656 – Clear Creek Falls

Accessibility – Moderate

Height – 40′

Distance – 1.9 miles RT

Beauty – 5

Photo rating – 5

Solitude – 6

GPS Info: LAT 35.15120 LONG -83.65813

First visit: 09-08-2019

Most Recent Visit: 04-26-2020


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The first time I went to Clear Creek Falls it was incorporated into a family outing on Nantahala Lake. We had rented a boat and armed with fishing poles and tubes we spent a half a day on the water with a slight detour to an isolated cove where I hiked upstream to Clear Creek Falls.

The trailhead we used to hike into Clear Creek Falls is about as far from everything as I have ever had to drive. Most of the drive is on paved roads but the last 4.3 miles are on the gravel portion of Tusquittee Road. The road is steep in places and rough. It also included have to ford two creeks, both of which were deep enough that you wouldn’t want to be driving a low clearance vehicle

Trailhead Directions:  From Clayton GA (yes this drive does venture into GA for a time) take US76 West for 27 miles and make a right onto GA75 (Bell Creek Road). In 3.4 miles. GA75 becomes NC175. Continue straight onto NC175 for another 3.7 miles and make a right onto Cold Branch Road. After 4.4 miles, Cold Branch Road runs into Tusquittee Road. Make a right and take Tusquitte Road 7.2 miles to a pullout on the right just past a gated logging road. The coordinates for the parking area are 35.14654 -83.66795. There is another road cutting right at this point that crosses Stephen’s Branch. Do not block this road.

The Hike: Walk back down Tusquitte Road to the gated road, which will now be on your left and pass the gate. Almost immediately there is a crossing of Stephen’s Creek. This can be made by using a log lying in the creek. The grassy forest road resumes on the other side and begins on a gradual descent toward Nantahala Lake. The road will enter a large open field and the remains of a campsite once you pass the field. We followed the right edge of the field, entered the woods on the other side and headed left to pick up the road again.

Three quarters of a mile into the hike the trail will head to the right and down the hill before curling back to parallel Clear Creek. At nearly 0.9 of a mile from the trailhead you will reach 35.15157 -83.65845, which is where the road keeps going straight, presumably to Nantahala Lake. A worn trail heads down to the right toward the creek and the falls, which you can hear easily at this point. The trail will lead you right to the base of the falls on river left, directly across the plunge pool from where the trail from the lake comes up on river right.

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