Sunset at the Top of Upper Creek Falls


My first trip to this falls was in January '00 to try out a new camera lens (before I went digital) and photograph some new waterfalls for the web page. Upper Creek Falls was recommended in Kevin Adams' book, but there was no photo and I couldn't find one on the Internet. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived! I've made several return trips since and these shots are a mixture of all the trips. The above shot is sunset from the top of the falls.

Coming from Morganton, head up NC 181 north 20 miles from where the 2 lane begins. Pass the Brown Mountain overlook on your right - the entrance to Upper Creek Falls is a few miles further on the right in a section of road where there are 3 lanes, 2 heading uphill. Look for a brown and white National Forest type sign and a small gravel drive. If you are on the Blue Ridge Parkway, take Hwy 181 south for 5.65 miles and the entrance will be on the left. There are upper and lower sections to this area and I recommend taking both paths from the parking area. The path to the upper falls is about a 15 minute walk which will bring you to the creek above the falls.

There was no snow on the ground on my winter trip, but the previous night temps had been in the teens and there was lots of ice on the rocks making rock hopping quite treacherous. Past this point, the creek slides off the rock face, falls about 30-40 feet straight down, then curves and continues to slide for another 50-60 feet. Stay away from the top of the falls if the rocks are wet!

To get to the base of the falls you have to rock hop across the creek at the top of the falls, then pick up the trail heading down. There are a few places along the way to scramble down for a good view and lots of large rocks to hang out on. The next photo on this page is from a rock that may be the best vantage point for a close up of the falls. If you scramble down the rock to the creek, you'll get the view in the 2nd photo. The last shot is a winter shot from farther down creek.

click here to see the lower falls

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