Yellow Patch Falls - Nantahala National Forest
Yellow Patch Falls

7-12-17  Yellow Patch Falls is a 3 tiered waterfall not too far from Dill Falls. It's a short hike to get to where an old logging road crosses Yellow Patch Branch not too far from the top of the upper section of the falls, but there's no trail leading down to any part of the falls. Do not attempt to visit this waterfall if you don't have any off trail experience! My pal Bernie Boyer discovered this set of falls back in 2007 and brought me for a look. At the time, I wasn't adding any off trail waterfalls to this site, but have recently started adding some. I revisited the falls in July 2017 for new pictures, video, and updated directions. If you go any time soon, be on the look out for logging trucks in the area!

Directions:  Coming from Brevard, take US64 west out of town and turn right on NC215 at Headwaters Outfitters. Drive 14 miles on 215 north and turn left on the gravel Forest Road 4663. This kind of looks like someone's driveway, but last time I was by, there was still a brown and white National Forest sign indicating FR4663 on the right side if 215. If you are coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway, drive south on 215 for 2.5 miles and turn right on FR4663. This forest road is one that is closed during the winter months. The gate is 0.6 miles down the road from 215 as some of the land before this is private property. From 215, you'll drive 6 miles down FR4663 and park in the circle area at the end of the road. This road is narrow in places, so drive slowly! I've seen dirt bikes and ATV's on the road, so watch out for those also. At 1.9 miles down 4663, you'll pass the left turn to go to Dill Falls. At 2.9 miles you'll cross Tanasee Creek and the parking for Herrin Knob Falls and at 4.5 miles look for FR4663C to go off to the left. You want to bear right and stay on 4663 at this point and continue to the end and park.

The hike begins by continuing up the road from where you parked. In a very short distance, bear left and down on the gated old road. FR4663 continues up and is blocked to vehicle traffic with large boulders. Continue down this road for about 1/3 of a mile until it crosses Yellow Patch Branch. As you get closer to the crossing, you can hear the waterfall down to your left. It might be tempting to head down that way, but don't. It's really steep and has cliff areas. Just up stream from the crossing is a nice little cascade, but you'll be heading down creek. After you cross, look for an overgrown old logging grade that heads down next to the creek. You'll be following that, but I found it easier to go down the dirt road just a little bit farther and cut down to the logging grade from there. Choose whatever your path of least resistance is. The dirt road continues to parallel the creek on this side, but you definitely don't want to go too far down and try to scramble down from there. There's a sheer cliff that you will not be able to get down. Anyhow, once you get on the logging grade, follow it down creek through the rhododendron for about 0.1 miles until you get to the top of the upper section of the falls.

In the newest edition of Kevin Adams' North Carolina Waterfalls guide book, he suggests heading down the waterfall from here. If you slip and fall here, you will probably die. I found it easier and safer to remain on the top of the rock wall you see in the picture at the top of the page. Keep the edge in sight, but don't get too close! Once you get to behind where I am standing for that photo, there's a place where you can slide down a short wedge. It's steep, but very doable for those that enjoy this type of activity. You could always bring a section of rope to tie off as you'll be coming back this same way. I think this is the prettiest section of the waterfall. There's quite a bit of moss on the rocks and the exposed wet rock in the creek is beautifully colored.

Yellow Patch Falls - Nantahala National Forest

Yellow Patch Falls - Nantahala National Forest
upper section of Yellow Patch Falls

From here the creek slides over more exposed bedrock, then over the top of the middle section of the falls. Head back up into the woods and away from the waterfall, then continue down to the base of the next section of the falls which is about 15' high. There's an area of dry rock here where you can safely hang out and this section has a deep pool where you can cool off on a hot summer day.

Yellow Patch Falls - Nantahala National Forest
middle section Yellow Patch Falls

The creek then continues to slide over the bedrock and over the lower section of the falls. Again, head back into the woods to continue down and choose the path that you feel is the safest for your ability. You may have to continue past the base, then come back up creek. The lower section of the falls is maybe 25' high and is wider than the other sections, so the water doesn't normally cover all of the rock. From here (and looking at a topo map), you might look at the river right side (left side look up creek) and think it looks less steep going up that way. The road is up there, but so is that rock wall - and it's steep. It's pretty awesome if you just want to go up and take a look, but be warned. The road turns to the right near the end of that wall and if you go too far down to try to get around the wall then try to go up, you'll miss the road completely. It's much easier and shorter to just go back the way you came. Stay safe out there!

Yellow Patch Falls - Nantahala National Forest
lower section Yellow Patch Falls

 

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