Daniel Ridge Falls 2-3-08
This may be confusing, but Daniel Ridge Falls isn't on the nearby Daniel Ridge Creek, it's on Toms Spring Branch. Jim Bob Tinsley calls it Toms Spring Falls in his book and so is Kevin Adams in his newest waterfall guide, so I should also. But it's also known as Jackson Falls, so take your pick. The falls is over 100 feet high, very pretty, and well worth the easy kid friendly hike to get to it. Toms Spring Branch is a low flow creek, so the waterfall won't be at it's best during drier weather.
Directions: From the intersection of NC280 / US64 / US276 near Brevard, drive 5.2 miles north on US276 and turn left on the paved FR475 towards the Pisgah Center. Drive 3.9 miles and park in the dirt lot on the right. FR475 turns to gravel after Cove Creek Group Campground at 3.2 miles. Begin the hike at the red gate.
Walk past the gate and some primitive camp sites on the right and in a short distance come to the bridge at the Davidson River. Once across, continue past more primitive sites and pass the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail on the left. (This leads up river more primitive camp sites.) Continue up the road (trail) for less than 1/2 mile. The road has become very washed out and gullied in the past few years and I'm not sure if the forest service will ever remedy the situation. The other end of the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail is on the left just before you get to the waterfall. You'll first come to a side trail that will take you up for a closer view of the upper section of the waterfall - continue down the trail/road for the frontal view of the falls. The photo below is a closer view of the top of the falls, then is a close up of how water clings to the undercut rock on sections of this waterfall. The video below that really shows this. I shot the video on a dreary late December day, so the scenery is kind of drab looking.
Toms Spring Falls has undergone quite a change in looks since I first photographed it in 2001. There was a huge healthy hemlock in front of the waterfall (actually blocking the view), then it became infested with woolly adelgid and died a slow death. It finally fell I think some time in 2013 and the waterfall now has a new look. Below is a series of shots with and without the hemlock and with various water levels.
October 13, 2001
October 11, 2009
December 28, 2012
October 15, 2014
There's another waterfall up creek from this one. It's not as big, but nice after a good rain. Hike past Toms Spring Falls and continue up the road for just under a mile and a half (it took me 30 minutes to hike back down one time). The falls will be just off the road on the right - you'll hear it. It's a fairly easy uphill hike and the road becomes more grassy. It had rained the night before I went one time and my boots and socks were soaked by the time I got back to my vehicle, so keep this in mind. A heavy dew will give you the same result. Not sure if they ever mow the road. Anyhow, the falls is about 30' and I thought it was well worth the hike. If you know how to read the trail map, you can also get to this waterfall by heading up the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail.
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