At mile 351.9, at Deep Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will find Forest Service Road 472. Follow this gravel road for 5 miles and it will take you the the USFS Black Mountain Campground. This is where Setrock Creek Falls is located, but, I’m getting ahead of myself. Another 3 miles will bring you out on NC 80 , which can also be accessed from the BRP at (Buck Creek Gap @ mile 344.1). This route is a big circle and you can access it from either intersection of BRP. Just be aware that some FS roads are closed, and so is the parkway, during certain months of the year and during snow emergencies.
Anyway, this road runs along the South Toe River, and while it’s not quite as grand as some other sites, it has some very redeeming qualities. There are some very pretty places and falls along this road, and though the falls aren’t large, they are quite beautiful. And it will get you access to a few larger and more well known falls. The road is also fairly flat and in good shape every time I’ve been on it. A nice place to meander.
These falls have no names that I can find and they are little more than creek features, but they are quite handsome.
And the main benefit is that they are right on the side of the road. Each at a bridge crossing, so not so hard to find. I did get in the creek for the first two shots above, however.
You will also have the opportunity to see a lot of wildflowers along this road. This is only one of the many I shot during a two day stretch on FR472 and FR74. You can see the rest here.
When you get to Black Mountain Campground. Park at a parking lot before you go over the bridge. The campground is only for paying customers and they don’t let you park there unless you are registered. That said, I conned a very nice lady who was the camp host, into letting us drive in and use one of the shelters to have our picnic lunch. It was late April, the campground wasn’t busy, and I think she had mercy on us because it was raining and we all bought T-shirts. The added benefit was that we took a bit of distance off our hike to Setrock Creek Falls, not that it was that important as it’s a short walk anyway.
If you’re not as lucky as us, then park before the bridge and walk across into the campground and take the 1st road to the left. There’s a sign for group camping and it also will direct you to the Mt Mitchell trail. Go up this road and take the 2nd side trail to the right. There’s one of those Forest Service brown plastic stakes in the ground that says Setrock. This is where you deviate to go to the trail to the falls. If you’re not sure, ask at the office. It’s an easy hike to the 75′ cascade but there are a lot of roots so be careful not to trip.
Leaving Setrock, continue down the FR472 to exit the area on NC80. Roaring Fork Falls is very near the end of S. Toe River Rd. (FR472) and there you will find Brunswick Work Center Rd. on your right. (If you’re coming in from NC80, it’s your first left). Follow a short distance to the end and park. Don’t block the gate to the work center. The trail is obvious on the south side of the road and heads slightly uphill. It’s a short, maybe 1/4 mile walk to the falls and it’s an easy hike with no scrambling at the falls.
Leaving here, you will turn right on NC80 to return to BRP, or if you still have some time, turn left. Go about 5.2 miles to White Oak Rd. on your left. Follow it less than two miles to a dead end. Park and walk up the trail to see White Oak Falls. You’ll be glad you took the time. Check it out on this page.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed and that you can take the time to check things out for yourself sometime. You won’t be disappointed.