011 – Waterfall on Log Hollow Branch

Accessibility – Easy

Height: Approx 30′

Distance – 1.0 miles (out and back) or 2.4 as a combined hike

Beauty – 8

Photo rating – 9

Solitude – 8

GPS Info: LAT 35.3238 LONG -82.8084

Last updated – 03-19-2017

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Note: The logging operation along FR5043 but the mess remains. Not sure what they accomplished along this stretch other than to make a mess.

Depending on your level of adventure, the hike to the Waterfall on Log Hollow Branch can be augmented by visiting three other waterfalls on the same stretch of FR5043. If you intend to visit all four falls on this hike, the Waterfall on Log Hollow Branch is going to be the first stop. The Waterfall on Log Hollow is the prettiest of the quartet and the easiest to access. Out and back the hike is about a mile following forestry road 5043 (about 2.4 miles if you want to see all 4). The waterfall is right next to the road and can be viewed from a bridge over the creek or from a clearing to the left of the falls.

From the intersection of US64/NC280/US276 in Brevard, follow 276 10.3 miles to the turn for FR475B (Headwaters Road) on the left. From the Blue Right Parkway the right turn to FR475B is about 4.7 miles. FR475B connects with 475 not to far from the fish hatchery but at certain times of the year the access gate at FR475 is closed to you might want to check at the ranger station for potential road closures or you could end up doing a lot of backtracking. From the intersection with US276 drive 1.6 miles. This is a gravel road with frequent turnouts to provide for two way traffic. On my last visit it was in very good shape. You will get some great views of Looking Glass Rock off to your left before you reach the gated FR5043. FR5043 will be on the right at the apex of a hairpin turn to the right. The forest service does not take kindly to people blocking the gates so park so as not to do so. All four falls on this hike are accessed from here.

Quick aside. The Waterfall on Log Hollow was my first waterfall that required a drive down a logging road and for this experience, I wasn’t prepared. This trip was before my 2012 Nissan Xterra arrived on the scene so I made the white-knuckle drive down 475B in a 2007 Saturn Ion. I had never been on a road like this, much less in a car not designed for such a thing. I couldn’t get that car far enough away from the steep side. It was that day that 475B became my then 4-year-old daughter’s, and my, favorite road. The 1.6 miles felt more like 50, nonetheless we reached the gated FR5043 and what is the first thing we see? An older gentleman with a copy of Kevin Adams’ North Carolina Waterfalls in his hand. My wife and I still joke about it since we had our copy in her backpack!

The hike is kid friendly and scenic. The elevation changes are sedate, while the logging road is wide. It is used as a mountain bike trail so use caution. Taken as a whole, the combined hike to the four falls along FR5043 ranks as one of my top ten hikes. The complete list is here.

Start by heading past the gate and following FR5043 into the woods. You will pass through a large open area before reaching the first bridge. This bridge will be our last stop of the day. Continue another 0.25 of a mile along FR5043 to a second bridge, which crosses Log Hollow Branch. Standing on the deck of the bridge the waterfall is immediately to your right. The 30′ high waterfall on Log Hollow Branch is less than fifty feet from the road. The surrounding trees frame a shot from the bridge very well and hint at a far more remote location. To get a better shot you can cross the bridge and follow a side trail to get as close as you want. There is a tree leaning in front of the falls that will interfere in your shots.

The photo opportunities are endless from the bridge or from the clearing. The one thing that drive me crazy about this waterfall is the ‘leaning tree’ in all my shots. On my March 2016 visit, I finally got around to getting close enough to take that tree out of the picture. Even with my rock hop, this isn’t a difficult hike. Even so there is a good chance you’re going to be have this one to yourself. After your earlier stops at Looking Glass Falls and Moore Cove, this will come as a welcome relief. When you’re done here, we’re going to continue on to the Waterfall on South Log Hollow Branch.

Log Hollow Branch from the Bridge – June 2015
Log Hollow Branch from the side trail – June 2015
No leaning tree! – Log Hollow Falls – March 2016
The red rock at the base – Log Hollow Falls – March 2016
One more time – March 2016

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