waterfall on Long Branch
11-23-13 The waterfall on Long Branch isn't worth a separate trip, but can be combined with other waterfalls in the area to complete a day or just to add to your list of waterfalls you've been to. The hike to the falls is a fairly easy 1 mile and is kid friendly, but getting this shot requires a steep scramble up about 50 yards or so and scooting out on some dead logs. The upper drop in this photo is about 15', then the creek spreads out on a steep sloping rock face. The creek then tumbles down towards the road, barely visible through the thick rhododendron.
Directions: From the intersection of NC280 / US64 / US276 near Brevard, drive 5.2 miles north on US276 and turn left on the paved FR475 towards the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. Drive 4.2 miles (passing the parking areas for Cove Creek and Daniel Ridge Falls) and park at the gated FR5095 without blocking the gate. If you are hiking to the waterfalls on Cedar Rock and Grogan Creeks, you can also add the waterfall on Long Branch and come in from that side.
If you park at FR5095, hike up the old road bed for about a mile to the first creek crossing which is Long Branch. Look for a steep scramble trail on the right just before the creek. On my last visit in November 2013, there was flagging tape marking the trail. The trail brings you out to the right side in the above photo. To get a decent shot you have to carefully scoot out on the fallen logs, branches and rock. If you want to add this waterfall to the hike to Cedar Rock and Grogan Creek Falls, park at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Research and follow the directions to Grogan Creek. When you get to the trail split at Long Branch and Butter Gap Trails, take the Long Branch Trail to the right and uphill. This is also a mountain bike trail, so beware! This is the way Cindy and I came in last time and the trail is easy to follow and in good shape. It took us about 35-40 minutes (about a mile) to get to the waterfall from this trail intersection. About 10 minutes up the trail, arrive at Searcy Creek. Bikes go through the creek, but hikers can follow the trail a very short distance up the creek and cross on the log foot bridge. Continue up the trail for 15-20 more minutes and come to the intersection of the unmarked FR5095. Don't take the fainter old road to the right, but take the more obvious road/trail on the right and downhill. Long Branch is about 10 minutes from this point. We could hear the sound of the creek before we got to it and could also see the waterfall up through the trees as we approached the creek. Look for the scramble trail on the left past the creek.
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