Friday, May 6, 2016

April 27, 2016 - Catawba Falls

One of the trails in Cindy's upcoming book on day hikes in the Pisgah Grandfather District is the trail to Catawba Falls in Old Fort. I hadn't been in several years and needed updated info for my site, so I was more than happy to head down the hill to the waterfall. A new parking area has been constructed since my last visit and a vault toilet has been added. The forest service did a great job on this! One thing that hadn't been done was the addition of a foot bridge over the river to keep visitors from having to wade or rock hop if the water level was low enough. (It's now May 6 and construction of the bridge started May 3! There was no completion date given.) Directions and trail description for Catawba Falls can be found on my site here.

There's more than one waterfall and numerous cascades along this stretch of river. We were the 2nd vehicle in the parking area  and I didn't want to spend a lot of time goofing around before we got to Catawba Falls. Plus, the lighting was going to be iffy today so the earlier we got to the falls the better. But when we got to Lower Catawba Falls, I had to stop for a few shots and some video. I didn't go down to the very lower part today, but did get down to the base of the biggest section, then took some shots looking down at the falls from the dam.

Lower Catawba Falls

Then when we got to where the trail crosses Chestnut Branch, I had to stop again. The creek spills over a small ledge right where it meets the Catawba River and makes for a nice little scene. I could have spent more time here, but the sun was getting higher in the sky and those pesky people that like to get in your way when you're trying to shoot were increasing in numbers.

where Chestnut Branch meets the river
We lucked up when we got to the falls and no one else was there. So now we could be those pesky photographers that hog the good shooting spots and won't move when somebody wants a selfie with the waterfall. The skies were now mostly sunny, but we were able to snap a few when a passing cloud covered the sun.

Catawba Falls

These photos don't show the entire waterfall. It spills over more little ledges up and around the corner to the right. The trail heads up steeply beside the waterfall and there are places where you can get out on the rocks for macro views of the falls, then the trail continues up even more steeply  to the upper falls. We had seen people heading that way and the light was getting worse, so we decided to save that for another day. On our way out, I spotted a small falls just below the main waterfall and had to stop one more time. I have video of all this, but am saving it when I can include the stuff I skipped this time. I hope to be back soon!

along the Catawba River

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