Little Bearwallow Falls Trail

At A Glance

Moderate

1.1 mi one-way

Steepness: Climbs Steeply
Tread Condition: Some Obstacles

This trail is located in the Hickory Nut Gorge area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Hickory Nut Gorge trails list page.

Description

This newly-constructed (for the most part) trail climbs the side of Little Bearwallow Mountain in the upper Hickory Nut Gorge to a waterfall of the same name. Passing over private property, it starts as a walk through an orchard (follow the signed route and please stay on the trail). It descends to a crossing of Hickory Creek on a sturdy log bridge.

Bridge over Hickory Creek
Bridge over Hickory Creek, on the trail to Lower Bearwallow Falls, in the upper Hickory Nut Gorge area.

The hike then starts decidedly uphill on a well-constructed, newly-built segment of trail. The trail has log and rock steps in places, but is generally well groomed and free of major obstacles. The trail passes through a mixed hardwood forest with an understory of Carolina rhododendron in places.

As it ascends, the trail clings to a steep mountainside before crossing a small stream - the same one the waterfall is on. Look uphill in winter when the leaves are off the trees for a glimpse of it. It then passes through a series of switchbacks before entering a boulder field. That, and a set of rock steps, tells you that you're nearing the base of the falls. The trail comes out at a rocky area below the cliff over which the tiny stream flows - maybe no more than a trickle or seep during dry periods - to form the falls.

Little Bearwallow Falls in wet weather
Little Bearwallow Falls in wet weather

The trail is eventually planned to climb Little Bearwallow Mountain and then Bearwallow Mountain itself, to connect with the Bearwallow Mountain trail and form an important segment of a trail all the way around the Hickory Nut Gorge.

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Comments

Vince said: The trail is considerably longer than 1.1 miles now. It goes on past the waterfall and continues climbing. Look for the trail running off the main run, taking you out to Wildcat Rock overlook, for a spectacular view. This is about 2 miles up the trail, and is well worth the moderately difficult climb.
Saturday, May 20 2017 11:00pm
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