We got a really nice surprise the day we decided on this hike. There aren't any falls listed in the books up this trail, but when I was looking at the map before the 1st hike to Shuck Ridge Creek Falls, I noticed several other creeks farther down the trail that come off of the same mountain and went 'hmmm'. Instead of going the same way we went to Shuck Ridge, we decided to park at the same place as if we were going to Daniel Ridge Falls, but take the red blazed Daniel Ridge Loop Trail up to the Farlow Gap Trail. If you've got the Pisgah trail map, it's trail #45. From the fish hatchery, drive about 2.5 miles on FR475 to the parking area on the right. Go past the gate, over the bridge, and the trail head is on the left and marked with a stake.

The trail is easy to begin with and follows the Davidson River up stream. There are numerous campsites all along the way. About 1/4 mile in, some log stairs lead up to the right. A short distance after the stairs, the trail splits. The red blazed main trail heads to the right, but you can also take the smaller trail to the left which is closer to river level and gives better views of the river. This smaller trail will connect back to the main trail after a group of campsites and the 25-30' cascade in the above photo. Scramble back up to the main trail and soon after the trail bears right. The first thing you'll see is a washed out bridge over Right Fork. The trail on the other side of that continues following the river for a ways, but the red blazed main trail heads up Right Fork. On a trip a couple of days later, I continued up the Davidson River - click here to see what I saw, after you finish reading this page.

The Right Fork is a beautiful stream. We saw it in wetter weather, and I'm not sure how much it dries up in leaner times. Just past the washed out bridge is this nice 15' falls pictured below.

The trail continues at moderate incline with nice views of Right Fork, then at a total of about 2 miles from the parking area, turns sharply to the right to start the other half of the loop. At this point, we kept heading north along Right Fork and across the log bridge. This is now the Farlow Gap Trail and we followed it north for a short way until the 1st switchback. From this point there's no real trail, but it's evident that people - probably fishermen - have passed this way. The going isn't too tough, but there's lots of stinging nettle (a nasty plant) and a few briars to contend with. We stayed on the left side until we came to the small falls pictured below. At this point, we crossed and continued up the right side.

The next 2 photos are more small falls we found before the point where Lanning Branch joins Right Fork, which I think is farther up than indicated on the map. The last shot is a larger falls - maybe 25' - which is just past Lanning Branch, still on Right Fork. At this point we turned around, but there's lots more to explore up creek on another day. There's also Daniel Ridge Creek which is the next stream to the west, before Shuck Ridge Creek. I hope to get back there soon.

 

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