NORTH CAROLINA WATERFALLS
WATERFALL ON STEELS CREEK (4)
Driving Directions: N.C. 181 crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 312. From there, head south on N.C. 181 for 11 miles to the dirt F.R. 228 on the right. You will pass the trailhead for Upper Creek Falls along the way. Continue on F.R. 228 for 1.6 miles to a concrete ford over Little Fork that is probably not passable to cars in high water. At 1.9 miles the road forks; go right. At 3.9 miles the road forks again; go right and continue 0.8 mile to a parking area on the left right before the road ends. Note: F.R. 228 is gated from January 1st to April 1st.
Hiking Directions: From the parking area, continue following the old logging road upstream. At 0.24 mile you will reach a swimming hole below a small cascade. You may notice that someone has tied a rope to a large tree on the left to swing out over the pool. Cross the creek above the cascade and pick up the path on the other side. There is more than one path, but they all lead to the same place. You will soon come to a signed intersection with the white-blazed Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Turn right on the MST and make a steep ascent, then descend to a sharp right switchback that will bring you back to the creek. Follow right beside the creek for several yards (in high water, you’ll be in the creek) before climbing a sloping rock and beginning a series of switchbacks. Look for the double white blazes that indicate an abrupt change in direction. You will then ascend a ridge. As you descend the other side, you’ll hear the falls and then see it through the trees. Continue on the MST until you see the obvious scramble path leading down the bank to the right. The MST continues a short distance and passes near the top of the falls. The scramble path is extremely steep and leads to a sloping rock. To see the upper part of the falls, you will have to crawl out on the rock. When wet, it is just not safe. Continue down the scramble path to another section of rock with a rope tied to a tree. Using the rope, climb down the sloping rock, which is slippery, to a small cove on the left with a lot of downfall in it. A fallen tree provides access to a rock with a view of the lower section of the falls. Cross on the tree, using caution as the fallen tree in the water is very slippery. The water here is several feet deep.