8-7-16 - Kuykendall Falls is a beautiful 30-40' waterfall that very few people visit. The hike is just under 5 miles one way and most of it is along a gated forest road, but the last 1/4 mile is a steep bushwhack down a bank. Kevin Adams was nice enough to clue me in on this waterfall a few weeks before I attempted to find it way back in 2004. It was one of the new waterfalls in the 2nd edition of his North Carolina Waterfalls book that came out in 2005. The hike is more for the adventurous type. There are no signs indicating a waterfall is here - and you can't see it from the trail - so you could end up hiking 9-10 miles and not finding the waterfall at all. This is where good GPS and map reading skills come into play.
Directions: There are several ways to get to the trail head depending on where you are. From downtown Brevard, drive west on US64 for just under 3.5 miles and look for the right hand turn and brown and white sign for the Kuykendall Group Camp. Turn right here, then immediately bear left on to Catheys Creek Rd which becomes FR471. Drive 3.5 miles on Catheys Creek Rd and park at FR5361 on the right without blocking the gate. You will have passed Catheys Creek Falls. If you are in the Pisgah Center and Fish Hatchery area on 475, drive 6 miles on 475 from the intersection of US276 to Gloucester Gap and turn left on FR471. Drive another 4.5 miles and FR5361 will be on the left. The hike begins on the road beyond the gate.
If you look at your NatGeo Pisgah trail map, You'll see the road begins by heading east, then north, then loops around and heads back south and east, then north and east, etc. Kevin has a really good description in the 3rd edition of his North Carolina Waterfalls book that came out in 2016. He gives mileages and landmarks to spot along the way. I'll get back out there eventually with a GPS and update with more specific stuff. From my notes from 2004, when you get close to the 4 mile mark, cross a very small creek. About 5 minutes later, a creek became visible down the bank to the right. We did this when the leaves were off, so it may or may not be visible when the leaves are on. I thought this was Kuykendall Creek, so I thought we were at the point on the map where the trail gets closest to the creek. Wrong - this is a creek not shown on the map. Keep going and this creek comes up to cross the trail. Go past that and begin heading down the bank at the point on the map where the trail bends to the left (NW). The bank isn't as steep here - keep heading down and to the left and you should end up close to the waterfall. It gets steeper the closer you get to the creek.
I know this is rather vague, but if you have some kind of device that tells you how far you have hiked, use it to get you to just under 4.5 miles from the trail head and you'll be really close to where you need to leave the trail to bushwhack down to the waterfall. This is gamelands also and you can see in the photo below that Bernie has on his orange vest. I highly recommend that you do also if you are hiking during hunting season.
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