6-2-07
Cedar Rock Falls  6-2-07 

7-3-24  The 2 waterfalls on Cedar Rock Creek and one on Grogan Creek are all less than 20' high, but have a lot of character and are definitely worth the hike. Cedar Rock Falls is one of my favorite small waterfalls and Grogan Creek Falls is right up there with it. The hike to all 3 waterfalls is easy to moderate and kid friendly, but requires a little scrambling near the falls to get good views and photos. There have been a lot of trail improvements and reroutes in this area in the past year, and I'll discuss those changes below. Many of the changes were to make the trails more mountain bike friendly and to move the trails from flood prone and sensitive areas. The hike to Cedar Rock Falls is just under a mile. Grogan Creek Falls is a 2 mile hike one way. There are several ways to access these waterfalls, but I'm mostly going to concentrate on the directions from the Pisgah fish hatchery near Brevard,

Directions:  From the intersection of NC 280 / US64 / US276 near Brevard, drive 5.2 miles north on US276 and turn left on the paved FR475 towards the fish hatchery. (The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education at the fish hatchery suffered major damage from flooding in 2021 is closed.) Drive 1.4 miles - passing the parking for the Looking Glass Rock trail - and turn left into the fish hatchery parking area. This is a popular parking spot for backpackers, day hikers, bikers, and people fly fishing on the Davidson River so it will be busy during warm weather. All 3 of these waterfalls are accessed from the end of the Cat Gap Loop Trail that is closest to the hatchery. (The other end of the loop trail is at the opposite end of this parking lot.) To find the trail head, walk towards the now closed Pisgah Center, look to your left and take the paved drive that leads a short distance to the gated FR475C. Pass the gate and the Cat Gap Trail is just a few yards up on the right.

Begin the trail by heading up the timber and crushed stone steps. First stop will be Cedar Rock Falls. This section of the trail is shared with mountain bikes, so keep an eye out for them. Continue for just under 1/4 mile and cross a new foot bridge over a wet area. Continue for a short distance and come to Cedar Rock Creek. There used to be a foot bridge here also, but it got wiped out in the 2021 flood and so far they haven't replaced it. During normal water flow, you should be able to cross on the rocks without getting your feet wet, but probably not during high water. Once you cross the creek, pass the gravel road on the left and continue a short distance up to a 'T'. The new section of Butter Gap Trail goes to the right and is for mountain bikes and hikers. (I haven't hiked it yet, but you'll meet back up with it later in the hike.) You want to follow the old trail to the left which is now hikers only. At the time of my last hike, there was no sign indicating the waterfall or anything was this way, but it's still part of the Cat Gap Trail. From this point, hike uphill for about 0.4 miles and begin looking for a side trail to the left. There's never been a sign here indicating Cedar Rock Falls is down this trail, and may never be. If water flow is decent, you might hear the waterfall or catch a glimpse of it through the trees. The side trail heads off the main trail at a 'V' and is easy to pass if you aren't paying attention, but it's an obvious trail once you find it. Head down this trail towards the sound of the waterfall, crossing over a fallen log or 2. You'll come out along the rock wall in the first picture on this page. At the end of the wall, look to the left and take the scramble trail over the roots down to the base of the falls. Be careful if you head out on the boulders, they can be slippery if wet!

Cedar Rock Falls 10/13/02

Once you are done here, follow the same trail back up to the Cat Gap Trail and head left. In another tenth of a mile or so, look for a steep scramble trail on the left that heads down to a nice primitive camp site next to Upper Cedar Rock Falls. The first steep trail you might notice heads back down towards the waterfall you were just at, so don't take it. Upper Cedar Rock Falls is on the right at the camp site. It's only about 10' high, but is very scenic.


Upper Cedar Rock Falls

From the upper waterfall, head back up to the Cat Cap Trail. To get to Grogan Creek Falls, turn left and come to a trail intersection. Cat Gap Trail goes left here, but you want to stay right. This used to be Butter Gap Trail, but is now called Pickelsimer Connector. Take this trail past several nice primitive camp sites, then on to the rerouted section of trail which winds through a laurel thicket. In less than 1/2 mile, come to the intersection of the new section of the Butter Gap Trail which is shared with mountain bikes. Turn left here to continue to Grogan Creek Falls. The new section of the trail I spoke of earlier is to the right. Once you turn left on Butter Gap Trail, hike another 1/4 mile or so to the intersection of Long Branch Trail which will take you up to Long Branch Falls. Stay on the Butter Gap Trail to the left (south). In less than 1/2 mile, you'll hear and maybe see the top of a smaller waterfall on Grogan Creek. There is a scramble trail down, but it only goes to near the top of the waterfall with no view of anything. Continue on the Butter Gap Trail for a short distance farther to where the creek gets closer to the trail and the top of the 15-20' high Grogan Creek Falls is very obvious. Stay away from the top of the waterfall! If you fall here you will die. Look for the scramble trail that cuts hard to the left and down to the base of the falls. There are roots to hold on to on your way down, but it can be tricky for some.

Do check your maps for alternate or longer hikes. You could add Long Branch Falls to the hike. Or you could start at the trail head for Long Branch Falls and just do Long Branch and Grogan Creek - or all 4.

Grogan Creek Falls
Grogan Creek Falls

Grogan Creek Falls

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