Tumblin' Fun Falls
6-5-10 Tumblin' Fun Falls - or the 50' waterfall pictured above - is on public lands, very close to the road as the crow flies. The reason I say 'or the waterfall pictured above' is that this might not be the Tumblin' Fun Falls that Jim Bob Tinsley talks about in his book The Land of Waterfalls. It's the same one he has a photo of, but... Kevin Adams does a good job of describing the discrepancy in the 3rd edition of his North Carolina Waterfalls book, so I'm not going to repeat all of that here. The problem with accessing the waterfall above is that the easy routes to this waterfall are all through private property. The only legal way is a pretty wicked bushwhack from High Falls and the directions below are to the parking for High Falls.
Directions: From the intersection of US64 and NC281 south in the Lake Toxaway area, turn south on 281 and drive 3.6 miles (passing the entrance to Gorges State Park on the left) to Brewer Rd (SR 1189) on the left. Pull off, but don't drive down Brewer Rd. Instead, park in the wide area next to the bank at the top of the road next to 281. It's paved and there's room for several vehicles here. There's no official trail or signs here indicating that there are waterfalls in this area.
Now, get out your Cashiers quad topo map, locate the Thompson River and find the point where it crosses NC281 south. Follow the river down to the word 'Thompson'. At this point, Mill Creek joins Thompson River from the left. The waterfall is up creek from there. You can see the elevation lines get closer together where the waterfall is. If you keep following Mill Creek to the SW, it will cross 281 just above John's Jump. You might think you could park at John's Jump and follow Mill Creek to the top of Tumblin' Fun Falls, but some of that is private property. Harry and I tried following Thompson River up from High Falls quite a few years ago, but were met with 'No Trespassing' signs all around the creek. This was part of Sweetwater Trout Farm years ago, but now belongs to someone else. If you cross the Thompson River safely above High Falls, you'll be on national forest property. Use your topo map and compass to maneuver around or over the ridges to the waterfall, avoiding all private property. I haven't been that way in a long time, so I have no idea how much of it is posted. If you ever see purple paint on a tree, that's the same as a no trespassing sign. The national forest property is on the southeast side of the creek, which is not where these photos were shot from.
Tumbin' Fun Falls
Now for the interesting twist to the story on this waterfall. A landowner on the opposite side of NC281 has good reason to believe that one of the 2 waterfalls on their property is the real Tumblin' Fun Falls. Kevin explains why in his book. Back in 2010, we were invited by these folks to visit their property to shoot the waterfalls. The first 2 images below are the one they think is the real Tumblin' Fun Falls, the last is a smaller waterfall they call Dorothy Falls. Kevin thinks that this might be the one that Tinsley calls Turn Lathe Falls in his book.
the other Tumblin' Fun Falls
back to the Thompson River page
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