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Birthday Waterfalls in Pisgah Forest

posted Aug 29, 2017, 4:26 PM by Justin P   [ updated Sep 6, 2017, 4:04 PM ]
Friday was Sandy's birthday and we celebrated by taking Alex camping in the mountains.  We left Raleigh around 530 and got to Pisgah Forest around 10.  Just before 276, we turned on Old NC-280 and then made a left on Turkey Creek Road and followed to the end.  There was a fork here and we took the right split and immediately rock-hopped across South Prong Turkey Creek.  Right after the crossing, we turned left on a more overgrown path following South Prong upstream.  From here, it was just a short ways further to Laughing Falls.  We could see it from the path, but it was a steep scramble down to the base.  We initially went down to far downstream to see the actual waterfall.


There were some nice cascades here, but couldn't see the falls.  So we climbed back up to the trail and went a little further then steeply down to the base.  According to legend, the Cherokee named this waterfall because it sounds like laughter.  I really didn't think it sounded any different than other falls.


After some pictures, we headed back.  Driving into Pisgah National Forest on US-276, we turned left on FR-475.  Right after the fish hatchery,  we went right on FR-475B and drove to the trailhead for Slick Rock Falls.  We could hear the waterfall from the parking area and so it was a very short hike.


The water level was a little low, but this was still a nice waterfall.


We had a little snack here and I scrambled behind the waterfall.  It was cool looking up at the thin veil of water pouring over the rock face.


Since it was such a short hike, we decided to continue on the trail.  It leads about a mile to the base of Looking Glass Rock.  I've seen it from a distance along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but never so close.  The scale of the massive cliffs is really amazing.


I got some pictures, then started heading back.  I spotted some cute little red mushrooms along the trail.


Back at the car, we got back on US-276 and drove a little further to Sliding Rock Recreation Area.  This area is usually so crowded that I've never visited before, but today being a weekday and it wasn't too hot, Sliding Rock wasn't that crowded.


I changed into a batching suit and we headed over to the waterfall.  The water was really cold, but I had to slide down the falls a couple times.  It was too cold for Sandy so she waited with Alex and watched.  The first time down, I could barely breathe after hitting the water, it was so cold.


But getting out, I warmed up quick.  I slid down the falls four times before I had enough.  After drying out, we headed back and continued up US-276 a little further and turned left on FR-475B (the other end).  It was about a mile and a half to the gated FR-5043 where we parked.  A family with two dogs was hiking out and Alex enjoyed getting to sniff a couple other dogs.  We followed the forest road for about a half a mile to the first tributary and took a worn path upstream to Discovery Falls.


This tributary is small so the waterfall didn't have much flow.  There were some flowers blooming up near the top of the falls.


Continuing on the forest road, we next came to the crossing of Log Hollow Branch.  Log Hollow Falls is just upstream of the road.


Even in low water, it's still quite scenic.  And with low water, we it was easier to see the beautiful rocks that the stream flows over.


Form here, we followed a path upstream to Upper Log Hollow Falls, just a short ways from the lower falls.  From the trail, I could see it was quite high, but from the base, only part of the falls was visible.


There was too much vegetation around the base for any view of the entire waterfall, but I could get a profile shot from part of the ways up.


Back at the forest road, we spotted a lot of wildflowers blooming along the road.


The clearing for the road provides enough sunlight for the flowers to bloom in summer.  Butterflies knew where to come as well - we spotted a hoary edge along here.


We continued up the road another half mile or so to Logging Road Falls.  This waterfall is roadside; it really wouldn't be worth any more effort to see.


It is very low flow and mostly obscured by vegetation.  There were more flowers here; a much better photo subject than the waterfall.


Then we headed back to the car and drove down 276 to Davidson River Campground.  After setting up our tent, we got takeout from Hawg Wild and had dinner at the campsite and built a campfire.  It had been a long day and we didn't stay up late.