Accessibility – Roadside+
Height – 30′
Distance – Roadside (or creek wade)
Beauty – 5
Photo rating – 5
Solitude – 1
GPS Info: LAT 35.09615 LONG -83.85853
Last Updated – 02-02-2019
Leaterwood Falls is a nice thirty foot waterfall at the end of Leatherwood Branch where it flows into Fires Creek just outside of Hayesville. The falls drops over a rock ledge and disappears behind a huge boulder before cascading out the side and racing into Fires Creek. Technically the waterfall is roadside since you can see it from the parking lot and picnic area across Fires Creek. The only problem there is the view is not the best. If you want a better view you will have to get your feet wet unless Fires Creek is really low.
To reach Leatherwood Falls from the intersection of US64 and NC69 in Hayesville (There is a Walgreens on the corner), head west on US64 4.75 miles and make a right onto Fires Creek Road. There is a Nantahala Forest Sign at the intersection. In 3.8 miles turn left onto Fires Creek Wildlife Road. The picnic area where you want to park is 1.9 miles ahead on the left hand side.
The picnic area is at the upper end of the parking lot but the view from there is pretty bad. As far as crossing the creek, that’s up to you. There was a tree lying across the creek that I used for part of my crossing. The water was at most knee deep in places but it was moving swiftly and it was cold, especially for hiking in February. If you’re up for making the crossing, it is worth it. If you just want to say you’ve seen it, don’t bother. As you can see below in the picture my friend Tracy took, getting a decent shot required a barefoot creek crossing. You can also see the view of the waterfall from the picnic area and my reason for taking to the creek first thing in the morning.