729 – Powerline Falls

Accessibility – Difficult

Height – 70′

Distance – 4.0 miles RT (out and back)

Beauty – 6

Photo rating – 5

Solitude – 8

GPS Info: LAT 35.33222 LONG -82.76796

First Visit: 12/11/2020

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Powerline Falls isn’t something you’re just going to decide to go see one day, at least on its own. If you add it to Avery Creek Falls and Upper Avery Creek Falls you can justify the hike since it is not far above Upper Avery Creek Falls. The waterfall is easily 70 feet high over 4 drops but only the top two can be seen in a picture since they are spread out. The upper drop is really nice not for someone just casually out to see a waterfall, getting to it will sour the view. The terrain close to the upper drop is really steep and you have to cross the creek just above the next drop. Please know what you’re getting into if you come looking for this one.

The Trailhead: From the confluence of US64/NC280/US276 in Brevard, take US276 North for 2.1 miles to FR477 (Avery Creek Road) and make a right. FR477 is easy to find since there is a sign for the Pisgah Riding Stables. FR447 is a gravel road with pullouts to allow two-way traffic. It is also gated at certain times of the year so check in at the ranger station before making the drive. If the road is gated at the bridge by the stables, it’s going to add about 1.5-2.0 miles round trip to the hike. If the road is open, follow FR477 just under 2.75 to the parking area for the Buckhorn Gap Trail. You could do this from the Avery Creek TH as well.

The hike: From the parking area, start down a moderate grade following the orange blazes signifying the Buckhorn Gap Trail. Almost from the start the trail will parallel Avery Creek. The trail is graded and easily hiked. About 10-15 minutes from the trailhead you will see and hear the Avery Creek Falls on the right. There is a scramble path down to the base which is steep in places. At 0.9 of a mile from the parking area the Avery Creek Trail joins the Buckhorn Gap Trail. The two run together for a time. After one creek crossing and a set of natural steps the trails split at a log bridge over the creek. The Buckhorn Gap Trail crosses and heads to Twin Falls. Remain on the blue-blazed Avery Creek Trail. The trail will narrow while paralleling the creek upstream but it never wanders far from it. The segment from the split to the scramble path for Upper Avery Creek Falls is 0.6 of a mile but it isn’t until after the fifth trib (about 0.1 from the scramble path to Upper Avery that the trail will ascend steeply.

To get to Powerline Falls, keep climbing the trail, taking it past the top of Upper Avery Creek Falls. Beyond the top of the falls, the trail will cross Avery Creek. After the crossing, you have to start looking for the tributary on the river left side of Avery Creek. In August it was impossible to find it was so thick in there but on our trip in December we spotted the trib and after some careful scanning, we could actually see the falls! To get to the falls, you want to approach on the River Right side of the trib, which does not show on the topo map. The hillside gets steep so you don’t want to get too high up. If you get lucky like we did, you will end up on a very eroded logging road that will take you right to the crossing of the creek. The road continues on the other side and was the way I came into the falls. You really don’t want to make your approach on river left like I did.

Like I said, probably not worth the effort but if you did make it to this one, congrats!