910 – 501 Falls

Accessibility – Moderate

Height – 45′

Distance – 1.6 (out and back)

Beauty – 6

Photo rating – 5

Solitude – 7

GPS Info: LAT 34.99796 LONG -83.545911

Last Updated – 01-08-2023

Last Visited – 11-12-2022

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Getting to 501 Falls requires a long drive, but if you combine it with Bull Cove Falls and High Falls, it makes for a great day on trail. To reach the trailhead, which is in NC, you have to drive through Georgia. This part of NC is not connected to the remainder of the state. Depending on your direction of travel you will want to end up on US76. Coming from Franklin you would head East on US76 and make a right on Persimmon Road. Coming from Clayton Ga (the way I drove in) take US76 West to Persimmon Road and make a left. Follow Persimmon Road 4.1 miles and make a left onto Tallulah River Road. There are signs for camping posted at the intersection so it is easy to spot but in this day and age, you should be using Maps or Waze anyway. Tallulah River Road starts out paved but after 1.5 miles the pavement ends. The unpaved portion wasn’t to unruly and it is very scenic as the road mirrors the Tallulah River. Along the way the name of the road changes to Tate City Road. The numbering of the road is going to change as well as it becomes FR70 and finally FR56. There are three campgrounds and a dozen fishing pullouts along the road as well as houses so be careful. The forest service campground is year round and there are bathrooms there. Just over 7.5 miles down Tate City Road the Beech Creek Trailhead is on the right. It’s barely a mile into NC. A parking area is on the left.

From the parking area cross Tate City Road and began the hike at the carsonite sign marked #378 Beech Creek Trail. The trail is blue blazed but the blazes are faded and hard to spot but the trail is obvious. After the long drive to get here the trail up the hill is going to have your blood pumping immediately as from the start is it climbs the hill steeply. This initial segment is 0.2 of a mile but it feels like a mile as you pick up several hundred feet of elevation. The trail crests the hill and descends moderately to Beech Creek. Cross Beech Creek, either a rockhop or a wade depending on the water level. Once across the trail goes left (upstream). Very close to the creek the trail will turn right. If the leaves are off, you will see 501 Falls directly ahead of you. When the trail turns left again, strike out through the woods in the direction of the falls. If the trail didn’t turn it would run you right into the falls. The woods are very open. The falls is 0.25 of a mile from the Beech Creek trail.

I reached out to all of my usual resources and even had a few friends do so as well, and we couldn’d find any reference to the waterfall so it got the name 501 Falls, since it was the first waterfall my friend Ira saw after completing The 500 List at High Falls earler in the hike.