331 – Twin Boulder Falls

Accessibility – Difficult

Height: Approx 75′

Distance – 5.9 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 9

Photo rating – 9

Solitude – 8

GPS Info: LAT 35.30924 LONG -82.85092 (GPS to boulder on the hillside)

Last updated – 10/17/2018


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While this isn’t an easy hike due to the length, several creek crossings and a stretch of sidehill hiking close to the falls, it is one I found incredibly rewarding. For the second weekend in a row I was left amazed by a waterfall in the middle of Pisgah that none of the tourists would ever find. The round trip on this one was close to six miles with most of it on the Daniel Ridge Trail followed by a short stint on the Farlow Gap Trail. My plan in November had been to do this one and Shuck Ridge Creek on the same hike but I ran out of light and had to call it. The grade is modest for the most part with the only hard uphill climb being to reach the boulder on the opposing hillside where I took my pics. You could omit this part and walk up the creek to the base but after seeing the view from the ridge, I didn’t even bother going to the base.

To get to the trailhead, from the intersection of US64/US276/NC280 in Brevard, follow US276 5.3 miles to the split with FR475. Make the left onto FR475 and follow it 3.9 miles, past the point where the pavement ends and the gravel road begins. Just after a narrow bridge crossing you will some to a dirt parking lot on the right side. This is the same starting point as Tom Springs Falls. This spot is popular with mountain bikers so the lot fills up early. This is also the parking area for numerous campsites so don’t be surprised if you’re parking on the side if FR475.

The hike starts beyond the gate heading up the hill from the end of the parking area. The road ascends to the bridge over the Davidson River and comes to a Y. Tom Springs Falls is to the right and marked with a sign that says FALLS. Make a left onto FR137. This is the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail (Red Blaze). You will pass by campsites on the left and remnants of the old fish hatchery. When the trail forks, keep to the right, ascending moderately. In time the Daniel Ridge Trail will pass the site of an old bridge. Stone supports still flank the creek but the structure is long gone. The grade increases at this point and not far from the bridge you will hear falling water on the left. If you elect to take a short scramble down to check it out, this is what you will see. It isn’t a named falls but it is very pretty and worth a peek. Three-quarters a mile from the bridge the trail will split. The Daniel Ridge Loop Trail goes right. Go straight as the hike shifts to the Farlow Gap Trail (Blue Blaze). After the split the trail descends to a crossing of Right Fork.

Once across the trail begins up the ridge through The next section is the steep ascent through the switchbacks. To get to Twin Boulder Falls, when the trail makes a second hard left switchback, leave the trail and continue on the less defined trail that starts at the outside of the swicthback. If you miss the second switchback you can take a trail from the outside of the third switchback (which is right before you go p the steps.) If you miss this trail, you’re going to Shuck Ridge Creek Falls. The trail from the second swicthback follows a level course to a drainage and a trail heading up the far side of the drainage to a logging grade. If you leave the trail at the third switchback you have to climb down a hill and then back up.

The grade parallels the creek passing several cascades before feeding you toward the creek for a crossing of Right Fork. You can pick you crossing point and as you do, take in all of the railroad rails and cables scattered about. There are a lot of them. Once across the trail heads away from Right Fork, crosses Lanning Branch and then comes back to Right Fork and begins paralleling the creek from a trail on the side of the hill. It is narrow it places and high enough that a slip and fall is going to hurt. There are some fallen trees to contend with before the trail meets up with the creek. U went across, picked up a trail on the far side and went up the steep ridge until I spotted the rock across from the falls. The only way to it is to side-hill the slope but the view is the best.

The waterfall is 75 feet high, plunging down a vertical rockface inside a narrow chute with a large tree trunk jammed in it. Usually I’m not a fan of dead trees on my waterfalls but on Twin Boulder Falls I like it. The high cliffs flanking the falls and the thick foliage on the top and growing from the rocks adds to the setting. The other nice thing about the higher vantage is it helps to minimize all the downfall at the base. This is not a terribly kid-friendly hike and not for the casual hiker. If you like a touch of adventure and a great waterfall, this is one to think about.

DSC_17440
A wide view of the falls – October 2018
DSC_17432
Twin Boulder Falls – October 2018

 

 

 

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