I think I’ve mentioned before that there are more than 250 waterfalls in Transylvania county alone and hundreds more in the rest of Western North Carolina.
I bought a guide to Waterfalls of North Carolina and a map of Waterfalls in North Carolina. Both are mind boggling.
As the picture shows, the map is bigger than my table. It hangs off of the edge I cannot open it full up in the car. Thankfully it is heavy duty and waterproof so it can be folded into sections without creasing or wearing out.
Below is the section for PART of Transylvania County. All the dots are waterfalls.
Blue means “relative ease of access” and red “more difficult”. In the opinion of the map makers of course.
The book is gorgeous though paperback but printed on slick heavy paper which allows for lovely photographs. 8.5 X 11” and 469 pages. 18 of those pages are two single spaced column lists of waterfalls names in the Index.
There are A LOT of Waterfalls in North Carolina.
Many are on public lands and many are not. Few private landowners welcome the public to come visit their falls but Living Waters Retreat Center is an exception. So I want to see the two falls on their property. When looking at the map, I see there is another falls on my way there. It is described as roadside.
The directions are quite sketchy. I have to watch my odometer carefully as there is no indication where the falls is specifically. I just pull off the road in the vicinity described and start walking along the road until I hear it. I look through the trees and spot it but a path down is harder to find.
When I do find a “sort of” path, it does not take me to this larger falls I have seen through the trees and I never found a way to get there.
To call it a path is a stretch. It’s a drop off by the side of the road that looks as though it could be created by water run off but probably by people sliding. With the aid of my hiking pole I manage to get down to where I can see what I assume is Lemon Falls or Upper Lemon Falls at least. My viewpoint is off to the side and the rocks initially block my view. Without standing in the pool, I cannot get straight on in front of it as I later find the author of my waterfall book must have done. Perhaps it was a very hot day and he had on his trunks and water shoes. But this is Lemon Falls I know later for sure. No idea what the taller one I could see through the trees was.
I manage to get some better views, still from the side.
It’s dark down here at the level of tree roots and overhanging rhododendron.
But I have it all to myself and wish I’d brought my backpacking chair so I could sit and just soak in the beauty, the sounds and the negative ions. Here’s a short video to give you a sense of it.
I climb up above and take these shots through the trees of the water tumbling down. This is such a wonderful spot, I really hate to leave.
Every view, every angle is uniquely beautiful and seldom can I crawl all around so close to a falls as I do here.
Eventually I have to climb out and that’s what it is. Not far, but a climb. Easier going up than going down since I can see a bit better but I have greatly lightened these pictures of the “path” to enable it to be seen
This is the second level up from the water. Notice the rock at the top
From the rock you can see the light that is at the road. The last stretch is straight up and nothing but roots but it is way too dark and I’m too close to get a picture ofr its precariousness. Definitely worth the effort. I’d return again for sure.
French Broad Falls
I went on to Living Waters, 2.5 miles away.
Living Waters is a Christian Ministry providing retreat space for adults and camps for children. They own the property on the French Broad River with both the French Broad Falls and Bird Rock Falls. They generously have allowed the public to access these amazingly beautiful natural features and have created a trail along the edge of the river between the two.
All maintenance at Living Waters is volunteer and they clearly have more than they can handle. I hope they will be able to continue to provide access but I can see why they might find that too difficult given the number of visitors and those who take advantage of this generosity. Thus I consider myself very lucky to have been able to visit here and will certainly come again before I leave the area and when and if I return hoping their generosity can continue.
Enjoy this video of the French Broad Falls directly behind the Living Waters Retreat Center.
The path to Bird Rock falls is dirt and rooty in some sections, board walk in others.
Some rails are hand made and in need of repair. I am concerned about the nailing of things into the trees. This does not seem like good stewardship to me but clearly they are a group with limited funds.
The path goes along the river between the upper French Broad Falls and the lower Bird Rock falls with cascades and rhododendron along the way
Some of the cascades are like sliding rocks and some are more little little waterfalls.
With the cascades along the way and the rhododendron lining the trail this is, for me, a magical place.
After all this loveliness to come around the corner of this giant rock on the trail and find such destruction is a huge sadness. Why would anyone do such defacing? What is the matter with us?
Bird Rock Falls is at the end of the trail. You can see it from above and you can walk right down on the rocks
It flows down through a walled canyon with such varied colors on the rock I can’t stop taking pictures of it.
The water flows on down and away. I don’t know if someone associated with Living Waters lives in that house but they have one wonderful view.
Eventually I really do have to climb back out and leave but I am so very sorry I haven’t come here at least once every week to see how the water, the rhododendron and the trillium I find on my way back change each time. Today only the seed is left on the trillium. The flower is gone but its leaves are large and shiny.
These pictures don’t do this little canyon justice. See for yourself in this video I took.
What a gift this day has been for me.