Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Catawba Falls, NC

Catawba Falls                                                                                          Upper Catawba Falls
If  you are coming down I-40 West take exit 73 for Old Fort.  Go left from the exit ramp, drive under the interstate, then take very next right onto Catawba River Rd.  Drive to the end of the road and park.  It is about a 3 mile round trip to Catawba Falls and a little more with the upper falls.  Catawba Falls is around 100 feet tall and Upper Catawba around 50 feet.

When I try to think of my favorite hikes this one immediately comes to mind.  The trail is easy to get to and pretty easy to follow.  It is long enough to feel like a hike, but wont tire you out. The scenery is great and the trail is complete with creek crossings, walking across logs, and rope climbing.  It is just a really beautiful area with an awesome reward that awaits when you reach Upper Catawba Falls. 

Not long into the hike you come to an old damn.  You can stand at the top of the dam and watch the water flow through the hole in the wall.  It is a cool sight and we stopped and took some pictures (and I shot a video).

Once you climb your way up to the base of Catawba Falls you are treated with a great waterfall.  But it gets even better.  Seeing these falls makes the hike rewarding enough, but the real beauty lies in an uphill climb on the trail to the right.  This trail leads to Upper Catawba Falls and you cant miss it.  The climb starts behind a sign posted near the base of Catawba Falls.

I had read mixed reviews on how hard this climb actually is.  Well, it really isn't bad at all.  I was a little worried going in, but if I can do it with no problems then I think most can.  It is steep but very doable.  At the steepest point a rope is attached to help you.  All three of us made it up and down with no problem.  I actually thought trying to balance while walking across logs was tougher  Just  remember when climbing up stay to the left near the water until you reach the upper falls.

If you decide to hike Catawba Falls do not pass up on the upper falls.  It is hard to describe how beautiful it really is and a picture really doesn't compare to standing in front of it. 

Pics from the hike:

Climbing to Upper Catawba

Rope section - actually looks steeper than I remember it

Standing beside falls

Brother climbing up the falls (much braver than me).  Halfway up pic,
behind the tree.



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