Twin Boulder Falls
8-11-16 - Twin Boulder Falls on Right Fork is an outstanding free-falling waterfall that very few people get to see. Part of the trek requires some off trail travel, which is not something everyone is willing to do to see a waterfall. The total distance to the waterfall is 2.8 miles one way and it's only the last 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile or so that isn't on an official trail. Total elevation gain on this hike is about 1300', so be sure to take that into consideration. Know your limitations before you go! Trail head parking for Twin Boulder Falls is the same as Tom Spring Falls (aka Daniel Ridge Falls).
Directions: From the intersection of NC280 / US64 / US276 near Brevard, drive 5.2 miles north on US276 and turn left on the paved FR475 towards the Pisgah Center. Drive 3.9 miles and park in the dirt lot on the right. FR475 turns to gravel after Cove Creek Group Campground at 3.2 miles. Begin the hike at the red gate.
Walk past the gate and some primitive camp sites on the right and in a short distance come to the bridge over the Davidson River. Once across, continue past more primitive sites and turn left on the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail. (Staying straight here takes you to Tom Spring Falls.) Continue along this flat section of the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail past some more primitive camping sites along the river on your left. In less than 1/2 mile, you may notice what looks to be a new section of trail. The trail used to do a little dipsy doodle here, but it was straightened out about a year or so ago. Right after this, notice an unmarked trail veering off to the left. This is worth exploring at some point as there are some nice cascades and small waterfalls along this stretch of the river, but keep to the right to continue to Twin Boulder Falls. Continue on the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail for another 1/2 a mile or so. When the leaves are off, you can see the previously mentioned side trail down the bank to the left. This trail comes back up to meet the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail and just beyond this area, you'll come to where there used to be an old bridge across Right Fork. The stone support walls are still there. At this point, the trail turns right and heads up hill along Right Fork. In a short distance, look for a short steep foot path that heads down to a small unnamed waterfall on Right Fork.
It's definitely worth a look if water flow is good. The trail continues up for 0.7 miles to the intersection of the Farlow Gap Trail. At this point, you will bear left on the Farlow Gap Trail. The Daniel Ridge Loop Trail bears to the right and will eventually come back down to Tom Spring Falls, so check your trail map and consider this as an alternate way back to the parking area once you get back from Twin Boulder Falls. Once you get on the Farlow Gap Trail, you'll have to cross Right Fork on the rocks. During high water flow, you'll probably have to get your feet wet, so take this into consideration before you go. Once across, the trail begins switchbacking up the mountain. At the 3rd left turn, don't take the turn. Look for a much fainter path that heads straight and in the general direction of up Right Fork.
When I first found this waterfall in 2003 with Cathy, KT, and Harry, we bushwhacked up Right Fork at the trail crossing just to see what was up the creek. We had no clue this waterfall was here, but the topo map showed there was a good possibility of one. I shared this waterfall with Kevin Adams when he was working on the 2nd edition of his North Carolina Waterfalls book and he listed it as the waterfall on Right Fork. I didn't add it to the site here at the time because I wasn't comfortable sending people off trail to look for waterfalls. Since it didn't have an official name, I called it Twin Boulder Falls for the 2 large boulders we encountered right before the waterfall. Kevin wasn't using unofficial names in the 2nd edition of his book, but decided to in the 3rd edition, so now he has it listed as Twin Boulder Falls. A number of people used the directions in his 2nd edition to visit the waterfall, so now there is a rudimentary path leading from the switchbacks up to the falls. On my last visit to the falls, I followed Kevin's directions and took this path instead of bushwhacking up the creek.
Once you leave the main trail on the path, come to a gully, follow it down a short distance, and look for the path to pick up on the other side. This used to be an old railroad grade, so try to picture where the tracks would be. I'm assuming there was once a small bridge crossing this gully. Quite a few large trees have come down since folks started blazing this trail and you'll have to climb over and around them to continue. In another 0.1 miles, the path crosses to the right side of Right Fork above a small waterfall. It then continues a short distance and crosses Lanning Branch. Head up the hill from here to the right and look for the path to turn left and continue up Right Fork for another 1/2 mile. The path isn't always obvious, but stay at the same elevation and you shouldn't have any problem. When you get close to the waterfall, the path drops down to the creek. From here, you can either cross to the left side and head up the steep bank to continue, or head up through the creek and between the twin boulders as you see me doing in the first part of the video below.
To get the view in the picture at the top of this page, you obviously have to be on the left side of the creek. The bank is really steep, but there's a rock area right where I took that shot from. Here are a couple more shots - the first is from 2005 and has a friend of mine in it for scale. The second is from the 2016 visit and is a side shot of the falls with a cascade below.
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