Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 12, 2016 - waterfalls on Denton Creek, Tate City, GA

Cindy was heading out of town for a few days, so I called my buddy Harry up to see if he wanted to make a trip down to north Georgia to hike with our pal Bernie. He was definitely in, so I headed up to his house in Lake Toxaway to spend the week end. It's a lot shorter drive from there to Clayton, GA than it is from my house in Hendersonville.

Our destination was Denton Creek which has 3 very nice waterfalls on it. It's accessed off of Tallulah River Rd which is the same road that holds the trail head for High Falls and Bull Cove Falls in NC. I don't have the directions for Denton Creek up on my site yet, but go here for the directions to High and Bull Cove Falls, except once you turn on to Tallulah River Rd, drive 6.5 miles, pass the Tate City Mall on the right and look for the single lane dirt road on the right. Drive down this for a short distance (as long as you don't have a really nice vehicle you don't want to get dirty) and park in one of the small cleared areas. There's only room for 4-5 vehicles in here at the most. If you get to the creek, you've passed all of the parking spots and you can't drive across the creek.

Tate City Mall

Harry and I met Bernie at the Ingles in Clayton, then we piled into Bernie's vehicle and headed towards the trail head. The known waterfall on this creek is called Denton Branch Falls most everywhere online. I'm not sure why as the topo map clearly labels this as Denton Creek. A couple of months ago, some Facebook lady friends found an upper waterfall on a tip from a local. I told Bernie about this and he set out to investigate a couple of days later. He found that waterfall and another nice one not too much farther up the creek.

Once we got parked, it was a short walk to cross Denton Creek. The old road continues for less than 1/4 mile, then turns to the left and heads uphill. At this point, a side trail splits off to the right and heads towards the lower waterfall that people call Denton Branch Falls. We had decided to continue up to see the second waterfall first. To get there, continue left and up the old road which has narrowed down to a more of a trail. Continue away from the creek, then make a right bend back towards the creek. After about 1/3 of a mile and 200' gain in elevation, look down to the right for the waterfall. Part of it was visible with the leaves off, but I'm not sure what the situation will be once the leaves come back out. It's a steep scramble down the bank to get the good view of the falls. Head towards the huge dead hemlock that has come down near the base of the 30-40' falls. I was sitting on that hemlock to get these shots.

middle waterfall on Denton Creek

Once back up on the main trail, continue a short distance and the trail and creek get closer to each other. (There's a nice cascade down there also that I was going to shoot on the way back down the trail, but the sun was on it and I passed until next trip.)  From here it's only about 1/4 mile to the upper waterfall. About half way there, the old road heads right towards the creek, but the trail to the waterfall continues up the left side of the creek and dead ends at the waterfall. This one is maybe 30' high also, but has a totally different character than the middle falls with all of the small ledges. The rhododendron on the right could use some trimming.

Harry, Bernie and me at the upper waterfall

After getting our fill of photos and video, we headed back down towards the lower waterfall. Once at the side trail to the falls, it's not even 0.2 miles to where the trail ends at the waterfall. We first passed a smaller cascade which is the first picture below. Unfortunately, there are a lot of downed trees around the main waterfall, but it's still a nice 25 footer and well worth the hike. I've seen shots of this falls where the water levels were quite puny, so be sure to visit during higher water.

small cascade before Denton Creek Falls

Denton Creek Falls

I'm planning on returning to this area when it greens up and camping at one of the campgrounds along Tallulah River Rd. There's still a lot in here that we haven't seen and want to see Denton Creek, High and Bull Cove Falls when the leaves are out. Below is a video of some of the sights we saw today.

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