waterfall on Phillips Branch
waterfall on Phillips Branch

1-2-11  I had seen this waterfall listed in Kevin Adams' book, but for some reason hadn't taken the time to check it out. It's actually nicer than I expected, but I wouldn't make a special trip to the area just to see it. It's a 10-15 minute easy to moderate hike to this 35' high falls, but a difficult scramble down a bank to get any kind of decent view.

Directions: From Morganton traveling north on NC 181, reset your milage where the 4 lanes goes to 2 lane and drive 10.3 miles to Brown Mountain Beach Road and the church on the right. Turn right and continue for 5 miles to a bridge across Wilson Creek. Turn left on SR 1328 just after the bridge and drive 6.5 miles along Wilson Creek to a 1 lane bridge across Harper Creek. Cross the bridge and park on the left. There's room for at least 3-4 vehicles here. To begin the trail, walk back across the bridge and look for the old logging road on the right. The trail to the waterfall is immediately on the left and heads up the bank just as soon as you turn on to that old road. At the time of my hike, there were several pieces of orange tape tied to some of the smaller trees at the first of the trail.

The trail to the waterfall is easy to follow with a few ups and downs and logs to crawl over and under. Part way in, it picks up Phillips Branch and continues to follow it up to the waterfall. The falls is visible from the trail in the winter, but may be obscured by foliage in warmer weather. I didn't see any scramble path down to the base, so I'm assuming this waterfall isn't visited very much. Just pick the least steep place to descend, then work your way up for this close up view. I visited after some decent rainfall, but I'm guessing the flow would be very meager in drier weather. Most of the waterfall is a slide over some moss covered rock with a cascade area at the top of the falls.

back to Wilson Creek page

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