Lower Wildcat Falls - Pisgah National Forest
7-16-15 - Here's another waterfall I visited years ago and never added to the site for whatever reason. It's very close to Bubbling Spring Branch Cascades and you can see it from the road in the winter, but there's no trail to get to it. Off trail scramblers won't have a problem getting to it for a better view, but this probably isn't one to bring the kids to. You may also have to get your feet wet if you want a really close up view of the falls.
Directions: For just a winter view of the falls, from the Blue Ridge Parkway, drive north on Hwy 215 for 1.9 miles and park at the pull off on the right. This is 0.1 miles (the next one) past the pull off for Bubbling Spring Branch Cascades. Walk down the road less than 100' and you should see the 40' waterfall through the trees. You won't see anything when leaves are on.
If you want a close up view, you'll have to scramble down the bank to the creek, then follow the creek down stream by climbing around and over the rocks. I just climbed over the guardrail right at the pullout as that seemed to be the best spot to avoid thick vegetation. The waterfall is on the opposite side of the West Fork of the Pigeon River and is on a tributary that feeds into West Fork. It sits back maybe 50' or so from the creek, but you get a good view from this side. The better view is from up close, so you'll have to cross West Fork. If the water level is normal, you may be able to do it without getting your feet wet, but then there's a pool you pretty much have to wade through to get up close and personal with the falls. If you want a little more adventure and like to creek walk and bushwhack, you can have some more fun. When I visited this waterfall in 2015, I parked at the pull off for Bubbling Spring Branch Cascades which is 0.1 miles closer to the Parkway. After playing around a bit at that waterfall, I just headed down the creek. I knew I'd be getting my feet wet, so I came prepared. Heading down to Lower Wildcat from here requires a combination of wading, rock hopping, and scrambling through the woods around the slippery places, but you'll see a beautiful section of West Fork that most folks don't get to see. Here are a few of the areas you'll pass in this short stretch...
Obviously you can do this in reverse - begin at Lower Wildcat then make your way up to Bubbling Spring Branch Cascades. From there you can just walk down Hwy 215 the tenth of a mile back to your vehicle. Below are a couple more shots of Lower Wildcat I got by crossing West Fork, wading the pool, then climbing the rock to the waterfall. If you do this, that rock is slippery when wet!!
Falling Water on West Fork of the Pigeon River from Rich Stevenson on Vimeo.
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