waterfall on upper South Toe River

5-31-15  Here are 3 waterfalls that I had no idea were here and 2 of them are right next to a forest service road right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 3rd one (pictured above) is just out of sight of the road and requires a very short scramble in the rhododendron to see. If you are on the section of the Parkway north of Mt Mitchell State Park and south of Hwy 80. It's worth a stop to see at least 2 of the waterfalls.

Directions: If you are heading north on the Parkway from Mt Mitchell, look for MP352 and take the 1st left about 0.1 miles past this mile post on to a gravel road. This is FR472, but isn't signed as such until you drive a very short distance and pass through the gate. If you are driving south on the Parkway from Hwy 80, look for the right turn on to FR472 about 0.9 miles after MP351. Drive slowly down this gravel road for about a mile, cross the first bridge, then go over the second bridge and park on the left at the Bald Knob Ridge trail head. The first waterfall you'll see is a small one and is just up creek from the bridge and is pictured below. If this waterfall were the only one in the area, I probably wouldn't even add it to the site. The creek at this point is considered the Left Prong of the South Toe River.

waterfall on Left Prong of the South Toe River

From the map, it appears as if the South Toe River begins just down stream from the bridge, and that's where the waterfall at the top of the page is. You can't see it, but it's tucked in that bend in the river just down from the bridge. You'll see where people have scrambled down to below the bridge. Do that, but head to the left a bit and you'll see a way to scoot down to creek level below the waterfall. The waterfall isn't more than 10' high, but all the moss on the rocks make for a beautiful setting. If you are willing to cross the creek, you'll get the view of the waterfall pictured below. Please be careful and don't disturb the moss on the rocks. It took many years for it to get established!

waterfall on South Toe River

To see the 3rd waterfall continue down FR472 for 0.8 miles and pull over on the right just before the bridge. The stream here is the Right Prong of the South Toe River and the waterfall is on the left just up stream from the bridge.

waterfall on Right Fork of the South Toe River


The waterfall is maybe 30' high and is made up of smaller cascades with a slide at the bottom. As a bonus, walk past the bridge and look for a faint side trail that heads up through the trees. The short trail comes back to the creek just above the very top of the above waterfall. Here you will find more smaller cascades with lots of photo opportunities or just some quiet time near a beautiful mountain stream (pictured below). If you continue along FR472 for another 3 miles, you'll come to the Black Mountain Campground where you can see Setrock Creek Falls.

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