507 – Hidden Dome Falls

Accessibility – Hard

Height – 100′ (maybe more)

Distance – 5.4 (out and back)

Beauty – 4

Photo rating – 1

Solitude – 10

GPS Info: LAT 35.05603 LONG -82.99384

Last Visited – 04-07-2019

Last Updated – 01-07-2023

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Hidden Dome Falls is a high waterfall on a low volume creek that is difficult to access. The hike isn’t long at under 5.5 miles round trip but the bushwhack close to the falls is awful and while the thing is really tall, it’s just not very impressive.

The trailhead for Hidden Dome is on NC281 3.6 miles south of the intersection with US64. If you’re coming from Lake Toxaway, start looking for Brewer Rd on the left 3.5 miles after turning onto NC281. Coming from SC or Whitewater Falls, the parking area is 0.1 of a mile past pullout for White Owl Falls. This is the same trailhead for Big Falls, Rich Falls, Simon Falls, Standing Stone Falls and Reid Branch Falls.

The trailhead is right at the intersection where the logging grade meets Brewer Rd and NC281. The hike begins by heading up hill past the gate as the trail turns slightly left. This is only a brief ascent and as it levels off you can hear White Owl Falls to the right. The trail soon moderates before beginning into a long downhill slope. The grade is modest but continually descending. This will be more obvious on the slog back to the car! The logging grade is easy to follow with no major hurdles to clear. At 0.90 of a mile from the trailhead, a trail heads to the left. This leads to Reid Branch Falls. Keep going straight. At 1.0 miles a trail intersects from the right. This leads to High Falls. Stay on the logging grade. There is a crossing of the Thompson River at 1.2 miles. In high water, this one is is no-no. In another 0.40 tenths of a mile you will see an overgrown road climbing to the right. This is the one you want. The intersection is at this point 35.06318, -82.98833.

The hike has been pretty tame thus far, but things are about to get gnarly. The overgrown road climbs steadily for 0.6 of a mile and just ends. We picked up a piece of road that went a little further, but it also peters out. You are about 0.25 of a mile from the falls. Before the road ended, it was curving into the drainage you want. Now it’s all about following thet same line toward the falls. As long as you have a pin with the location of the falls, you will get there, but I can’t give you much more help. It’s a bushwhack.

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