8-3-16 Chestnut Falls is a fairly nice 20' waterfall and is a good add on waterfall if you are visiting Courthouse Falls and have extra time. The hike is just under a mile and is easy to moderate in difficulty. It's kid friendly for the most part, but there's some scrambling to be done once you reach the waterfall to get in position for a good shot.
Directions: From the Blue Ridge Parkway, head south down Hwy 215 for 6.5 miles. Look for the 2nd sign indicting 'narrow bridge ahead', and turn left on FR140 just after the bridge. From Hwy 64, turn north on NC215 at Headwaters Outfitters. Drive 10.2 miles up 215 (passing the waterfalls at Living Waters) and turn right on FR140 just before the bridge. Drive 2.6 miles up the gravel road and look for the gated FR5031 on the right. Park here without blocking the gate.
The hike begins on the other side of the gate. The trail (old road) heads uphill at the beginning, but soon levels off as it heads towards Chestnut Ridge. The canopy is fairly open here and the trail will be lined with whatever sun-loving wildflower is in bloom. On one early fall hike, it was asters, goldenrod, white snakeroot, and gentian. At 3/4 mile into the hike, the road/trail splits and at this point you may hear the sound of the creek and falls to the left. At the time of my last hike in early August 2016, there was a post with 5033 on it dead ahead in the split. Just before the fork and this post, there's a path on the left that heads into the rhododendron and ends at a little used campsite just down from the base of the waterfall. The path can get a little hard to follow in the dog hobble, but you shouldn't have any problems. Below is another photo of Chestnut Falls, then a video of Courthouse, Cody and Chestnut Falls. Chestnut Falls is at the end.
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