Thursday, August 4, 2011

Stairway Falls, NC

Park at the trail head for Rainbow Falls.  Stairway Falls is a mile downstream from Rainbow Falls.  If you are hiking back from Rainbow you will come to a intersection with left going back to parking and right going to Stairway falls.  Turn right and follow the trail the best you can.  There are many spurs that lead off the trail but try to stay close to the river and you will find it.  You will cross a creek a couple times and pass a campsite.  It is  a little confusing but not too bad if you stay close to the river.  It is a little over a mile hike from Rainbow Falls.

It is very easy to see how Stairway Falls gets it name.  Located about a mile downstream from Rainbow Falls, there is a good chance you will have it all to yourself.  While the actual waterfall isn't that impressive the best part is the great swimming hole beneath it.

The water directly under the final drop is very shallow.  This allows you to walk through and even sit directly under the falls.  The area is also pretty big and a nice change from the crowds swimming at Turtleback Falls.  It is always a cool feeling sitting there with a powerful waterfall crashing on top of you.  And there are some sections with enough room to squeeze through the waterfall and sit behind it.  It wasn't a great waterfall to photograph but I had a great time playing in it.

Sitting under the falls

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