571 – Lower Bearwallow Falls

Accessibility – Moderate

Height: Approx 35′

Distance – 3.4 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 10

Photo rating – 8

Solitude – 10

GPS Info: LAT 35.07945 LONG -82.90462

Last Updated: 06-30-2019


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WARNING: To get to the trailhead on Chestnut Mountain Road requires a 4X4 as anything less will never make it back out. The final section of the road down to the meeting with Auger Hole trail is about as steep as a road can be when going up the side of the mountain.

To reach the trailhead, follow the road to the Rainbow Falls parking area in Gorges State park. This is at the end of Grassy Creek Road, which is the main road into the park. If you come in off NC281, follow the road until you see the visitor’s center and make a left and an immediate right. Follow this paved toad until it ends at the Rainbow Falls Parking area. At the upper end of the road, the unpaved Chestnut Mountain Road heads up into the woods. Click it into four wheel drive and head in. Auger Hole Trail is 3.3 miles down Chestnut Mountain Road. There is a wide area past the intersection where you can park.

Chestnut Mountain Road continues straight and the ungated Auger Hole Road goes past a sign for the Toxaway Gamelands. You want the gated Auger Hole Trail, which is left when you’re coming down the hill to the parking area. The road descends moderately for about 1.4 miles to where it swings around a narrow ridge. The GSP for this spot is 35.07977, -82.90669. If you look closely you will see a faint path leading along the mid-line of the narrow ridge. Follow the knife ridge for just under a tenth of a mile to where another path plunges off the left side of the ridge. It is a steep jaunt down the side of the hill but it is less than 0.1 of a mile before you arrive at the base of the falls.

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