354 – Pot Branch Falls

Accessibility – Moderate

Height: Approx 25′ (three sections)

Distance – 0.9 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 5

Photo rating – 2

Solitude – 7

GPS Info: LAT 35.56120 LONG -81.71710

Last updated – 10/24/2018

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Pot Branch Falls is a three-tiered waterfall on Pot Branch in the South Mountains Game Lands, about 20 minutes drive from the more popular High Shoals Falls. I was guess that not long ago, Pot Branch Falls was an amazing setting but on my October 2018 visit there were numerous trees lying on and across the falls making it hard to take any kind of shot of the falls. Between the clutter and an unforgiving sun it forced me to get creative with my camera to try and get a worthwhile shot.

To get to the trailhead make your way to NC226 South if you’re coming from Morganton or NC226 North if you’re coming from SC. We came from High Shoals Falls so we ended up on NC226 a few miles from Jonestown Road. From Morganton, make a left or from SC make a right onto Jonestown Road. After 1 mile, turn left on Melton Road. Half a mile down Melton Road, it splits with Melton Road making a left and Old CC Road continuing straight. Keep straight onto the now gravel Old CC Road. Stay on Old CC Road until it ends at a large parking area before a gate. Along the way you have to ford a creek, which was no problem in my Xterra.

Past the gate and the row of boulders there is a larger open area with gates at both of the corner. You want to pass the gate in the back right corner (heading downhill) and pick up the road beyond. It will head through a wildlife clearing. You are walking the game lands so be aware of what season you’re there. The road will bend to the left and back to the right before you have to cross a fallen hemlock. Beyond the hemlock is a creek crossing. Once across stay with the road until it splits near a smaller creek crossing. Bear to the right and start following Pot Branch downstream. There is another creek crossing just after the split. You will finish the hike on river right (the creek is on your left). The road passes the top of the falls and numerous trails lead down to the upper and lower sections. Some of the trails are steep so use caution.

The way the falls drops in a chasm and the huge potholes make for a great waterfall despite the size. However photographically the tree lying against the falls and the ones from either bank lying across is make taking a picture challenging. Hopefully someone will get in there with a chainsaw and clean things up. Until such a time, this one is going to be hard to photograph without a lot of clutter.

Straight down the falls – October 2018
A downstream shot with one of the trees – October 2018
The upper pothole – October 2018
The lower slide – October 2018




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