Red Rock Falls - Courthouse Creek, Pisgah National Forest
Red Rock Falls

I found this nice 40' waterfall on Courthouse Creek in mid March '04. I was exploring an unmaintained trail above Upper Courthouse Falls and the trail led right past it! I didn't see references to it anywhere so I decided to name it Red Rock Falls. When I got there in mid afternoon on that day, the sun was shining on it, bringing out the red and oranges in the wet rock. Courthouse Creek from the upper falls to Red Rock Falls has some beautiful sections with a lot of smaller cascades and moss covered rocks. You should have some experience following faint trails if you plan on doing this hike. The last time I was here was September 2013 and the trail was in decent shape, but I can't promise that now.

Directions: From the Blue Ridge Parkway, head south down Hwy 215 for 6.5 miles. Look for the 2nd sign indicting 'narrow bridge ahead', and turn left on FR140 just after the bridge. From Hwy 64, turn north on NC215 at Headwaters Outfitters. Drive 10.2 miles up 215 (passing the waterfalls at Living Waters) and turn right on FR140 just before the bridge. Drive up the gravel road for 3.2 miles to the end (crossing 4 bridges along the way and passing the trail head for Courthouse Falls) and park without blocking either gate. FR140 isn't always in the best of shape, so drive slowly.

Begin the hike beyond the gate that is straight ahead and follows Courthouse Creek. Hike up the gravel road 15 minutes to Upper Courthouse Falls, but don't cross the creek as if you are heading to the base of the waterfall. Instead, look to the left for a trail leads up towards the top of the falls. There used to be a carsonite stake marking the trail but I didn't notice it the last time I was here. Just a little ways up, a side trail through the dog hobble leads to the top of the Upper Courthouse Falls. Don't take it, but continue up the steeper trail. This soon levels off and follows the left side of the creek, passing several small falls and cascades. There are several creek crossings along the way to the falls, but none require getting your feet wet unless water levels are high. These crossings are not marked, so if it looks like the trail has ended, check the other side to see if it picks up over there. About 1/2 mile past Upper Courthouse Falls, the creek splits and 2 small cascades come together under the rhododendron. You should be on the left side of the creek at this point - cross the creek below the falls and continue up the right fork which is still Courthouse Creek. From here, it's less than 10 minutes to the falls. There will be 1 more creek crossing, so you'll be on the left side again when you reach the falls. There's a nice place at the top of the falls to sit and enjoy the view. It's a scramble down a bank to get to the base, but once there, you safely head up the left side and sit right next to the falls. Below are a couple more shots of the waterfall.

Red Rock Falls

If you are really adventurous and you didn't think getting to Red Rock Falls was that difficult, there's another smaller waterfall about 3/4 of a mile up creek from here. The trail continues up the left side of the creek and eventually crosses it. If you look at a topo map, it shows a dotted line all the way up to Devil's Courthouse, but that old road has faded into the forest. Soon after you cross the creek, look for a large boulder and the sound of falling water. It's a tough scramble to get down for a view, but I think it's worth it if the water is flowing good. The waterfall is about 20' high with a smaller cascade just below a flat area. There is some nicely colored rock here also.

waterfall on Courthouse reek


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