Accessibility – Moderate
Height – 80′ (but you can’t see it all in one place)
Distance – 1.2 miles (out and back)
Beauty – 4
Photo rating – 3
Solitude – 4
GPS Info: LAT 35.09967 LONG -82.660961
Last Updated – 02-07-2019
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Misty Falls is a nearly 100 foot waterfall on a low flow creek draining the mountainside both above and below US276 as the highway climbs to the Caesars Head State Park visitor center. Accessing a view of the falls is done via logging road and moderate bushwhack but if you want to get to the base it will require some tricky scrambling. Probably the best view of the falls is from the bank on river right. It is steep but from the base the upper sections are barely visible. Combined with the nearby Evans Falls, this is a nice adventure for someone looking for a bit more challenge than following a blazed trail. This is an off-trail hike and there are some steep places, especially when trying to get a shot of the falls so keep this in mind.
To get to the trailhead from NC and points North pick your best approach to reach the Caesars Head Visitor Center on US276. If you continue 2.2 miles South on US276 there is a large pullout on the right just before the road enters a tight left hand turn. If you’re coming up from SC. the pullout is on the left 5.0 miles from the split with US276 and SC11. There is a logging road on the right on the inside of the sharp turn below the parking area, which is the start of the trail.
From the parking area, hike down US276 and cross to the highway to the inside of the sharp turn where the logging road heads down. It will descend to an open area at a gate where an old kiosk stands. Pass the gate and continue on the logging road. If you want an idea of the water flow at Misty Falls, the creek is below the grade on the left. On my visit it wasn’t exactly raging. If you parked on the side of US276 about 0.25 of a mile from the pullout the logging road will begin a sharp right turn around a narrow ridge spine. This is where you want to leave the road. The GSP coordinates to leave the road are 35.09916, -82.61030. It is the only place that is overgrown with laurel that you will have to push through until the woods open up.
The ridge spine isn’t very wide but you want to use it to get below the falls. The slopes on either side are exceptionally steep, while the spine is more moderately graded, although when you’re climbing back up you will be breathing heavy. Misty Falls is audible as you come down the ridge and with the leaves off it won’t be long before you can see it on your left. As far as pictures, you will have to pick the best place to venture out onto the steep hillside. If you want to include the uppermost parts, you will have to side-hill to get into place. As far as reaching the base, I passed below the falls a little ways until the bank moderated before venturing down. The point where I went down the ridge was 35.09947, -82.60862 but you will need to use your judgment. The further downstream you go the shallower the descent.
Overall the hike isn’t difficult but you can make it difficult it you don’t follow the contour of the land or you try and descend in the wrong place. This isn’t one for the whole family but for someone seeking a challenge, it is worth the effort. To get out, return to the ridge spine and follow it to the logging road. If you want to continue to Evans Falls, click HERE.