631 – Kuykendall Falls

Accessibility – Moderate+

Height – 35-40′

Distance – 9.6 (out and back)

Beauty – 8

Photo rating – 5

Solitude – 10

GPS Info: LAT 35.24443 LONG -82.78788

Last Updated – 08-09-2019

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Kuykendall Falls is a single drop 35 foot high waterfall in Pisgah Forest not too far from Cathey’s Creek Falls. The access is via a long logging road hike and a short but steep descent through mostly open forest. Due to the long hike, this one might not be for everyone and although the woods at the drop point are open, they are steep and you do need to use caution as you pick your way down to the creek.

Getting to the trailhead: You can come at this one from either direction on FR471. From downtown Brevard follow US 64 about 3.5 miles and turn right at the Kuykendall Group Camp sign. Make an immediately left on to Catheys Creek Rd (FR 471). It’s a scenic 3.6 mile bumpy drive to where FR5361 intersects on the right. You can pull up FR5361 a short distance and park so as not to block the gate. Coming from the other direction, follow US 276 5.3 miles from the intersection of US64/NC280/US276 in Brevard to the intersection with FR475. Bear left on FR475 and follow it for 6.0 miles to FR471. The drive down FR471 is a shade under 4.5 miles before you reach FR5361 on the left.

Begin the hike by walking past the gate, following FR5361 on a gentle ascent. Most of the hike in is going to be uphill but the elevation change is minimal and it is not consistently up or down. At 0.2 of a mile the road is going to swing left around a ridge and head up along Kagle Branch, which you will likely hear but not see down to the right. The road crosses the branch as it swings right and heads downstream on the other side of the drainage. As the road comes out of the Kagle Creek drainage you are less than 1000 feet from Cathey’s Creek Falls.

The road will now began a long trek around Kagle Mountain, crossing a small creek in Walnut Cove 2.5 miles from the trailhead and then crossing a small drainage in Rich Cove about 0.75 of a mile later. The road will be mostly open as you hike it with the only exception being some wildlife clearings where the weeds are 6 feet high. The long route around Kagle mountain continues past Rich Cove for another 1.4 miles before you reach the place where you’re going to leave the trail. There are no landmarks I can provide as far as “the place.” It is 4.6 miles from where I started my track. The GPS, give or take a few feet is, 35.24307, -82.78955. The hillside is wide open with the exception of some low ferns.

The way down is steep in places but if you use some sense you will make it down to the creek without getting lost or hurt. The falls is 800 feet from where we left the road. You do want to come out below the falls since the cliffs near the falls will present a problem if you head too far upstream. The creek below the falls was open in the water flow was such that we were able to reach the falls without getting our feet wet.

About the worst of this one is the climb back up the ridge to the road. The distance may be intimidating to some but it’s more boring than anything and I was thankful to have some friends to talk to in order to pass the time. We hiked at a decent pace and including photo time at the falls we did this one in under 4.5 hours. The portion that is off-trail may be intimidating to some but if you know how to read the land and avoid the really steep sections. the openness of the woods makes this one of the easier off-trail hikes I’ve done. As long as you keep heading downhill you will reach the creek. It’s just a question of how far downstream will you end up. If you listen to the falls, it will keep you on track and limit how much walking up the creek you will have to do. The banks right at the creek are steep so you will have to look for the best place to climb down. There are some faint paths running here and there which can help as well.

Kuykenfall Falls – August 2019
The sun wasn’t my friend on this day – August 2019
The very colorful rocks below the main drop – August 2019

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