Glen Marie Falls
A short upper free-fall turns and cascades down a steep rock face, then twists and cascades its way down in several sections before spilling out in a small pool/rocky area at the base. It's a pretty neat falls, and it's fairly high - but unfortunately it's hard to see all of it from one point. The best view is from the base.
- Height: 60 ft
- Elevation: 2800 ft
- Stream: New Year Creek
- Landowner: Town of Blowing Rock
- GPS: 36.121372, -81.684589
- Difficulty: More Difficult
- Length: 3.1mi
- Tread Condition: Moderately Rough
- Climbing: Climbs Moderately (715 ft)
- Type: Out-and-back
GPS Directions & Map
From Current Location or address:
Parking is in downtown Blowing Rock, NC off of US Hwy. 321 Business. You can park in a small lot right at the trailhead, at a nearby parking garage, or really just anywhere downtown and walk a few blocks to the trailhead.
From the intersection of US Hwy. 221 and 321 Business, go south on Main Street/321 Business for 2 blocks and turn right on Laurel Ln. Go straight through the 4 way stop sign at Wallingford St. and turn left into the parking area just beyond (you'll see Mayview Lake just up ahead on the right). If that small lot is full, go back to the 4-way and turn left on Wallingford. A parking garage is just ahead on the left with plenty of spaces.
The hike to the falls is about 3.1 miles round trip, and includes Glen Burney Falls on the way. It's not really small-kid friendly and it's surprisingly steep on the way back up, but it's great exercise! This is a pleasant hike once you get past the first 1/4 mile or so, and you'll pass Glen Burney Falls and The Cascades on the way, so you get 3 in 1 hike.
From the small parking lot for Annie Cannon Park, the Glen Burney Trail begins as an old gravel road leading downhill. A small tributary trickles under a culvert by the parking lot. You'll reach a fancy sign announcing the trail's name on your right.
The piece of trail behind the sign makes a rough descent, crosses the creek on a broken bridge, turns left, and becomes a rough, muddy path overgrown with stinging nettle. Then it joins back to the gravel road you started on in about 50 yards. So skip it!
Instead, continue straight on the gravel road and cross the creek at a easy culvert. The useless little piece of trail joins back in on the other side of the culvert. Continue straight on the old gravel road, which is level now, and goes through a forested residential area. The creek drops away, and some big houses cling to the hillsides on either side.
The creek is very small at this point. Unfortunately, since it flows out of town and Mayview Lake just upstream, the water is a bit silty.
The trail comes out in a small clearing and then begins descending steeply through switchbacks. At the final switchback, you reach the old sewage treatment station dating back to 1929. All that's left is a concrete shell with some pipes sticking out. Luckily, sewage is no longer treated and dumped into the creek here, above the falls.
The trail gets back down to creek level here and starts following it downstream. Shortly, you'll cross the creek again on a footbridge. The trail continues downhill, with some steep drop-offs on the right in a few spots. Some large, dead hemlocks still stand in the woods, and there are no more houses the rest of the way.
You'll pass a few small cascades, and then reach one with a name on your right, called - wait for it - The Cascades. The name is announced by a sign at the top. Continue down the trail - the view of the little waterfall is partially obscured by trees. But a few tiny tributaries have joined in to New Year Creek by this point, so there is more water flow and the water is clearer too.
Continue downhill a short ways. A side path to the right leads about 100 feet to an observation deck with rails at the top of Glen Burney Falls. Continue down the Glen Burney trail and around another switchback. The trail reaches a T intersection; to the right is the base of Glen Burney falls.
Continue down the Glen Burney trail toward Glen Marie Falls. The waterfall will appear on your right; the trail switchbacks down from the top. (Be careful of the wire trip ropes - I mean safety ropes - strung across the top of the falls about ankle high, waiting to send you over the edge if you aren't looking!) At the middle switchback, you can get a glimpse over a rock bluff of the upper portion of the falls - which is easier to see when the leaves are off. From the base, you get a good view of the two lowermost cascades, but not as good a view of the top.
Return to your vehicle on the same path.