Grassy Creek Falls

3-9-07  I heard about this waterfall a couple of years ago, but was under the impression that it's on private property - and I think it is. But Ray's Weather Center featured the waterfall recently in their Life Outdoors section with directions. It also stated that there was a sign with a map carved in it with directions. That sounded like an invitation to me, so I headed that way. Since I was heading there via I-40, I decided to stop by Toms Creek Falls in Marion off of Hwy 221. These 2 waterfalls make a great day trip and are easy hikes.

Directions: If you are coming via the Blue Ridge Parkway, get off at the Little Switzerland exit around MP335. Turn right, go under the Parkway, and take an immediate right on the gravel Grassy Creek Falls Rd. If you are coming from west of Old Fort, take I-40 east down the Old Fort grade and take the Hwy 70 exit at the bottom. Hwy 70 goes into downtown Old Fort and continues towards Marion. The 2 lane will change to 4 in Marion just before it crosses Hwy 221. Take a left on 221 north. If you are coming from east of Marion, take the Hwy 221 exit in Marion and continue to the Hwy 70 intersection. Continue north on 221 for about 6.5 miles to the stop light at Hwy 226. You will have passed the left turn for Toms Branch Falls. Turn left on Hwy 226. After a mile or so, 226 turns right. I continued straight on Hwy 226A to avoid most of the traffic and big trucks. 226A winds it's way up the mountain for about 10 miles to Little Switzerland. Turn left at the sign for the Blue Ridge Parkway, drive under the BRP and take an immediate right on the gravel Grassy Creek Falls Rd.

On my visit in March '07, the road sign was knocked down, but it was still readable. Drive 0.3 miles and park without blocking any of the drives. There is only room for maybe 3 vehicles, so you may have to turn around and park back up the road on the side. Do not drive down any farther than this. There are signs indicating this, but I'm sure there are idiots that do it anyway. On the sign above, the brown area on the left is the parking. Walk straight down the road - which heads down and is a little more curvy than the sign indicates - for 5-10 minutes or so until you get to the gate (closed on my visit). Take the lesser road that cuts back hard to the right. In a few minutes you'll cross a creek, and in another few you will be at the top of the waterfall.

The waterfall is in several sections and it's a rather steep descent down the bank to get a better view. The rock near the top is unstable, so I suggest going down the road a bit more where it isn't as steep.

The top section is a 15-20' drop and there's room to get behind the falls. The rocks here are extremely slippery, though. The waterfall then levels out for a few yards and drops off of a small shelf. It then cascades down a couple more levels or so. There was a lot of clutter covering the falls below here.

I'm looking forward to heading back to this waterfall when the foliage greens up again. Many thanks to the landowner who has allowed others to enjoy this beautiful spot!


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