504 – John Neal Falls

Accessibility – Moderate+

Height – 60′

Distance – 4.0 (out and back)

Beauty – 6

Photo rating – 6

Solitude – 7

GPS Info: LAT 35.20411 LONG -82.92362

Last Updated – 04-06-2019

Last Updated – 01-07-2023

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John Neal Falls is a 60 foot hith waterfall that can be combined with Double Branch Falls or turned into a loop that combined Bernie’s Falls and Double Branch Falls. I have done the loop twice, but for now, I will give you directions to John Neal Falls. If you want to combine things, you can put that hike together. If you look at a map with the dots on it, you can see the best route from Double Branch Falls to John Neal Falls to Bernies Falls and back to your car.

The Trailhead: To trailhead is on Tanasee Gap Road. To access the trailhead, follow NC215N from the intersection with US64 approximately 8.5 miles to the left turn on Tanasee Gap Road. If you’re coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway the turn will be on the right. FR9999 is 4.55 miles from NC215. There is enough room to park without blocking the gate which is on the opposite side of the road. FR9999 begins after the gate.

The hike: Hike FR9999 past the gate on a slow incline that tops out at a wide area where you would make a left if you were going to The Falls on Double Branch. Stay on FR9999 as it starts heading downhill. At 0.3 from the TH, a steep trail goes left that cuts the swtchback I ignore this trail and stay on the road. It is shorter but it’s really steep. In another 0.1 of a mile, a road turns to the left. This is the one you want, and in another 0.2 you will come to the steep trail dropping down on your left. Make a right and follow the trail down to Parker Creek. It may or may not show on your map, but there is an old road that follows Parker Creek downstream. Less that 0.25 of a mile down Parker Creek, there is a nice waterfall. You can see a picture of the Waterfall on Parker Creek here. It’s not terribly hard to follow, but you will have to climb over some stuff along with making some creek crossings. None of them are difficult, but they aren’t rock hops either.

The road stays close to Parker Creek, which is very scenic, but being this close to the creek, the downfall had created some swampy areas, which are tricky to bypass. I have always ended up on river right what I reach the unnamed tributary where John Neal Falls is located. The trib comes in here 35.20327, -82.92467. Cross Parker Creek and head up the trib on right. It’s only 0.1 of a mile to the base of this hidden gem. Reverse the route to get back.

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