Little Bradley Falls
7-15-16 - Little Bradley Falls is a beautiful 35' multi-level falls on Cove Creek, up stream from Big Bradley Falls. The hike to the waterfall is about a mile and is easy to moderate, but requires a wet creek crossing. I've been here several times now, the most recent being in July 2016. Parts of the trail are marked with red blazes, but they aren't consistent. Once you get on - and stay on - the trail, it's very obvious and in fairly good shape.
Directions: Get on I-26 southeast of Asheville heading towards Hendersonville. Pass the Hendersonville exits, take exit 59 for Saluda, then turn left on Holbert Cove Rd (SR 1142) at the stop sign. Drive 3.2 miles and park on the right side just after the road crosses the creek. If there's no room here, you will have just passed the parking for Big Bradley Falls on the left before you crossed Cove Creek. You can park here, then walk back to the point on the right side of the road. The hike begins here. There's no sign or trail marker indicating that this is the trail to Little Bradley Falls.
From the small parking area on the right side of the road, walk towards the obvious gap in the woods. You'll probably first notice the trail that heads down towards the creek, but don't take that - it's a dead end. Instead, look for the red dot on a tree to your left and take the rooty trail up the bank and pick up the obvious trail that heads to the right and up creek. In 3-5 minutes (depending on how fast you walk), the trail goes down a gully and back up the other side. Keep going for another 5 minutes or so and it looks like the trail bends to the left and up a side creek. Don't go to the left here, but head down to the side creek and cross it. The trail picks up on the other side of this creek and continues heading up Cove Creek. Keep going up this trail for another 5-10 minutes and it will end at the creek. If the water level is normal, you probably won't be able to cross without getting your feet wet, so go ahead and plan on it. Once across, pick up the trail continuing up Cove Creek. You'll pass an area of large rocks that were used to help repair the road above you when it washed out years ago. In 10-15 minutes after the crossing you'll cross another small creek, then continue a short distance to the base of the waterfall.
Unfortunately, there can be a lot of trash in the area, but I think most of it washes over the falls during high water from up the creek and collects on the sides of the pool. This is a popular spot in the summer, so go early if you want photos without people. The water has a lot of sediment in it and the bottom of the pool is very muddy. You'll probably notice how people scramble up the right side of the falls to get to the upper levels. Be careful here! The wet rocks are especially slippery in this creek.
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