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Beech Mountain Waterfalls

posted Jun 12, 2018, 4:54 PM by Justin P   [ updated Jun 23, 2018, 2:41 PM ]

Saturday, we took Alex out to the mountains for a weekend of hiking and camping.  It was going to be hot, so we wanted to go as high as possible.  We left around 630 and arrived around 10 at Beech Mountain, the highest incorporated town in the eastern US.  Our first stop was at the Buckeye Recreation Center.  I went inside to purchase a trail map as Beech Mountain is very confusing to get around.  Then we started down the Falls Trail.  This trail led down from the playground descending via switchbacks to Buckeye Creek at the confluence with Grassy Gap Creek.

Buckeye Creek Falls was just upstream of the confluence.  We stopped for a few minutes at this surprisingly nice waterfall, though the sun was shining right on it.

A bridge led over the creek and underneath blooming mountain laurel.  The trail followed the creek upstream past some nice cascades.

Soon the trail reached just below the dam at Buckeye Lake.  From here, the trail followed along a fence to the lower parking lot to finish up the loop.  We continued on Pine Ridge Road a short ways and picked up Grassy Gap Trail following its namesake upstream.  Although we were always close to homes, the trail definitely had a wilderness feel and it was easy to forget this was a city trail.  The trail crossed a couple gravel roads and then turned right to follow one, eventually running into Fox Run Trail.

The two trails ran together for a while and then split.  We went right to stay on Red Fox Trail that leads out to Pinnacle Ridge Road.  Just across the main road, we picked up Smoketree Trail that was another gravel road, heading down at first.  Heading back up, there were a couple switchbacks and then we went right to stay on Smoketree Trail.  Eventually, the trail came to a crossing of Buckeye Creek far upstream of the lake and waterfall.  There was a small waterfall here - Upper Buckeye Creek Falls.

It wasn't big or impressive, but there was a picnic table here and it made a nice spot for a break.

We then made the hike back to the car.  It started raining on the way, but nothing heavy.  Our next stop was at Lake Coffey and having the map helped navigating around Beech Mountain.  At the far end of the lake, a small waterfall drained into Pond Creek.  Here we got on Lower Pond Creek Trail and followed its namesake downstream.  Right after the first crossing was a nice drop into a big pool.

It was strange to see the back of a house right behind it.  With high water, Pond Creek was really impressive.

It was almost non-stop cascades and small drops in the creek and it was really rushing.

There were some hemlock varnish shelf mushrooms one a tree at one spot.

This trail was very steep and rocky with a rope to navigate one steep section; unexpectedly difficult for a town trail.

We came to a spot where there was one big cascading slide on the creek and I though this may have been the waterfall, but we continued on a bit.

When we did get to She Falls Falls, there was no doubt that this was the waterfall.

It was really beautiful.  The waterfall was named after a woman fell, breaking her leg and had to be rescued.  I'm surprised she survived!

After some pictures, we made our way back.  Some folks at the trailhead asked how Alex did with the rope section and were impressed he had no trouble.  Before leaving Beech Mountain, we made one more stop at the Parkway Overlook.

It was a nice view but power lines and buildings kind of spoil it.  The half-mile Overlook Trail led down to Perry Park where there was another small waterfall.  Just above it were some nice cascades.

Unfortunately, the waterfall itself was kind of ruined by the culvert pipes above.

Heading down from Beech Mountain, we drove to Newland and made a stop at Bobby McLean Memorial Park, also called Waterfalls Park.  The small roadside park features a really nice waterfall in three sections.  The lowest is easily visible from the road.

A short trail leads to the upper sections.  The middle section was a small veil.

It was possible to see the upper section from here.

Continuing up the short trail, the upper section was about an eight foot steep slide.

Overall, really nice for a roadside waterfall and I'm surprised I hadn't stopped before.  We were getting really hungry at this point so had dinner at Carolina BBQ just up the road.  They had outdoor seating so we could dine with Alex and they even had beer.  Their barbecue and sides were really good - definitely have to remember this place.  After dinner we headed to Linville Falls and set up camp at site B51.  Then we headed to the falls for an evening hike.  First we headed over to Duggers Creek Loop Trail.  Mountain laurel were blooming along the creek.

I wanted to visit Duggers Creek Falls, because the last time I was here, the water level was really low so wanted to stop for a better picture.

The water level was way up the creek was really flowing.

Looping back to the visitor center, there were some flame azalea blooming.

Then we headed on the main trail to the Upper Falls Overlook.  This overlook had been closed but recently reopened.

Looking over the top of the main waterfall, the power of the river was apparent.

Finally, we made on more stop at the Chimneys Overlook for a view of late evening view of Linville Falls.

It was starting to get late so we headed back and made it back to camp just as the sun set.  Someone had left some firewood at our campsite so we built a fire and then went to bed.