Cove Creek Falls 10-11-14
10-14-14 - The Cove Creek area is really beautiful. Hikes are moderate and mostly kid friendly and there are several cascades in addition to the 50' Cove Creek Falls pictured above. For really small kids you could skip the main waterfall and just hang around the creek in the group camp area. It's a 1.25 mile hike to Cove Creek Falls. You can also continue on the Caney Bottom Trail which passes a waterfall on Caney Bottom Creek and make the hike a fairly easy to moderate 4 mile loop hike. This waterfall is visible from the trail, but isn't really a good photo subject. Most of the trail is through a mixed hardwood forest and the leaf color during peak can be very vibrant. The shot of Cove Creek Falls above was taken during a dry period, but I've also been when the water covered most of the rock face.
Cove Creek Falls 9-25-09
Directions: From the intersection of NC 280 / US64 / US276 near Brevard, drive 5.2 miles north on 276 and turn left on the paved FR475 towards the Pisgah Center. Drive 3.2 miles and park on the left just before the pavement ends at the 1 lane bridge. The gated road to the group camp area is on the right and that's where the hike begins.
Walk past the gate and continue up the road towards the group camp areas. The road soon crosses through Cove Creek - a side trail to the right crosses it on a foot bridge. In 10 minutes or so you'll pass a scenic cascade on the right, but it's a scramble down the bank for a good view. There are some good photo ops here, so it's worth a look.
cascades on Cove Creek 10-11-14
Continue for a short distance and take the blue blazed Caney Bottom Loop Trail on the left to get to Cove Creek Falls. In a short distance, the trail turns to the right and crosses a small stream. Look for the blue blazes on the trees. You'll pass a side trail back down to the group camp area. In another 10 minutes or so, the trail splits with the Cove Creek Trail heading straight on the yellow blazed trail and the Caney Bottom Trail heading right with blue blazes. Continue up the Cove Creek Trail for about 10-15 minutes until you hear the sound of the waterfall on the right and look for a side trail heading down towards the falls. On my last visit in 2014, there was a carsonite sign indicating the waterfall trail at this point. This trail is a little steep and can be slippery when wet. On the way down, 2 side trails head towards the top and middle of the falls. Continue to the 3rd trail to the left which will take you to the base of Cove Creek Falls. You'll notice that the trail continues straight also. This heads down creek and into a primitive camping area just off of the Caney Bottom Trail near the previously mentioned trail split. Back at Cove Creek Falls, you'll have to cross the creek in front of the falls for a good shot of the entire falls. Depending on the water level, you may have to get your feet wet. I've visited this waterfall several times in the past years and there's always been some kind of log or debris in the shot. Also beware of mountain bikes on the Cove Creek Trail. Most are good and realize that they are supposed to yield to hikers, but it's easier for you to just step out of the way and let them by.
If you want to do the loop hike out of this and see a couple more falls, read on. From the base of Cove Creek Falls, head back up to the Cove Creek Trail and turn right. Follow the yellow blazes carefully until you come to another fork that reconnects on to the blue blazed Caney Bottom Trail. Follow it for a bit and Caney Bottom Creek will come up on your left. You'll pass this smaller cascade, but there's no easy way to get in position for a good shot.
The cascade continues past this but it's a scramble to try to get a picture. Continue a short distance farther and you'll come to the larger waterfall. Again, the best view is from the other side and it's a wicked scramble for a good view. This would be a really nice waterfall if it were more open and the logs weren't cluttered near the base. The main part of the waterfall is maybe 30' high.
Continue down the Caney Bottom Trail and follow the blue blazes carefully to get back to the group camp areas. If you walk across the first camping area, you'll see this smaller waterfall with a nice pool at the base. (So if you're running short on time and can't do the entire hike, you can just head from the parking area into the group camp areas - this waterfall is on the right at the first area. If you want to skip this waterfall and stay on trail, keep following the blue blazes back to the first split with the Cove Creek Trail you passed at the beginning of the hike, then turn left to follow the blue blazes back to the road into the group camp area.
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