5-1-10 These falls are on the north fork of the French Broad River in Transylvania County. The land is private property, but the folks at Living Waters ministry are nice enough to let the public enjoy the beauty. Coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway, drive south on Hwy 215 for about 9.2 miles. Living Waters is on the right, but pass the buildings and parking lot, then try to pull off in the widest area against the guard rail. I say try, because the guard rail is new. I drove by there in April 2010 and noticed new guard rail along a lot of Hwy 215. There used to be some large rocks and a wider shoulder where folks were pulling off for the falls, but the new guard rail has taken up a lot of that space. Make sure your vehicle is completely off the road! Head down the short trail to river level and turn back towards the buildings to see the above falls. Turn left to take the 1/4 mile trail to Cathedral Falls. From the Hwy 64 end, turn north on Hwy 215 and drive about 7.5 miles - Living Waters will be on the left.
I'm sad to say that 2 teenage sisters, Kimberly and Keri Coleman, tragically lost their lives in this area over Thanksgiving 2002. They were visiting their Grandmother and apparently both slipped and fell above one of the waterfalls. My heart goes out to their family and friends. Please be very careful around any falls or cliff area.
Shoal Creek joins with the north fork of the French Broad River right behind the buildings on the property creating the 2 falls in the 1st photo. The falls on the left is the French Broad Falls and the other is Shoal Creek Falls. I'm guessing the falls are 15-20 ft high, and this is a beautiful setting - the rock formations that the falls spill over are almost a semi-circle. The next 2 photos are close ups of each falls.
The trail to Cathedral Falls follows the river and there are several really nice cascades along the way so be sure to head down to the river every chance you get. The next shot is one of them.
The trail ends at the base of the falls, but before you go down you can head out on the bedrock at the top of the falls. Here's DanaBee...
...and Kenny and KT.
These falls are also known as Bird Rock Falls because birds used to nest in the very high rock cliff on one side of the falls. The new owners renamed the falls Cathedral Falls and the name is very fitting. The drop off is about 20 ft and the water here also slides back to the right and into a pool area carving out an area underneath the cliff. The rocks are several shades of oranges, browns, and grays with some purple in the cliffs. I think the yellow is a lichen - it's been there every time we've gone. The area below the falls levels off and it's great place to sit and soak in the beauty.
The last shot is courtesy of Kenny and Dana's camera with the time on. Right to left are KT, Harry, Kenny, Dana, Cathy, me, and the waterfall.
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