North Carolina Waterfalls and Fall Color Trip 2012 (Part 1)

Saturday morning, 6AM.  I’m sitting in the cabin in Maggie Valley…..cup of coffee and getting ready to pack up and head home.  Thinking about the past week and what a wonderful time was had by all.  Starting out in Hocking Hills, Ohio, we spent three days wondering the trails and photographing fall color mostly, as the creeks and streams were dry as a bone.  I’ve never seen it this dry.  We managed to visit almost all the iconic places that Hocking has to offer and a few others as well.  The color was seemingly at it’s peak, so the fall color vistas were looking good.

Hocking Hills – Rock House and some light painting.

Cantwell Cliffs was probably the most difficult of the hikes, as we covered every trail in the place, stopping to shoot the two most prominent land features, as well as a bit of macro/closeups of some of the rock faces.  It’s a wonder how some of these very abstract looking rock faces evolved.

Hocking Hills – Cantwell Cliffs

 Finishing up at the lower falls at Old Man Cave, I was disappointed to note that the park people have put up split rail fencing in front of the falls and also signs prohibiting closer approach to the falls, such as the large bolder I have shot from in the past.  It also wrecks what I thought was a very nice shot of the falls looking through the underside of the foot bridge at the end of the trail.  Oh, well.  Things change.

Monday morning had us heading south to N. Carolina, travelling via I-75 to US-25E through Cumberland Gap and over I-40 into MaggieValley where we picked up the Blue Ridge Parkway.  First up was Soco Falls, which is close to the entrance to the parkway.  Couldn’t not stop here, but I was hesitant to drag my charge into the riverbed for full effect photos, so we shot from the deck.

Soco Falls

Along the way, we discovered Woodfin Cascades, situated right along the side of the parkway.  There’s an overlook there, so we stopped and shot and had some lunch.  This is a place that deserves much more exploration, but that’s for another trip. 

Next we traveled down the parkway to County Road 215 to visit one of my favorite places, Courthouse Falls.  The falls is situated about four miles in on an old U.S.Forest Service road and the hike is simple and a short 1/4 mile.  On the way out, we worked along the Courthouse Creek for a bit.

Along Courthouse Creek – Devil’s Courthouse

After Courthouse we stopped at the Living Waters where there are three sets of falls.  We didn’t have much time so we only shot one.

Falls at Living Waters Ministry

 Finishing up at Living Waters, we headed for our lodgings in the town of Brevard which is situated on the edge of the Land of Waterfalls (primarily Transylvania County).  Dinner and a look at the shots from the day and some sleep.

Tuesday had us heading out for Dupont State Forest with a short stop at Conestee Falls.  I was delighted that this place was finally accessible, as it had been closed on my several previous visits.  The county did a great job of creating a viewing platform, but they also denied access to the base of the falls,where the best shots could be had.  Still it was worth the stop to see this great falls and I could see why they restricted access to the base, as it is a very deep gorge of approximately 100 feet or more.  The shame is there is no view of the falls from the front, where they would be most beautiful.  As you can see, there is another waterfall coming into the gorge at the bottom of this photo and it would be a great shot with both falls tumbling into the gorge, but I suppose it would be unsafe to get that shot.  Here’s a shot from below by a realtor from before the county construction.

The sun was burning brightly when we reached Dupont, and it was extremely difficult to shoot anything but we visited High Falls and Triple Falls.  If nothing else, we got some good exercise and there were lots of people about to meet and converse with.  No wall hangers here, just good times and nice folks.

Dupont State Forest – Tripple Falls from the overlook.

 Thanks for looking.  This concludes part one of our Fall 2012 adventure to the Land of Waterfalls.  You can see the rest of the adventure by continuing to the next post.  Hope you enjoyed and please comment.

The adventure continues in part two.  See it here.