Saturday, November 12, 2022

Upper Creek Falls–Beautiful but POORLY Marked

Friday August 19, 2022                                         
Bear Den Family Campground                              Most Recent Posts:
MP 324 Blue Ridge Parkway                                  Finally Blowing Rock
Spruce Pine, North Carolina      Mast General Store and Crab Orchard Falls



Took a drive today to Upper Creek Falls in the Pisgah National Forest about 16 miles and 30 minutes from  Bear Den.

There were interesting fungi on the trail.



The warning signs told me I was going down onto some rocks and I could hear the water.


Turns out, the sign warned me to be careful,  I was at the top of the falls and could see Upper Creek behind them.

I had to cross the creek up here and thought about going back but I decided it was worth it to just go on and get my feet wet.


Here is a short video of Upper Creek behind the falls.

This is the top of the falls and the great view of the Blue Ridge.


The picture below is taken from just a little further down the falls.  Here is a 9 second video of it roaring down the rock face.


From there, the trail provided numerous views of the cascades and other sections of the falls.


I took this very short video from the exact spot below.


And then the trail started getting very sketchy.


There were fewer and fewer metal triangle markers.



This trail had so many different looks at the falls as they went down.  Here is a short video of this section.  Not sure if this was the most powerful section but it might be.


Trail got narrower and narrower …


It widened out at one point on nice rock slabs.


But then, the trail looked like this.  I thought perhaps the tree had fallen over the trail so I crawled under, over, around and trough to find no end of obstacles.  So I climbed back out and back tracked to where I could find the last metal triangular trail marker.


There were no more trail markers  between that one and the obstacle.  The only side path went right to the water.   So I walked down to take a look.


And sure enough, there on  the other side of the fast flowing “creek” was the yellow triangle.  I didn’t take any pictures up next to the creek but I did take numerous videos as I tried to figure out how to get across.  Of all the ones I took, there are only two here.  I really didn’t want to try to cross but I’d have to walk 2.5 miles back and there was less than a mile to go.  I paced back and forth over and over thinking about my alternatives.

This first video shows what I saw when I got down to the water.  Notice the fallen tree, that’s where I crossed over the water.  The rock sides near the water were wet and slick.

The second one is a video from the other side once I got across.  As you can hear me say, the problem was my short legs.  I did actually have to step in the rushing water.  My hiking pole was invaluable.  I actually held my breath and hoped I didn’t slip and go sailing on down and out of sight.

From then on I felt like I was home free.


There were no more views of the Falls but there were some interesting fungi.  I “think” these are staghorn.  Correct me if you know differently.


Aren’t they cool?


I managed not to get lost during this last 1/2 to 3/4 mile.  The yellow triangles weren’t more numerous but the side trails were fewer.


And near the end, a sweet set of steps.


It was a difficult hike in that it was poorly marked and I lost the trail 4 or 5 times and had to backtrack to the last metal yellow triangle marker and see if there was some other path that was the real trail and not a social trail.  They need WAY more markers then they have.  Too many side trails, too few markings. 

I had to cross the river twice.  No easy crossings and the last one was down right scary but to turn around would have been 2.5 miles. I was less than a mile from the end.  Plus I would have had to cross the first river spot again so I figured I might as well take a chance and go on.

The hike took much longer than its mileage would indicate and it was frustrating at points but now that I’ve done it, in the end, I’d do it again.   The waterfall views were fabulous and no one else was anywhere around.


  1. It’s a good thing you’re a seasoned hiker and are not perplexed by obstacles such as the ones you encountered on this adventure.

  2. Great snapshots, as usual, by the way. ❤️

    1. Thanks for the compliment Jody. I'm glad you liked the pictures. Oh I was very perplexed about that trail and whether I shouid turn back.

  3. Whew! This reminds me of my working days, so many hikes, so many side trails, SOOOO much bushwacking with no trails on steep slopes. I did that for 35 years in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, and Montana. Maybe that is why rough hiking in places with no markings doesn't excite me. And why I love being retired and hiking in places with real trails and real markings, not carrying a shovel or a pack full of dirt samples. LOL. These photos reminded me a lot of some of the scrambling I did in the mountains trying to get to a specific place to dig a deep hole...through those roots and around the rocks. I used to have night dreams of pulling giant rocks out of the bottom of my soil pits and the rocks would keep being in the bottom of the pit. Ahhhh funny what different photos will bring up for different people with different experiences. If you hike wild country with no trails for a living wild hikes don't look nearly as glorious as they might to some. Happy Hiking Sherry. Looking forward to your next ones. :)

    1. That was a most interesting job you had!

    2. Sounds interesting but hard to me. I draw the line at bushwhacking which is why I turned back when it was clear that's what I'd have to do. Hope what my photos brought up was pleasant and not bad dreams. :)

  4. Very picturesque area. Amazing you didn't get lost, everything looks the same! Love seeing waterfalls from the top.

    1. I was never concerned about getting lost since I was pretty sure I could back track but I didn't want to. Waterfalls from the top are rare in my experience.

  5. Beautiful falls! Certainly can understand your frustration with the poorly marked trails. Is there an agency responsible for the trails that you can complain to?

    1. I suspect it is the forest service for Pisgah but I doubt it would do much good given how understaffed all the National Parks and Forests are.

  6. Reminds me of some of the hikes my wife made me do. Now when I see the trial exceed my limits I quit and ask her to do the same. She always goes on just a short way and comes back to me, except on one hike in the BRP where she got lost and had to walk miles to get back to camp. Now she calls it quits when I do. We are not in shape to do the things we did in the past. Enjoyed your post and pics.

    1. I fear none of us is in the shape to do the things we did in the past. Do you remember the hike on the BRP where she got lost? I'll avoid that one.

  7. You are a seriously intrepid hiker! If there's a waterfall to be found, you are definitely going to find it, LOL. No matter what!! That was a sweet waterfall. But if I'm going to hike to it, I want you with me. :-)) P.S. How do you find those purple mushrooms??

  8. Your trail finding talent shows you're ready to start taking hikes in the Amazon rain forest. ;c)

    1. Such flattery Paul. You'd never catch me there without a guide.

  9. I loved the colorful fungi. Poorly marked trails, not fun. Glad you found your way thru to the end.

  10. Agree with Jodie and Paul - you are quite seasoned - so many would have given up before you did. Beautiful falls and very neat fungi!

  11. Seems there was an investment to create the trail, but maintenance not well included. You are one brave soul. I do love the waterfalls, but those rocky trails look treacherous. Lots of cool shrooms.

  12. Loved the photos of the waterfall and the shrooms, quite colorful. You're brave to say the least, please be careful ;)
    The photo of the top of waterfall was really great, as well as the videos, thanks for taking us with you!

  13. When the gas company here marks their pipeline for pending construction they use bright yellow embedded tags - that look just like that pretty fungi :-)) Love the little lavender and oranges ones. All the slide falls you're visiting are so different from the long drop falls I'm used to - and they're all so pretty!


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