778 – Catamount Falls

Accessibility – Moderate+

Height – 35′-40′

Distance – 5.6 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 9

Photo rating – 8

Solitude – 8

GPS Info: LAT 35.35158 LONG -83.08809

First visit: 02-05-2021

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Catamount Falls is a 40 foot high, single drop waterfall on the East Fork of Moses Creek. It is approximately a mile upstream from the confluence of the east and west forks of the creek. The first 1.5 miles of the hike mirror the hike to Moses Creel Falls but when the side path heads up the western branch, the hike continues on the old road following the eastern branch.

The Trailhead: To get to the trailhead from US74, exit the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway at Exit 85 and make a slight left onto Beta Circle Rd/Steeple Rd. Follow Beta Circle Road and make an almost immediate left onto Cope Creek Road. Remain on Cope Creek Road for 2.3 miles until it dead-ends into NC107 just North of Western Carolina University. Take NC107 South for 8.4 miles and make a left onto Caney Fork Road. For most of the falls in this area, Caney Fork Road will get you to the trailhead. At 1.9 miles make a left onto Moses Creek Road. The trailhead is 2.5 miles down Moses Creek Road where it makes a hard left switchback. Park on the outside of the curve. Note: while Moses Creek Road starts out as paved the final half mile is dirt. If you go in the winter, the road is gated where it splits. You can take the left fork and park by the campsite and hike the river right side of Moses Creek or walk the road on river left to the TH.

The hike follows an overgrown logging road that terminates on the outside of the curve where you parked. There are a couple of mounds to climb over but otherwise the route is easy to determine. The path will remain on river left (the creek is on your left) for 0.4 of a mile before it’s time to cross. If you hiked from the campsite, remain on the lower road out of the site, not the obvious one that heads up the hill unless you want to add some extra elevation to the hike. Starting at the campsite, it is 0.6 of a mile until you reach the point where the trail crosses from the other side. At 1.2 miles from the trailhead (0.8 from the creek crossing) and 1.4 miles from the campsite, the trail will reach the West Fork of Moses Creek. This will likely be a get your feet wet opportunity since it is rarely low enough to rock-hop. After the crossing the trail will start up slight grade and lead to the left that goes to Moses Creek Falls. Continue on the old road, paralleling East Fork Moses Creek

The road makes a couple of crossings on its way to the falls but it is pretty obvious. In places it is overgrown and there is one section of heavy downfall but otherwise the road makes for some easy hiking. If you want to include Logjam Falls, which dumps into East Fork Moses Creek from an unnamed tributary, 0.4 of a mile past the trail to Moses Creek Falls, the logging road makes an obvious left. If you leave the road at this point and head down to the creek, you will see the trib and the falls across Moses Creek. It isn’t anything special but at the same time, it is only a short detour to see. If you would rather skip it, continue following the road upstream. Catamount Falls is half a mile past Logjam Falls and nearly a mile from the crossing of West Moses Creek.

Getting to the base requires a steep scramble regardless of which side you come in from. On the way to the falls I crossed to river left, picked up an old road and followed that to a point where I could scramble down the bank to the creek. I came out just below the large flat boulder at the base of the falls, On the way out I stayed on river right and angled back to the road. Both are steep in places but river left is the harder of the two. A real beauty. My dog Axel is standing guard in the second picture.