Poundingmill Branch Falls
7-28-16- Poundingmill Branch Falls is another overlooked waterfall in the Pisgah Ranger District. It's not on any maps and the folks at the visitor center will not have heard of it either. There's no official trail to it, but most of the 1 mile hike is along a grassy forest road and unmarked trail. The last 1/4 mile of the hike is off trail - about half through open woods and the rest climbing over fallen trees and the such to get the view in the above photo. My friend Bernie Boyer found this waterfall and several others in 2007 when he was exploring the creeks that come off of the eastern and southern slopes of the Pisgah Ridge. He took me there shortly afterwards, but I never added it here to the site. I went back in July 2016 to get updated conditions and photos, but water levels in this area have been low and there wasn't much water coming over the 40' falls. Kevin Adams talks about these on pages 185-186 in the 3rd edition of his North Carolina Waterfalls book.
Directions: Head north on US276 from the NC280 / US276 / US64 intersection for 10.1 miles and turn left on the gravel FR475B. If you are coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway, drive south on US276 for 4.7 miles and turn right on FR475B. Drive 0.1 miles on FR475B and park on the left at the dispersed camping site. The hike begins at the narrow gravel road (FR5032) on the right directly across from where you park.
There are 2 routes you can take to this waterfall and both of then begin by walking up 5032 towards the gate. If you are just going to Poundingmill Branch Falls, before you get to the gate, take the trail to the right towards the camp site. Before you get to the camp site, look for a smaller path on the left that's only a very short distance up the trail. Follow this trail for 1/4 mile and it will bring you out on the grassy FR5032. Across that will be a wildlife clearing which may or may not have been mowed. Turn right and follow 5032 for another 1/2 mile where it ends. You could have also stayed on 5032 the entire way, but this is shorter. If you happen to be going to Bennett Cove Falls first, you would stay on 5032.
Once you get to the end of 5032, you are very close to Poundingmill Branch. Head out through the woods at about a 45° to the left and up creek. You may or may not notice a very faint hunting/fishing trail, but you'll want to get to the creek before the hike gets steeper. Once at the creek, follow it up to the base of the waterfall. You may see the big rock wall to the right of the falls before you spot the falls. We had to climb over a big fallen old tree right before the falls that could prove challenging for shorter people. Pick the best and easiest way for you and be careful! Below is a shot of the falls from 2007 when the water flow was a lot better.
Poundingmill Branch Falls
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