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Yellowstone Falls

posted Oct 30, 2018, 1:11 PM by Justin P   [ updated Nov 2, 2018, 3:52 PM ]
Sunday morning, I broke camp after waking.  The rest of the group was unsure of their plans so I took off towards Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I managed to get a legal parking spot at the overlook; with little fall color left, Graveyard Fields wasn't as popular as usual.


Hiking down towards the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, I first stopped at Second Falls.  It was sunny and the lighting was poor, but it was really pretty in high water.


As this one is crowded, I moved on after a few pictures.  I finished up Mountains-to-Sea Access (#358B) and went right to go eastbound on MST.  In about a quarter-mile, I turned right off the trail to a campsite and headed down to the creek above Yellowstone Falls.  Crossing here was tricky in high water and I had to jump to avoid getting my feet wet.  Luckily, the rocks were dry.  On river right, a steep path led down along the falls.  It was little better than nothing and I had to crouch the entire way.  I first came out near the middle.


But there was more waterfall below and it got really steep from this point.  Monkey climbing down the rhododendron was the only way down to the base.


It was still sunny so not great for pictures but a little fall color was showing.  There was even a little rainbow in the spray.


I then made started making my way back.  I must have gotten off the path as it seemed to be even worse rhodos getting back up.  But soon I was back to the creek and then the MST.  My next stop was Bubbling Springs Cascade along NC215.  This is another great area for fall color, but most of the leaves had already fallen.  I climbed down from the road and rock hopped up to the base.


The water was way up, but the sun was shining right on it.  I then headed to the MST parking along NC-215.  Entering Middle Prong Wilderness, I followed Bubbling Springs Branch upstream, which was a little tricky.  I remembered this being easy in the past, but the water level was a lot lower.  Again, the sun was shining right on Lower Bubbling Springs Falls.


So I crossed the creek and climbed further up.  Most of Upper Bubbling Springs Falls was in the shade, so looked a lot better.


After a few pictures, I headed back.  I wasn't quite ready to leave yet, so hiked a short ways on MST eastbound towards Graveyard Fields.  The trail followed a small tributary upstream but it was too small for any major drops.  I took the Blue Ridge Parkway towards Asheville heading home and made a few stops on the way.  East Fork Overlook was right above Yellowstone Falls.


I could hear it down below but it was hidden from view.  Cradle of Forestry Overlook had nice views down the escarpment but color wasn't close to peak yet.


Mills River Overlook was similar.


I made one last stop at Bad Fork Overlook; at much lower elevation, there was little color change.


Then it was a long drive home.