Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls
on the Horsepasture River
Gorges State Park, NC
Sunday, August 19th, 2012
It had rained most of the night! Fortunately by morning the rain had cleared out, but there was no avoiding having to pack up wet camping gear!
Our plan for the morning was to hike to Windy Falls. However, this would not be safe with the rocks all wet from the rain, so we scrapped that idea. Instead we decided we would just do the hike to Rainbow and Turtleback Falls. But first, we had to pack up camp!
Since I knew I would have to make two trips and I was planning to cook breakfast at my truck, I quickly gathered up my first load of stuff and hiked up to the parking area. After a nice breakfast of sausage and eggs, I hiked back down to the campground.
The others still hadn't started the hike with their first load of gear. Johnny managed to pack all his stuff so that he would only require one trip, but Andy and Darrin would have to make two. This would mean some waiting around time for Johnny and Me.
Instead of that, Johnny and I would start the hike to Rainbow Falls ahead of the others. This actually worked out well, because Andy was able to lend me his trip-pod.
After hiking to the parking area with the rest of my gear and loading up my truck, Johnny and I hit the trail.
The new trail to Rainbow Falls is about 1.5 miles one way which is slightly longer than the old trail. However, this new trail is better designed and significantly easier. There are still a few steep spots and some areas that can use some more work, but for the most part it is a nice trail!
We made it to Rainbow Falls without any issues and took a few photos. Rainbow Falls is definitely one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Carolinas. If you haven't been to this one, I would highly recommend a visit!
The trail climbs steeply past the Rainbow Falls vewing area for a short distance to the base of Turtleback Falls. This one is nowhere near as tall as Rainbow Falls, but it does offer a lot more options for photography angles.
It is also a popular swimming hole and many people actually slide down Turtleback Falls. While this looks like fun, I have never tried it. I am always to worried that if something goes wrong, Rainbow Falls is just a short distance downstream. Being swept over that one would certainly be fatal!
After photographing Turtleback Falls, I met up with the others, returned Andy's tri-pod and decided to call it a day. There was still plenty of time to do more, but I was ready to head home for a little recovery time before heading back to work on Monday!
Additional photos from Rainbow and Turtleback Falls are posted here:
It was a great weekend with some great friends!