Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pisgah National Forest: Catawba Falls

Noelle, Sierra and I celebrated Mother's Day as a family with a trip into North Carolina for some hiking and delicious food. We made the drive through Asheville and into Black Mountain where we stopped for a delicious lunch at the Trailhead Restaurant.   After lunch we drove a little bit further east to the town of Old Fort and the traihead for our hike to Catawba Falls.

While the Forest Service has recently built a parking area for the popular trail, it lies on the other side of a closed bridge, and so it is inaccessible to vehicles. Pedestrians are still allowed to hike across it though, and so we started our hike by walking across a closed bridge and through an abandoned parking lot. Once on the actual trail the hiking experience greatly improved. We soon came to a few relics of past human use. There were a few stone walls lining the trail and even the ruins of some sort of building.
After inspecting the ruins we were back on the trail heading upstream to the falls.

We crossed a small, cascading side stream
cascade on side stream
and then found an old concrete dam
and another set of concrete ruins.
looking out of concrete
As we headed further up the trail we saw one of the largest garter snakes I've ever seen.
garter snake
Then, before we knew it, we were at Catawba Falls.
Catawba Falls
We stayed at the bottom of the lower falls, but there was a trail that led to a platform in the middle of the large set of cascades. Supposedly, there is a rope fixed that allows hikers to access the impressive upper falls. However, with Sierra in the backpack, there was no way we were going to do any rock climbing today.

Instead of rock climbing we relaxed on the rocks at the base of the falls and enjoyed the sound of the cascading water. It was also fun watching Sierra play in the water and throw rocks into it.
after throwing rock
in deep water
Noelle and Sierra
two in water
Sierra and waterfall
We even found a few salamanders.
salamader in hand
Sierra was a bit curious about them.
Sierra and salamander
After about 45 minutes at the falls, we decided it was time to head back to the car. We crossed the Catawba River on stepping stones
noelle crosses creek
and took a short side trail to another set of ruins that I believe may be an old electricity generating station.
stone ruins
dangerous pit
From there it was a quick walk back to the car. We headed back to Black Mountain for some ice cream before making our way back to Greeneville.                  

1 comment:

Ben said...

Looks like a great hike!