Nellie's Falls
Nellie's Falls

10-16-17   Nellies Falls is a beautiful 25' waterfall accessed from the same parking area as Flat Creek Falls. My pal Bernie Boyer first found this waterfall in 2006. He suspected the waterfall was there by studying his topo maps and had to do some bushwhacking to find it. There's now a non-official trail all the way to the waterfall. The trail is 0.8 miles long and fairly easy for a seasoned hiker. On my latest visit in October 2017, the trail was in fairly good shape but I had to wade in the creek twice because of the recent rains in the area. If you have Burt Kornegay's excellent Panthertown Valley map, look for Hidden Falls on Flat Creek - it's the same waterfall. The waterfall isn't in Panthertown Valley, but Burt did a nice job of including several waterfalls and trails in the areas surrounding Panthertown. Bernie talked with a lady that once lived in a house where the parking area is and she said it was called Nellies Falls, so that's the name I'm going with.

Directions: From US64 near Lake Toxaway, take NC281 north for 9.2 miles and turn left across a bridge on to the gravel Rock Bridge Rd (SR1140). Drive 3.8 miles to the end of this road and park right next to Flat Creek. This is also the parking area for Flat Creek Falls. There isn't much room here, so you might have to backtrack a bit and park along the road. At 0.8 miles down Rock Bridge Rd, look to the left for the trail head for the Rattlesnake Knob Trail #452 that heads into Panthertown Valley. At 1.7 miles, bear right at a fork on to FR4662. At 2.2 miles from 281, there's a large gravel parking area on the right and the trail head for the Turkey Knob Trail #469 which also leads into Panthertown. 

Begin the hike by either wading across Flat Creek or by taking your chances on the logs crossing Flat Creek. These are high off the creek and if you fall off, you are done for the day - and maybe even longer. Once across, continue up the road for about 100 feet and take the trail to the left. It's an old logging road, but has narrowed down to a trail. It begins over some mounds to keep ATV's out and then heads slightly up hill through the laurel. After about 1/4 mile, look for and take an obvious path to the left. Follow this for about another 1/2 mile, passing a side trail to the left along the way. This old logging road kind of ends at this point, but look for and take a lesser trail bearing to the left towards the creek. Follow this for another 0.1 miles where it ends at a nice little cascade pictured below. You'll be in a low area near Flat Creek, so some of the going may be soggy along this last section of trail.

cascade below Nellies Falls
cascade below Nellies Falls

You'll have to cross the creek at this point and Nellies Falls will be visible through the trees just beyond this cascade. The trail continues behind the big rock on the left to the view of the waterfall shown in the first photo below. There's also an upper section to the waterfall that you can't see from the base of the falls. To get to it, cross back over the creek below the smaller cascade and look for a lesser trail that heads up the slope, then bears left towards the top of Nellies Falls. Use common sense up here and don't take any unnecessary chances that would send you tumbling over Nellies Falls to your death.

Nellies Falls - Nantahala National Forest
Nellies Falls

me at upper Nellie's Falls
me at the upper section of Nellies Falls

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