455 – Elk River Falls

Accessibility – Easy+

Height – 45′

Distance – 0.2 (out and back)

Beauty – 8

Photo rating – 9

Solitude – 4

GPS Info: LAT 36.19928 LONG -81.96899

Last Updated – 03-10-2019

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Elk River Falls is single drop waterfall just under fifty feet high with a huge pool at the base and an angled rock below the pool you can walk out on to enjoy the view. Above the falls the river is wide but at the top of the falls the cliffs close in and squeeze the river into a narrow opening. I got more of a feeling of power at this waterfall than most due to the amount of water and the force. It’s a touch on the touristy side for my liking but it is a stop you don’t want to miss.

To get to the trailhead, take US19E 0.75 miles from the intersection with NC194 and make a right onto Elk Park Rd. Almost immediately you need to make a left onto Old Mill Road. Take Old Mill Road to Elk River Road and make a right. Elk River Road ends at a turn around at the trailhead after four miles.

The trail is at the end of Elk River Road and obvious. It crosses a small tributary before it gets to the top of the falls, where a large rock juts out into the river. People go out onto the rock but I didn’t see a need and there was a photoshoot going on. I’ve never been a fan of the view from the top of waterfalls. The trail heads to the left and down, using a series of steps to get you to the base of the falls. A huge slab of sloping rock extends into the river. Walk out onto this rock to get the best view of the falls.

Elk River Falls – March 2019


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