Accessibility – Moderate+
Height – 60′
Distance – 3.60 miles (out and back)
Beauty – 7
Photo rating – 5
Solitude – 5
GPS Info: LAT 35.20008 LONG -82.58007
First Visit: 09-29-2019
Secret Falls, like most everything in DuPont State Forest is anything but a secret but it is a nice waterfall and not nearly as crowded as many of the other destinations int he park. One of the things that prevents if from being a secret is the fact it is right alongside a trail and easily accessed. It is marked on mapping services. Getting to the falls isn’t overly complicated.
Trailhead Directions: To reach the Guion Farm parking area take Crab Creek Road off of US64 between Brevard and Hendersonville. If you’re coming from Brevard you’ll be making a right, from Hendersonville a left. Proceed down Crab Creek Rd 4.2 miles and make a right onto DuPont Road. After 0.7 of a mile, make a left onto Sky Valley Road. Follow Sky Valley starts out paved but changes to gravel. You will stay on it a total of 1.5 miles to the Guion Farm parking area on the right. This large lot primarily used for equestrian purposes so in the warmer months there will be a lot of horse trailers.
The hike will begin on the Tarklin Branch Trail. The trailhead is in the back left corner of the lot when viewed from the entrance. There is a kiosk close to the start of the trail and a row of boulders to keep vehicles out. The trail heads across the open field and on the far side enters the woods following a gravel road. It will turn to the right as it follows the undulations of the land. Just over a half a mile from the start the trail will split. The road will wind to the right while a narrower trail will continue straight. There are two boulders marking the entrance to the trail. The trail isn’t marked. You can go either way. The road goes out and around a ridge while the trail goes up and over. Following the road is the longer way but it is an easier hike.
The trail rejoins the road beyond the ridge as it begins down a grade. Approximately 0.3 of a mile from this point the road intersects the Wintergreen Trail. Make the left onto this road and follow the Wintergreen Falls Trail. The Sandy Creek Trail intersects along the way and branches to the right Remain on the Wintergreen Falls Trail. One tenth of a mile past the Sandy Creek trail the Wintergreen Trail splits again. A narrow trail goes to the right and a wider, steeper trail heads up the ridge to the left. You want to head up to the left
The trail will ascend the ridge and flatten out some as it winds above Wintergreen Falls. You can easily hear the falls off to the right as you pass above it. The trail is easy to follow but it is winding and narrow. From the split below Wintergreen Falls to the side trail down to Secret Falls is just over half a mile. The trail down is steep and the last few feet are exceedingly so. There is a large sandy beach below the falls and a pool in front of the stepped waterfall. Depending on what you thought of the hike you could return to the Wintergreen Trail and hike it upstream to Sky Valley Road and hike the road back to the parking lot. I have not gone this way and I don’t know is this route crosses private property.
On my visit we did encounter a hike who came down from the top of the falls just after we arrived. We also encountered a group of high school girls who parked on Sky Valley Road and hiked to the falls from the top. I know nothing about this map but what I see on the topo. If you come in from the top, do your research. if you pair this up with Wintergreen falls it would make for a nice half day hike.