Friday, October 19, 2012

2012-10-13 Flat Creek Falls, Nellie's Falls, and the Shadow Bear

Flat Creek Falls, Nellies's Falls
and the Shadow Bear
Near Lake Toxaway and Cashiers, NC
Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Our main goal for the day was to get to the base of Flat Creek Falls.  Neither Andy or I have ever been to this one and it has long been on our list of must see waterfalls.

We had no problem following Waterfalls Rich's directions to the parking area at the end of FR4662 right alongside Flat Creek.  From there we had to decide our plan of attack.  By bushwhacking downstream you will eventually get to top of Flat Creek Falls.  However, this is reported to be a very difficult bushwhack and the scramble from the top of the falls to the base is borderline suicidal.

We decided to try the easier route which supposedly crosses a small section of private property.

From the parking area, we rock hopped across the creek and followed the path to a large camping area.  From there we continued on the maze of Forest Service Roads and old logging roads, taking a right turn at every obvious intersection.

We definitely passed areas that looked like property boundaries, but nothing that was posted or any other signs that we were trespassing.  The hike was much easier than we were anticipating.  However, one wrong or missed turn and you could very easily get lost in here!

It is about a 3 mile hike with a total descent of about 700 feet.  About half of the elevation descent is during the last half mile or so.  Once arriving at the creek, we just followed it upstream rock hopping back and forth a total of three times.

The first sight of Flat Creek Falls was awesome!

Flat Creek Falls

And it got even better as we continued on another 100 yards or so to an even better viewpoint of the main drop!

Flat Creek Falls

I believe we hit this one at optimal Fall Color.  The bright sun was less than ideal, but it did help make the color of the foliage really pop!

Flat Creek Falls

We spent a good bit of time here photographing the falls, eating lunch, and hoping a few stray clouds would block the sun for a little while before heading back the way we came.


Once back at the parking area, we followed Waterfall Rich's directions to another waterfall upstream on Flat Creek called Nellie's Falls.

Nellie's Falls

It is about a 1.5 mile round trip easy hike following old roadbeds and Bernie paths.  This one proved to be much nicer than we were anticipating and seemed a good bit higher than it looked in Rich's photo.

Me at Nellie's Falls

On the drive back to the Ammons Branch Campground we figured the timing would be perfect to find the Shadow Bear.  The Shadow Bear makes an appearance on sunny days in October just before sunset.

The Shadow Bear

We weren't the only ones anticipating the bears appearance.  The overlook located on US64 about halfway between Cashiers and Highlands was packed with people and cars.  We had to get a bit creative to find a place to park our vehicles and fortunately we were able to find a spot along the guardrail to photograph the show.

The Shadow Bear

After the Shadow Bear disappeared into the night, we continued our drive to the Ammons Branch Campground which was packed well beyond capacity.  There was a group of about 30 hunters on their annual mancation.

Fortunately they were not overly distracting allowing Andy and I to enjoy a nice evening and a few cold Beers around the campfire.

Coming up Next
Secret Falls and Pickle Miester Falls


Eeyore said...

Those are some beautiful falls. I gotta get back in the woods.

Anonymous said...

no idea how i came across your blog but love it!
i love nature but none around me really does so cant go anywhere
plus, Im on the other side of the world, in a big city: Paris
annyway i'll keep checking out your blog
funny cos, the post i first clicked on was from the october the 10th, 2010 and i was hoping you were still updating your blog. good surprise
lol im random sorry
love the pics! and such a cute dog aww
xx fatima.
ps: why is it so hard to post a comment with the stupid 'please prove ur not a robot' - im not but cant see it correctly

Brenda W. said...

The pictures you included in this post are just drop-dead gorgeous!!

Even the one of Kona is so great .. with those fall colors and blue sky behind him!!

Shally@parking in Paris said...

I love the shadow beer image. I love to go on hiking but hardly get a chance for it.

April Kelley said...

Doing some photo searches for state parks on Google brought me to your blog and I'm glad it did. I had never heard of the Shadow of the bear before and so it's now at the top of my list to see this Autumn. We moved to Greenville, SC last year to be closer to the mountains, hiking, and nature so your blog will be a wonderful resource for us also. Beautiful Pictures!! Thanks so much sharing!

Unknown said...

Looking for these falls. Could you email me a more descriptive guide, if possible? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am looking for these falls. All the other websites explaining them are a bit ridiculous. Could you send me a better description on how you guys went? If you can think of anything else that would help. Thanks!

Jack Thyen said...

I did not get a GPS track, but I am almost certain that the route we took went through private property.

Kevin Adam's webside (and/or book) should give you everything you need to know in order to reach Flat Creek Falls: