Hiking & Biking
Waterfalls In The DuPont State Forest
Stunning waterfalls, lush forests, alpine lakes and tranquility often are found only by hiking miles over tough terrain. Now, no matter what your fitness level, all of this is available in North Carolina’s newest state park, DuPont Forest.
This 10,000-acre park is minutes away from Brevard and Hendersonville, straddling the border between southwest North Carolina’s Henderson and Transylvania counties. The low, rolling mountains here host some of the most beautiful and easily accessible waterfalls in a state full of photogenic cascades. A handicapped accessible trail from Hooker Falls' parking lot takes you to this tranquil rush of water in about six minutes. A broad cataract tumbles about 11 feet over a stony ledge and into Cascade Lake. In warm weather, experienced kayakers give this waterfall a good workout.
The largest falls are on the Little River. Upstream, about a seven-minute walk from Hooker Falls, is Triple Falls. As the name implies, Triple Falls drops 120 feet in three separate cascades. There are marvelous views of the falls from the well-traveled trail. More adventurous hikers can get closer views of the various levels via steeper, and sometimes slippery, trails. Water levels dictate how much safe access you have to the falls.
High Falls is another ½ mile up the trail past Triple Falls. Hot weather calls for a close approach down a side trail to the cooling mist at High Falls. But take care because the rocky base is slippery. And, if the trail proves too tough for you, there are great views of High Falls from the trail.
You may have a sense of deja vu as you view the falls. Some of them appeared in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. Bridal Veil Falls – the first and hardest to access fall on the Little River - had a starring role. It is the one that the movie’s characters walked behind. Water drops off an overhanging ledge, sheets down a granite incline and spills into a pool. A parking area at Fawn Lake makes the falls a little easier to reach. But it is still about a two-mile walk.
Grassy Creek offers two smaller but very picturesque falls, too. Several lakes – alpine jewels like Lake Julia and Lake Dense - dot the park. Warm water game fish such as largemouth bass, bluegill, and redbreast sunfish are found here. Anglers also can fish for rainbow, brook and brown trout in the cold-water streams and can catch trout in the upper reaches of the Little River, too.
The horse set will find a number of trails open to them. And mountain bikers, like ants, swarm the rocky hillside on Cedar Mountain in good weather. This eastern Mecca for mountain bikers features more than 80 miles of trails.
There are many lovely bed and breakfast inns around Brevard and Hendersonville. So, book a room and come down to where the water falls.
added: December 29, 2008
updated: December 31, 2008