Waterfall on Tributary of West Fork Pigeon River
A pretty slide which fans out over colorful, banded rock. Looks best in higher water.
- Height: 30 ft
- Elevation: 4722 ft
- Stream: Tributary of West Fork Pigeon River
- Landowner: Pisgah National Forest
- GPS: 35.317659, -82.906577
Although it's close to the road, this falls is nearly impossible to reach the base of, but a faint view of it can be had from beside N.C. Hwy. 215. From the intersection of N.C. 215 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, drive north on 215 for 2.1 miles to a pull-off on the right. It's the second pull-off past the one for the cascades on Bubbling Spring Branch - the one where the guardrail ends (at the first the guardrail wraps all the way around the pull-off). Park here.
I don't recommend that anyone try to reach this falls up close. A faint view of the falls can be seen across the valley when the leaves are off, if you climb up to the rocks beside the spruce tree and look slightly left.
If you must go to the base of the falls, like I did, prepare yourself for a seriously wicked and dangerous off-trail trek. Don't go alone, and let other people who aren't hiking here know where you're going, and what you want done with your body when the rescue squad pulls it out of the gorge. Plunge into the woods on a faint path under the spruce tree. There is some garbage in the woods here; keep left to go around it. Go down the nose of the dog-hobble covered slope which is steep as a mule's face. It gets steeper (vertical?) as you approach the creek bank. There is perhaps one workable path just to the right of the nose of the ridge where you can drop down to the creek using rhododendron and laurel to hang on to. Otherwise, you'll need climbing gear to rappel off the big rocks here.
Once you're in Bubbling Spring Branch, there will be cascades both upstream and downstream of your location - if not, you're in the wrong spot. At the upstream side of a wet-weather "island", you can boulder-hop the creek if you're careful. Otherwise you'll break a leg, knock yourself unconscious or plunge into a head-deep, cold pool of water and drown. I'm just saying.
If you manage to cross the creek, follow the right hand (dry) fork around the island to the first tributary coming down from the right. (If the right hand fork is not dry, the water is too high and you'll drown trying to make it across).
Follow that tributary upstream to the base of the falls. I'd estimate it's only 100-150 yards upstream, but it's a belly-crawl under rhododendron in places and the water is surprisingly deep. Once you reach the falls, you'll have to scoot up the exposed rock in front of them to see anything. Last time I visited this rock was wet, slimy, and barely able to give me enough traction to keep from slipping into the water.
If you made it this far, savor it, because it's a hard trek back!