Dupont State Recreational Forest

Overview

Featuring an array of stunning destination features such as the mighty waterfalls of the Little River, DSRF has quickly become one of the most popular recreation areas in the Mountains since its opening in the mid 1990's.

Bridal Veil Falls from the Side
Bridal Veil Falls as seen from the side near where the trail comes out on the rocks.
Lake Julia in Fall Color
The blue waters of Lake Julia contrast with the warm fall colors on this warm autumn day.

North Carolina's first State Recreational Forest is located southeast of Brevard in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. DuPont (often abbreviated DSF or DSRF) is 10,400 acres in size, and offers almost 100 miles of recreational trails traveling to its attractions.

Originally a regular State Forest, DuPont earned the "Recreational" part of its name in 2011 when a bill was passed emphasizing management of the area's recreational aspects, including trails.

Visitor Facilities

There are five main parking areas at DSRF: at Hooker Falls, High Falls, Guion Farm, Fawn Lake, and Corn Mill Shoals. Each has portable toilet facilities and an information board, displaying good advice for using the area, rules and regulations, events, and a good map. Each has its own special set of destinations accessible by the trails starting there. Plan on spending a good bit of time exploring DuPont State Recreational Forest's trails - there is a lot to see!

Hiking Opportunities

Some trails pass over large expanses of solid rock on large granite domes. Others twist through the woods, offering more traditional Carolina style. Nearly all trails are multi-use (biking, hiking, and equestrian) and they are well signed and well marked.

We'll break down our overview of the hiking available in DSRF by what's accessible from the various parking areas.

In the Hooker Falls Area

This is the largest parking lot in the forest and even though it can hold a lot of vehicles, it fills up on busy weekends. But it's easy to see why. From there, you have access to some of DSRF's most popular destinations, including 4 of the major waterfalls in the forest.

New footbridge at the Hooker Falls parking area and Hooker Falls and Triple Falls trail junction.
New footbridge at the Hooker Falls parking area and Hooker Falls and Triple Falls trail junction.

The Hooker Falls Road trail leads downstream a short distance on the Little River to Hooker Falls, a scenic ledge-type falls which plunges into a deep swimming hole. Observe from the wheelchair accessible deck above, or from the large, flat rocks at the edge of the pool below. Head upstream on a moderate hike via the Triple Falls and High Falls trails to reach the waterfalls of the same name.

Triple Falls in Fall Color, Dupont State Forest
Triple Falls in Fall Color, Dupont State Forest

Triple Falls is a unique beauty and High Falls is the highest on the Little River, and shouldn't be missed. While these are some of the easier destinations, you can also make longer loops from this parking area by including (for instance) the Holly Road and Lake Imaging trails. Or head on up to Lake Dense for a relaxing picnic or a refreshing swim, not too much farther beyond High Falls.

High Falls in Fall Color
High Falls, DUPont State Forest, in fall color.

The DuPont Waterfalls Tour hike starts at this parking area and includes all the waterfalls. Use that guide for a complete description of a hike which pieces together some of the best trails and destinations in DuPont mentioned above.

In the High Falls Area

This parking area is right in the heart of the forest and includes the main visitor center, with upgraded restrooms featuring running water.

The High Falls parking area is just up the road from the Hooker Falls area, and as such, many of the same trails are accessible from there. But it's closer to High Falls, and Triple Falls is downhill from there instead of up.

Lake Dense
Tranquil Lake Dense, which gets a lot more active in the summer months as it becomes a popular swimming spot.

Looking for a swimming hole? This parking area is also close enough to Lake Dense, and its clear water is inviting on a hot summer day. Larger Lake Julia and Bridal Veil Falls are also close enough to make an easy hike. Longer distance treks from here might include the summit of Joanna Mountain overlooking Lake Dense, or some of the more remote areas around Reasonover Creek. Most of the forest is accessible from this parking area if you're ready to put in more mileage.

The Barn
The Barn at DuPont State Forest in fall color.

In the Guion Farm Area

This parking area is over on the northeast side of DSRF, at an old farmstead. It's close to DuPont's highest peak, Stone Mountain, which makes a good destination for a more difficult hike. Wintergreen Falls is a good moderate destination via the Tarkiln Branch and Wintergreen Falls trails. A whole host of opportunities exists back toward the west, including longer hikes to the larger waterfalls mentioned above.

Wintergreen Falls
Wintergreen Falls, one of DuPont's smaller but more attractive water features.

Loop hike opportunities are plentiful from here, and this area is also popular with equestrians and mountain bikers.

In the Fawn Lake Area

On the south side of DuPont is the Fawn Lake parking area, providing access to the water body of the same name which is another popular swimming hole in warm weather. Some of the more remote trails in DuPont are accessible from this parking area, though, including Reasonover Creek and Turkey Knob. Mine Mountain, Cart, and Laurel Ridge make a possible loop, and Corn Mill Shoals offers a longer option. This is the traditional way to access Bridal Veil Falls, the Airstrip trail, and Lake Julia, past Fawn Lake itself.

In the Corn Mill Shoals Area

DuPont's west side parking area offers access to a few trails west of Cascade Lake Road, but also to two of the non-water destinations in the forest: Big Rock and Cedar Rock, which are low, rounded granite domes devoid of trees in places. Two trails by the same name provide access to the mountains' summits and views in all directions. You'll see sweeping vistas back across the forest, as well as a spectacular view of the Pisgah Ridge and higher peaks to the northwest. Round off a hike with the Little River, Corn Mill Shoals or Burnt Mountain to add some mileage.

View from Cedar Rock Trail
The view from the Cedar Rock trail, where the trees give way to moss and open rock.

Keep in mind that this is just an overview of the trails available at DSRF. For each trail's details, visit the DuPont State Recreational Forest trails page. Or, if you don't want to piece together a hike out of the individual trails, our DuPont State Recreational Forest Best Hikes page is for you!

Special Considerations

Rules and regulations are a bit tighter in State Forests than nearby National Forests, so please keep the following in mind when visiting DuPont.

Waterfalls: Be very careful near waterfalls! Climbing on rocks around the falls is prohibited, as several people are injured or killed at the area's waterfalls every single year due to unsafe actions such as this. Seriously, folks!

Exposed granite on Big Rock
Exposed granite on Big Rock

Granite Domes: When traveling on granite, watch closely for blazes painted on the rocks and rock cairns (small piles of rocks) to mark the trail. Avoid stepping on moss and fragile vegetation growing between the rock. The moss will die wherever a shoe treads on it, and the growing conditions are hard enough up there without human intervention.

Parking: Do not block gates when you park.

Posted Areas: Obey all posted signs including property boundaries. There is private property all around the forest, and some located right in the middle of it.

Hours of Operation: DuPont State Recreational Forest is open only during the posted hours of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Being in the forest without a permit outside posted hours may result in a citation. There is no camping in DuPont State Recreational Forest.

Picnic Shelters: a few shelters, some of which have been refurbished, are now available for anyone to use when not reserved and available for reservation for a fee. Hike in and enjoy a rain-free picnic at High Falls, Triple Falls, Lake Dense, or several other locations on the Forest! A reservation includes a limited number of vehicle passes to the shelter. See the Dupont State Forest Map for locations of the picnic shelters.

Hunting Season: Wear bright colors during hunting season - hunting is allowed in the forest.

For more information about DuPont State Recreational Forest, visit Friends of DuPont's site.

Also, pick up a good topographic map of DSF before your hike. These are found at several local outfitters and are provided by Friends of Dupont State Forest for $12.00.

Dupont State Forest News

Cascade at the Bottom of Bridal Veil Falls
Part of the flow of Bridal Veil Falls spills off the side of the big rock slab making this smaller cascade.
High Falls in summer
High Falls in summer.

Conservation Road below Lake Julia Reopened

Conservation Road, the most convenient route from High Falls to Bridal Veil Falls, has once again been reopened below the Lake Julia dam. It appears that the opening should be permanent this time.

Places to Stay

Campgrounds

Public camping is not available within Dupont State Forest itself. Please visit one of the recommended private campgrounds below.

Black Forest Family Camping Resort

Located 4 miles from the trailhead at the Dupont State Forest, making it the closest place to DSF to camp. Tent sites as well as RV sites with hookups are available.
http://www.blackforestcampground.com

Lodging

Big Branch Cabins

Experience the best of a Blue Ridge Mountain getaway in beautiful Brevard, North Carolina! Enjoy our charming mountain cabins and our 12 private, wooded acres, bordered by thousands of acres of forestry land. You'll be just a short distance from Dupont State Forest, Pisgah National Forest, Gorges State Park, and Nantahala National Forest including the spectacular Whitewater Falls, highest in the Eastern US. You can hike the Big Branch trail to stream, or enjoy nature in the surrounding thousands of acres of public forest lands. Our two-bedroom cabins are decorated with unique antiques & include a fully functional kitchen, AC, TV/DVD, bed linens/towels, covered porches, outdoor grills, washer/dryer, and a picnic area.
http://www.bigbranchcabins.com/

Hampton Inn Brevard

Fall from your cloud nine bed to the trail when you stay with us at the Hampton Inn Brevard. We are conveniently located at the gateway to the Pisgah National forest where you can actually hike straight from your room to the trail. The hotel is bike friendly and host to numerous cycling groups, races and training programs throughout the year. We also offer a large meeting room for events and can also assist with your group tours.
http://www.hamptoninnbrevard.com

Serenade Cove

After wearing out the tread, you'll need a good bed! Rustic elegance abounds in this recently renovated cabin on 22 private acres. Just a 10 minute drive from Dupont State Forest and a 12 minute drive from the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, this home has a fully equipped kitchen, an open living/dining room with gas-log fireplace and hardwood floors throughout. The main floor features two bedrooms with queen size beds (one Tempurpedic) and a full tile bath. Upstairs you'll find a loft with two twin beds and a half bath. Amenities include a covered deck with views of Fodderstack mountain, high speed wireless Internet, satellite TV, DVD player with movies, Wii gaming system, gas grill, full-size washer and dryer, dishwasher, bed and bath linens, lockable storage shed for gear and walking trails on the property. Accommodates 6 people.
http://deerridgepm.com/rentals/serenade-cove/

Sunset Motel

Walk to downtown from this kitschy, clean, quaint and affordable vintage gem. Recently renovated, the motel has an apartment, cottage and 18 rooms – all differently decorated. Smoke-free with modern amenities.
http://thesunsetmotel.com

For more information on the Dupont State Forest, visit the Friends of DuPont Forest's excellent web site. Get current news, user policy information, maps, and more.

Directions

There are several parking areas at DuPont State Forest, and the way to get to them varies quite a bit since it's a large forest. The one you will want to use depends on which trails you will be hiking. The following directions are from Asheville; see the maps to get directions from your location.

To the NC 280/US 64/US 276 Intersection

From downtown (Map Point A), take I-240 west to I-26 east. Go about 12 miles and take Exit 40 for the Asheville Airport/NC Hwy. 280. Turn right toward Brevard, and go south on 280 (a 4-lane highway) for 16 miles to the big intersection with US Hwy. 64/276. Directions below continue from this intersection.

North Side Parking Areas

Hooker Falls Parking Area

From the intersection above, turn left on US 64 East and drive 3.7 miles. Turn right on Crab Creek Road. Drive 4.3 miles and turn right on Dupont Road. Go 3.1 miles to the newly-expanded parking area on the right. (The road changes to Staton Road along the way. It will climb and then begin a long downhill, at the bottom of which is the bridge over the Little River. The parking area is on the right just before the bridge. A new footbridge is available to reach the Triple Falls trail without having to cross the road bridge.)


Buck Forest Parking Area

Continue past the Hooker Falls parking area (above) about 1 mile to this parking area on the left. This parking area provides restrooms, a visitor center (under construction), and the easiest access to the center of the forest including High Falls, Triple Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and several lakes.


Guion Farm Parking Area

From the intersection above, turn left on US 64 East and drive 3.7 miles. Turn right on Crab Creek Road. Drive 4.3 miles and turn right on Dupont Road. Go 0.7 miles and turn left onto Sky Valley Road. The parking area is on the right after 1.4 miles.


South Side Parking Areas

From the intersection above, continue straight on the 4-lane highway about 3.5 miles to downtown Brevard. Turn turn left on US 276 (Main St.). Go just under 11 miles on 276 and turn left on Cascade Lake Road, at the Cedar Mountain Fire Department building (with the red metal roof).

Corn Mill Shoals Parking Area

After you turn onto Cascade Lake Road, the parking area is about two miles on the left, lined with huge boulders and with an information board in the back of the lot. The Corn Mill Shoals Road trail starts across the road from the parking lot.


Fawn Lake Parking Area

After you turn onto Cascade Lake Road, pass the fire station and make an immediate right onto Reasonover Road. Follow Reasonover for about 2.5 miles to the parking area entrance on the left.

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