Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lower Whitewater Falls from Bad Creek Trail Head 4/18/2011

This hike begins at the Bad Creek Trail Head  on the property of the Duke Power's Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station property.  There is a large parking area and portable toilets.  The trail passes through a young grove of trees before climbing up, around, and down the other side of a wooded hill.  This trail is not overly difficult but is not stroller friendly.  As we rounded the hill we could hear the river down below.

At the bottom of the hill we walked through a level area and began to see wildflowers, ferns, and other ground covers.  Soon we were crossing the river at the twin bridges.  The trail ends at the intersection with the Foothills trail.  This location as with all the intersections on this hike is well signed.  We made a right turn and continued across the valley area.

After following a small run for a short distance the trail climbs away from the river.  There are wildflowers scattered all along the trail. We saw seven other hikers total on the trail today.  There is much less traffic on this trail then at Upper Whitewater falls.  We wondered why we weren't following closer to the river but once we reached the falls overlook we understood the need to go around the gorge.

At the next trail intersection we turned right on the spur trail to the falls overlook.  The trail goes through the woods, joins a gravel road for a short distance, then turns right off of the road.  If you pay attention to the signs and blazes it isn't hard to follow.  There is a short climb followed by the final steeper downhill to the  overlook.  The view from the overlook is fantastic and worth the effort to get there.

How long is this hike?  The sign at the parking area says 1.7 miles to the overlook.  The sign at the overlook says 1.9 miles back to the trail head.  The signs at the Foothills Trail and the spur trail add up to 2.4 miles one way.  This sign by the twin bridges agrees that this is a 4.8 mile round trip hike.  We wonder if this trail has been rerouted at some time.

After returning to the trail head we drove down the power plant road to the Lake Jocasse overlook.  The lake was beautiful and the rhododendrons were in full bloom.  It was well worth the short drive beyond the trail head.  

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