Soco Falls - June 2008
6-13-08 Great news! Some big improvements have been made at Soco Falls and this is now a waterfall that can be considered family friendly. There is now a nice viewing deck with a good view of the taller of the 2 waterfalls. This used to be a popular place for the pigs to dump their trash, but it appears that a lot of that has been cleaned up.
Directions: From Maggie Valley, head up Hwy 19 south to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Cross under the Parkway and continue downhill on Hwy 19 towards Cherokee. From the Parkway, it's 1.5 miles to an unmarked pullout on the left side of the road. There's a small blue sign indicating Soco Falls .5 miles ahead, but my odometer measured it at .3 miles from that sign. There's no sign at the pullout, but you can hear the waterfalls from the parking area and there's a break in the guard rail. I don't have an exact mileage from Cherokee, but the map indicates it's about 10 miles and I think there is one of those blue signs coming from that direction also.
The trail begins at the break in the guard rail. Don't take the smaller steep trail heading straight down, but take the trail along the guard rail away from the falls for a short distance, then cut back down towards the viewing deck. It's less than 5 minutes from the parking area and is kid friendly. The viewing deck is well built and a good size and it looks like a few trees have been cleared to improve the view. The picture below is the view you will have from the deck. The taller falls which the map indicates is Soco Falls can be clearly seen, but there's not a very good view of the smaller falls on the left.
Most of you will want a better view and you'll notice a trail leading down from one end of the deck. Follow it for as far as you think it's safe. It's not very far to this view near the top of the smaller falls. It's fairly safe if you stay on the trail. Do not go out to the top of the waterfall!
Just a little bit more scrambling will get you the view in the picture below. You'll see where people have scrambled to the base from here, but the steep bank is very unstable and is littered with broken glass. Someone has tied a thin cable to assist in the descent, but this isn't very safe. Most of the foliage along the base is stinging nettle, so you'll have that to contend with also - and there's more pig trash down here too. The 1st picture on this page is from the base.
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