Accessibility – Medium+
Height – Approx 100′
Distance – 2.0 miles RT(out and back)
Beauty – 3
Photo rating – 1
Solitude – 8
GPS Info: LAT 35.34653 LONG -82.94455
First Visit: 11/22/2020
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Coon Hollow Falls (the name I gave it since I couldn’t find another name for it) isn’t something you come out to see but something you see on your way to seeing other waterfalls. You can include a side trip to it if you’re coming to see Laurie’s Falls, Little Beartrap Falls, it’s neighbor Berry Branch Falls, Middle Prong Falls, Big Beartrap Falls. In the winter you can see the upper sections through the trees. If you bushwhack down the mountain to Middle Prong, you can see the lower drop across the way. If you’re feeling ambitious, which I was not, you can wade Middle Prong and check it out. Since there are a lot of cool things to see in this area, I’m not sure how much time you’ll want to devote to this one.
The Trailhead: Follow NC 215 North 8.4 miles north of the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway. You will see FR97 on the left before the road veers to the right. Make the left and follow FR97. There is a gate at NC215 that is closed more of the year than it’s open. Even if this one is open, there is a second gate at 0.3 of a mile from NC215. If the second gate is closed, it’s a 1.6 mile walk to the trailhead. If the gate is open, continue up FR97. There is a low water bridge not too far past the gate. When I was there it had about 3-4 inches of water coursing over it. After the bridge the road narrows and ascends. At the first right hand switch back there is a trail going into the woods. Continue on FR97. At the nest hard right switchback, there is a trailhead. This one is marked 97H, park here. This is the same TH as Little Beartrap Falls.
The hike: The Haywood Gap Trail enters the woods on a level grade from the outside of the switchback and leads to Little Beartrap Falls in barely 0.1 of a mile. The creek flows over the trail so there is part of the falls above the trail and part of the falls are below. There are a couple of ways down to the base of the falls. You can also climb up from the trail to explore the upper sections which are very nice. I went a little further up the trail past Berry Branch Falls. and located a trail down to the base of that waterfall. Continue past the two small waterfalls. At 0.6 from the TH you will see a trail dropping off the left side of the Haywood Gap Trail. This is the trail to Middle Prong Falls. Continue on the Haywood Gap Trail for another 0.3 of a mile to where the roadbed splits. The route to Big Beartrap Falls goes to the right and the Haywood Gap Trail descends to Middle Prong if you go left. To get to the base of Coon Hollow Falls, walk about twenty paces down the Haywood Gap Trail from the junction, make an immediate left off the trail and head straight down to the creek. There is no trail and in places it is steep. If the leaves are off, you will be able to see where you need to go.
No Pic at this time