Picklesimer Rock House Falls
update 7-21-20 I haven't been to this waterfall in a while, but someone emailed me with a photo of a very large dead tree that has fallen with the trunk end leaning against the top of the falls and the top end of the tree at the base. It's still a cool place to visit, but your prize winning photo ops might be limited. Thanks for the info and photo Brett Christoffersen!
Picklesimer Rock House Falls is lesser known waterfall in the Highlands area that is well worth visiting. The waterfall looks best after a lot of rain like in the picture above. During drier times, the falls may look more like the first picture below. The half mile trail is an easy hike and the reward is a 40' free falling waterfall in front of a deeply recessed rock house.
Directions: From the intersection of US64 and NC28 in Highlands, drive 5.8 miles south on 28 and take a sharp right on SR1618 (Blue Valley Rd) at a sign for the Blue Valley Campground. This road becomes gravel and FR79. Drive 4.2 miles down this well maintained road through the Nantahala National Forest and park at an old logging road heading up to the right. It's gated, but the gate is maybe 50-75 yards up, so you won't see it from the parking spot. Hike up the logging road past the gate and continue for less than 1/2 mile to a wildlife clearing. Pass through the clearing to a creek and take the trail to the right up the creek a short distance to the falls.
I've been to this waterfall 3 times now - the last time being in 2010. Two time the water flow was very low and the other time was during a period of a lot of rain. The setting is absolutely wonderful. Steep hills flank both sides of the falls and the rock house is undercut enough to provide shelter during a rain storm. There aren't very many waterfalls in North Carolina that you can get behind and this is one of the best.
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