Avery Creek Falls
4-20-16 There are 2 waterfalls on Avery Creek that are well worth the 3.5 mile round trip hike to see. The hike to the first waterfall - Avery Creek Falls - is less than 1/2 mile and is quite nice. The trail is fairly easy and is kid friendly up to the point where the trail passes the top of the waterfall. The scramble down to the base (and swimming hole) is a little sketchy, so it's up to parents to determine what their kids are capable of. The kids might actually do better than some of the adults. Even though the waterfall is only 10-15' high, it makes for a nice photo. The 25' high Upper Avery Creek Falls is also accessed from the same trail. The hike is easy for the most part up to the point where you have to scramble down a steep bank to get to the base for a good view of the waterfall. This hike can be combined with either the hike to the waterfall on Clawhammer Creek, or Twin Falls on Henry Branch - or both!
Directions: From the intersection of NC 280 / US64 / US276 near Brevard, drive north on US276 into the Pisgah Forest for 2.2 miles and turn right on the gravel Avery Creek Rd (FR477). There's a sign indicating the Pisgah Riding Stables are up this road. Drive 2.2 miles up FR477, passing a group camp area on the right, some dispersed camping sites on the right and left, and the stables. Look for a small pull out on the right at 2.2 miles and the marker for the blue blazed Avery Creek Trail and park here. This is the same parking for the waterfall on Clawhammer Creek. Space is limited - if there's none here you can continue up the road for about 1/4 mile and park at the Buckhorn Gap trail head (Twin Falls parking), then walk back, or check your Pisgah map to see how you can take the Buckhorn Gap trail to the Avery Creek trail, then back to Clawhammer Creek.
The blue blazed Avery Creek trail begins by heading down hill to pick up Avery Creek. In less than 10 minutes, the trail turns right and crosses the creek on a foot bridge. After the crossing, the trail splits. Clawhammer Creek trail heads right, but you'll take the Avery Creek trail to the left. The trail can be muddy in wetter weather and will cross a creek coming in from the right. In about 20 minutes from the trail head, the trail passes the top of the waterfall. You should notice a scramble trail at the top of the waterfall that will take you to the top of the waterfall and then to the base. Be careful here - the drop isn't that high, but a fall could be serious! Always remember that wet rocks can be very slippery!
Avery Creek Falls
If you plan on seeing Upper Avery Creek Falls, get back on the Avery Creek Trail and continue past Avery Creek Falls. Cross a wet weather area with a very small waterfall coming down from the right, then cross a small creek on a foot bridge at another small falls. In a short distance, arrive at the intersection of the orange blazed Buckhorn Gap Trail coming in from the left. (If you had to park at that trail head, you would hike to this point, then turn right on the Avery Creek Trail to get to Avery Creek Falls.) From this point, both trails continue to the right and the trail will be both blue and orange blazed. Just ahead, horses continue straight and cross through the creek to continue on the trail, but hikers continue to the left. When you get to the log at the creek with a big notch cut out of it, step down through the notch and the trail hugs the creek. Continue up the creek on the left side for about 0.1 miles to the point where the trails split. The Buckhorn Gap Trail heads to the right and over the creek towards Twin Falls, but you will continue up the blue blazed Avery Creek Trail. From here, continue for just over 1/2 mile crossing 4 small tributaries along the way. During dry spells, these may or may not have water in them. After crossing the 4th, the trail begins to head more steeply up hill. In just a couple of minutes, you should here the sound of the waterfall on the right. There's a very faint trail that heads down the bank, but I missed it on my first try looking for it. After passing it, I could see the very top of the waterfall from the trail, went back and found the scramble path. Once I found it, it was fairly obvious which way I had to go to get to the base. I had to duck under a fallen tree or 2, but overall it wasn't that bad. There's a lot of moss around the base of the falls, so please tread lightly if you go! There's a lot of clutter around the base of the falls that has been there for a while. Please don't disturb it as it's probably home to salamanders and other critters that like this type of habitat.
Upper Avery Creek Falls
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