Just like the highway itself, I’ve broken NC281 into two segments with the divider being US64. NC281 North splits off of US64 0.6 miles to the east of Toxaway Falls while the turn onto NC281 South is 2.3 miles west of Toxaway Falls. The intervening 2.9 miles, NC281 is part of US64. There are a few waterfalls on this stretch of NC281 but most of the falls in this section are accessed from roads off of 281. NC281 is also used to get to Panthertown Valley. The waterfalls listed in this section are accessed from NC281 North. As of Spring 2016, the intersection of NC281 and US64 and the stretch of US64 in the vicinity of the intersection have been under construction with paving and blasting taking place so delays are possible. There is also some sort of deforestation/land clearing going on before and after the split with NC281. My explorations of NC281N have only started but it is quickly becoming a favorite area.
When it comes to the section pages, I always have a hard time selecting the picture that will be the representative for a particular area. The process usually begins with a picture of each waterfall in the area. When I sat down to assemble this section, I already knew what waterfall I was going to feature. Initially Lower Dismal Falls marked this page. It isn’t the highest, biggest, prettiest or most unique waterfall in North Carolina. It has a huge pile of junk in front of it and there is only this one vantage to take a picture. The lighting in this area is awful. This waterfall is more about the journey than the destination. For those that have been to Lower Dismal Falls, you can attest to the effort required to get into position to take a picture. The honor now goes to Flat Creek Falls.
0.9 Miles – Cold Mountain Road
Panthertown Valley – East Entrance
1.3 Miles – Slick Fisher Road
Shortcut back to NC281 in 4.6 miles
6.2 Miles (6.0 via Slick Fisher Road) – Winding Gap Road
131 – Aunt Sally’s Falls
132 – Waterfall below Rhapsodie Falls
133 – Rhapsodie Falls
134 – Lower Dismal Falls
148 – Dismal Falls
9.3 Miles – Rock Bridge Road
10.8 Miles (10.6 via Slick Fisher Rd) – Wolf Mountain Rd