We get out about once a week to hike usually in central to western North Carolina. We hike slowly and stop often to enjoy the views and the little treasures that nature offers. We enjoy waterfall, river, and mountain hikes frequently visiting The Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Moutains National Park, and Pisgah National Forest.
Ronnie and Terri came to spend the weekend and we promised them some waterfall hiking. The forecast was for rain starting tonight but the scattered showers had arrived this morning. Maybe we would get to hike between the raindrops so we headed west to Dupont State Forest. Our first stop was for a park and grab geocache at the Lake Imaging trail head. The rain was light but it was cold so we found the cache and quickly returned to the van. We drove the last mile to the Hooker Falls parking lot and considered whether we wanted to hike in the rain. The rain should have made the falls pretty but did we want to get wet?
From this parking lot we had three possible falls to hike to. Hooker Falls was a .36 mile walk downstream from here on an easy trail. The falls are only ten feet high but there is a swimming hole below them. A rainy day in early March is not a time to enjoy a swimming hole. The other choice which we chose is to cross the bridge and road and hike upstream to Triple Falls. It is less then a half mile to the falls. The trail starts out level with views or the river on your left and a hill on the right. Then the trail and the Little River took a right turn and we climbed the hill. After a short climb we could first hear the falls and then soon see them from the trail.
The falls were on our left and there was a picnic shelter uphill on our right. Since the rain was getting heavier we climbed on up to the shelter to stay a little drier. The view of the falls were good from the shelter and we all agreed this would be a nice place for a picnic on a warmer, drier day. The falls are indeed triple drops with the lowest drop parallel to the trail and the upper two facing the trail. We decided that we were too wet and cold to continue another half mile or so to High Falls but Mitch and I did walk about 600 feet to the intersection of the Triple Falls and High Falls trails. We found the geocache hidden near here by the INKY crew.
On the way up the trail beyond the pavilion we saw a set of steps (112 wooden steps to be exact) leading down to the river. There are several landings along the way with benches if you need a break. At the bottom you are at river level with a large level rock in front of you. Two of the triple falls are in front and above you and the third is below you but visible. We took some closer pictures of the falls here and climbed back up the steps. The falls were pretty but we weren't having fun in the rain anymore. Time to find a falls we could view from the road.
We returned to Highway 64 and drove west to Pisgah National Forest for a visit to Looking Glass Falls. This falls can be viewed from the road. There is plenty of room to pull off the road at this time of year although in the summer you may have to walk quite a distance along the road since this is a popular stopping spot. There is an easy path down to the base of the falls as long as you don't mind a few stairs. We made a short stop and went to find a warm, dry restaurant for lunch. No picnic for us today. We will return to Dupont and hike the waterfalls on a nicer day. This would be a fun and safe area to bring the grandchildren to play in the water.