
The hike up FR5032 is undulating but more uphill than down. The road is easy to follow as it makes its way higher. At nearly half a mile from the parking area the road makes a hard right switchback. Maybe 50 feet before the switchback you will see several large boulders on the left side of the road and some discarded branches trimmed by the forest service. I haven’t determined if it is a coincidence that with an entire logging road to toss their crap along, if they chose the access to this overgrown road to keep people out. If this is the case, it didn’t work.
Once you pass the downfall the road is obvious and a worn path leads the way. There are some fallen trees to go over, under and around before you reach the creek draining Bennett Cove. Continue across the creek, following the same trail. After winding along a relatively flat grade it will empty into an open area. Head straight thru and ignore the flagging take heading up and to the right as you near the far side. This only leads to some distant waterfalls high up in Bennett Cove. I’ve been to them so unless you relish a long hike to several distant waterfalls, ignore this road heading up the hill. Enter the woods and not much further you will reach the creek that drains Cherry Cove. Cross it and head up the hill on the the far side. As you near the crest of the hill, you will see a path on the right that continues climbing. This is part of an overgrown logging road that will lead you most of the way to the falls.
The trail ascends steeply at first and makes a couple close passes to the edge of a steep drop before arriving at a split. To the right an obvious trail descends toward the creek. Through the downfall to the left another road ascends. Take the left fork and follow the road higher. It places it is wide open and in others you have to push through fallen branches and weeds. Considering the out of the way locale, its amazing the trail is in as good a shape as it is. I don’t have a distance for you but you will hear a waterfall before long but stay with the road until it makes a hard left switchback. At this point, head down the grade toward the waterfall. You will see hints of it through the trees and as you get close you will pick out the way down. Unlike many of these low volume waterfall in out of the way locales, this one isn’t terribly cluttered and there is a lot of room at the base to take pictures. I took some from downstream and a few in profile bu climbing up the river left-side of the falls.
The water was good since it was raining and this drew out the color in the rocks, helping to paint an amazing setting. Expect to have this one to yourself.