Difficulty Level ★ ★
High Falls is a spectacular waterfall located in box canyon below Lake Glenville. Until just recently, it was only accessible through private land. Duke Energy recently did a ton of work to create a public trail down to this stunning natural wonder. Part of the reason was to open up the river below this waterfall for kayaking. At set times of the year, Duke Energy releases water from Lake Glenville through this river raising the water level considerablely. Hardy kayakers can carry their kayaks down the trail to the put in just below the falls and kayak to a also newly built take out spot across from the power plant on Highway 107 in Tuckasegee.
I am not that tough. The thought of carrying a kayak down the many, many stairs that make up much of this trail is a little mind boggling. But I love this waterfall, and I don’t mind just carrying myself and maybe a snack down and back up. The trail is pretty short, only about 0.6 miles, and scenic. But it is very steep and has a lot of stairs. I did not count how many this time, maybe next time I go I’ll do a count.
We hiked on a perfect winter day- cool and clear but not freezing. My mom, Mike and I made it down in short order. Some of the steps were a little wet, so be careful if you go when it is icy out. That said, I would love to see some of the icicles that I am sure must form on the rock walls when it is cold. My mom suggests bringing a walking stick for more stability on the steep parts of the trail.
We did not stay a long time at the waterfall. It was later in the afternoon, and it starts getting cold in the valleys as the sun gets lower in the sky. The hike back out is harder than the hike in. It is almost all uphill. Mom and I took frequent breaks to catch our breath. Every time I do this hike, I think I need to be in better shape. But this time we were outpaced by a guy with a pacemaker, so maybe it is time to get more serious about exercising. Mike and I are planning to hike at least once a week. In the spring, I would like to try this hike again. Maybe I can make it back out with out stopping (as much).
If you want to try this hike for yourself here are the directions:
GPS coordinates 35.198262,-83.159715
From the intersection of Hwy 64 and 107 in Cashiers, NC (the crossroads):
Go North on Hwy 107 approximately 6.4 miles and turn left on Pine Creek Road, go about 1.9 miles down Pine Creek Road and you will see the sign for High Falls on the right as well as a gravel parking lot.