609 – Fisher Falls

Accessibility – Hard

Height – 35′

Distance – 2.2 (out and back)

Beauty – 6

Photo rating – 7

Solitude – 7

GPS Info: LAT 35.43010 LONG -83.18318

Last Updated – 07-30-2019


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Fisher Falls is one of two waterfalls in Pinnacle Park just outside of Sylva NC. Both of the falls are accessed from the same trailhead and can be combined on the same hike to save a little distance but not much. If you are going to do both, I recommend hiking to Gina Falls first since it is the more exhausting of the two and hitting Fisher Falls on the way back.

Reaching the trailhead: From US74, The Great Smoky Mountain Expressway, exit onto Steeple Rd. This is on the right if you’re heading West or on the left if you’re heading East. There is an Exxon on top of the hill where you turn. In 0.2 of a mile on Steeple Rd at the T, make a left onto Skyland Drive. Remain on Skyland Drive for 0.5 of a mile and make a right onto Fisher Creek Road. Follow Fisher Creek road for 2.1 miles to the parking area at the kiosk. At 2.0 miles the pavement ends and the last 0.1 is on gravel.

In order to hike in Pinnacle Park you do need to fill out a registration card at the kiosk and the area is under video surveillance . I have no idea if they come and track you down if you don’t fill out a registration card but I didn’t want to find out. The parking area was pretty full on my visit but I got the impression from the lack of a trail to either of these falls that no one really goes to them. There are numerous hikes and distances posted at the trailhead but nothing about either waterfall.

Start hiking the West Fork Trail beyond the gate on an uphill track. The initial section is rocky at steep as you climb to the junction with the East Fork Trail which is at 0.3 of a mile from the trailhead. Make a right onto the East Fork Trail and follow it around the ridge into the next drainage. As you come around the ridge the trail is going to start climbing steeply for a time before leveling off. The steep section is open but as the path becomes a trail not a road it is overgrown and in places you will have to push your way through. You are going to follow the East Fork Trail for 0.75 of a mile. A good indicator of where to leave the trail will be coming upon a series of trees that have fallen across the trail. You have to climb over about five or six of them as the trail heads straight up the hill. Once over the trees you will reach the top of the ridge and you’ll see the falls on the right.

There was a faint path heading down to the base that I followed for part of the way before losing interest in the meandering path and opting to plunge down to the creek. I took the trail on the way back. It ends at a fallen tree on river right and once you get over the root ball you can climb through the rhodos in the creek bed to the base of the falls.

FWIW, I thought that Fisher was the nicer of the two falls.

DSC_22534
Fisher Falls tumbling through the forest – July 2019
DSC_22539
A wider view of Fisher Falls – July 2019

 

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