waterfall on Hickory Branch
9-18-06 I'm not sure why I hadn't checked out this 30 foot waterfall before now. It was in Kevin Adams 1st waterfall book (and his current book), KT and Cathy went last year and he posted a really nice photo of it, and I've driven by Curtis Creek Rd several times. He mentions clutter around the base and in the waterfall, but you never know when a dead tree or branches will fall or get washed into a falls, or when heavy rains will wash that same clutter away. At any rate, on my visit in mid September 2006, the falls was in great shape and was well worth the short trip to Old Fort from Asheville.
Directions: Take I-40 to Old Fort which is east of Asheville. If you are coming from east of Old Fort, take exit 73 and turn towards downtown Old Fort. After about 1/2 mile, this road ends at Hwy 70 in Old Fort - turn right. If you are coming from Asheville, you can take the Hwy 70 exit (I think it's exit 72) and arrive at this same point. Once here, drive another 1 3/4 miles on Hwy 70 and turn left on Curtis Creek Rd. You should see a brown and white Pisgah Forest sign indicating Curtis Creek Campground. Curtis Creek Rd turns to gravel in less than 3 miles and enters the National Forest as FR482. Drive a total of 5 miles from Hwy 70 into Curtis Creek Campground and park on the left in either of the 2 gravel parking pads. There's an info board on this side also. On the right will be several camping pads - the trail head is on this side. From the parking side, look straight across and slightly right for a carsonite stake indicating the Hickory Branch trail.
The trail is moderate in difficulty - it's between 1/2 to 3/4 miles to the waterfall. The trail begins by heading straight up a bank. You can do this or take the trail to the left that switchbacks up and arrives at the same point. Once at the top, head straight down the other side. (Don't take the trail to the left at the top of the ridge.) You'll see Hickory Branch down in front of you. The trail splits and you can take either one towards the branch. Cross Hickory Branch and take the trail up creek. It's easy to follow, but you will have to cross the creek again back to the left side. The trail gets a little steeper as it ascends to the waterfall and you can get the view in the above photo from a bank overlooking the falls. To get to the base, you'll have to scramble down the steep bank and head up creek. The best place seemed to be from this point, then up the left side through the dog hobble and over a log or 2. The official trail does head up to the top of the falls.
NOTE: Curtis Creek Campground is open from April 11 - December 31. The road to the campground is gated in the off season.
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