In Western N.C., do go chas­ing wa­ter falls

In Western North Carolina: Do go chas­ing wa­ter­falls

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Hil­lary Speed

BRE­VARD, N.C. » Some are big. Some are small. Some are wide. Some are nar­row. Some crash down. Some are a slow trickle. And some, you can slide right down.

There are at least 250 wa­ter­falls in Tran­syl­va­nia County, North Carolina, located about half­way be­tween Asheville, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina. Known as the “Land of Wa­ter­falls,” the re­gion has the big­gest con­cen­tra­tion of wa­ter­falls on the East Coast, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal tourism board. The cas­cades are par­tic­u­larly dra­matic now af­ter record-set­ting rain­fall this spring. Unique fea­tures in­clude a tem­per­ate rain­for­est in Gorges State Park, where more than 80 inches (200 cen­time­ters) of rain fall an­nu­ally.

“This is a land of all kinds of su­perla­tives,” says Nathan Jor­dan, a spokesman for the Tran­syl­va­nia County Tourism and Devel­op­ment Author­ity.

With lots of state and na­tional parks in the area, vis­i­tors have easy ac­cess to other out­door ad­ven­tures too, in­clud­ing bik­ing trails and fly fish­ing.

Trav­el­ers who do go chas­ing wa­ter­falls this sum­mer could chal­lenge them­selves to hunt down as many as they can, bucket-list style, or they could make a leisurely jaunt to one or two.

There’s no wrong rea­son to visit a wa­ter­fall.

GO FOR THE IN­STA­GRAM SHOT

Those who want the best #nofil­ter pho­tos for the least amount of hik­ing can eas­ily pop into the Pis­gah Na­tional For­est and take self­ies in front of the 60-foot (18-me­ter) Look­ing Glass Falls.

Five miles past the for­est’s main en­trance, this beast of a wa­ter­fall can be viewed within steps of the main road, U.S. 276. A stair­case meets the road near the top of the gush­ing falls. You can park your car and take in the breath­tak­ing view from up there or walk down to get a closer look or even swim.

Movie buffs can pose as Kat­niss Everdeen, from “The Hunger Games,” at Triple Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, in the DuPont State For­est, near where some scenes from the movie were filmed. At Hooker Falls, in the same for­est, see the wide, 13-foot (4-me­ter) falls where Hawk­eye’s ca­noe plunged in “The Last of the Mo­hi­cans” as he fled Ma-

gua’s men.

GO TO GET WET

Swim­ming is per­mit­ted at many of the wa­ter­falls in Tran­syl­va­nia County. At Hooker Falls, wa­ter from the Lit­tle River pours over the ledge to cre­ate a large and pop­u­lar swim­ming hole with var­i­ous depths. Those who want calm can wade in the shal­low creek area far­ther away from the falls, while the more ad­ven­tur­ous can swim in the deeper parts or even dare to walk along the rocks un­der­neath the falls.

For an even more ex­hil­a­rat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, some of the wa­ter­falls are smooth enough to slide down.

At Sliding Rock, less than 3 miles (5 kilo­me­ters) down the road from Look­ing Glass Falls in the Pis­gah Na­tional For­est, life­guards mon­i­tor vis­i­tors who climb to the top of a gi­ant rock for­ma­tion and then slide down the nat­u­ral wa­ter slide into a 7-foot (2-me­ter) pool of wa­ter at the bot­tom. Chil­dren can ride on their par­ents’ laps, and life jack­ets are avail­able for a small fee.

An­other pop­u­lar sliding spot is Turtle­back Falls, in Gorges State Park. It’s a steep drop-off and not mon­i­tored by life­guards, and it’s only reached by a stren­u­ous 1.75-mile (2.8-kilo­me­ter) hike.

“You need to be a strong swimmer, and it’s not the most fam­ily friendly thing in the world, but it is awe­some,” Jor­dan said. “For some­body that’s a mil­len­nial and a traveler and a bucket-lis­ter, they’re go­ing to get the big­gest thrill out of that des­ti­na­tion.”

Pura Vida Ad­ven­tures of­fers canyoneer­ing trips that in­clude rap­pelling down wa­ter­falls, some as high as 75 feet (23 me­ters). The com­pany also of­fers fam­ily tours themed on “The Hunger Games,” re­fer­ring to younger par­tic­i­pants as “trib­utes” and teach­ing sur­vival skills in­volv­ing fire, shel­ter, snares, knot-ty­ing and off-trail travel.

GO TO RE­LAX

While wa­ter­falls of­fer a dose of the un­ex­pected for vis­i­tors chas­ing thrills, they can also be peace­ful and med­i­ta­tive.

A novice wa­ter­fall hunter or seren­ity-seeker might try Moore Cove Falls. The wa­ter spills over a stone shelf in a nar­row cur­tain just a few feet across, but its 50-foot (15-me­ter) freefall cas­cade is stun­ning. It’s ac­ces­si­ble via a mild 1.4-mile (2.25-kilo­me­ter) hike. The wa­ter gath­ers in shal­low pud­dles at the bot­tom, mak­ing it good for small chil­dren and those who don’t want to get soaked.

But even here, in­trepid vis­i­tors can walk be­hind the falls and take a shower un­der­neath if they’d like.

IF YOU GO... LAND OF WA­TER­FALLS:

Wa­ter­falls of Tran­syl­va­nia County in Western North Carolina: https://www. vis­it­wa­ter­falls.com/. Near­est air­ports are in Asheville and Char­lotte, North Carolina.

HIL­LARY SPEED VIA AP

This photo shows swim­mers wad­ing in at the base of Look­ing Glass Falls, located in the Pis­gah Na­tional For­est, be­tween Bre­vard, N.C., and the Blue Ridge Park­way. Known as “The Land of the Wa­ter­falls,” Tran­syl­va­nia County boasts more than 250 wa­ter­falls that at­tract vis­i­tors ev­ery year.

HIL­LARY SPEED VIA AP

This photo shows Hooker Falls, located in the DuPont State Re­cre­ational For­est be­tween Bre­vard and Hen­der­son­ville, N.C. Known as “The Land of the Wa­ter­falls,” Tran­syl­va­nia County boasts more than 250 wa­ter­falls that at­tract vis­i­tors ev­ery year.

HIL­LARY SPEED VIA AP

This photo shows two peo­ple rid­ing down Sliding Rock, a nat­u­ral wa­ter­slide located in the Pis­gah Na­tional For­est, be­tween Bre­vard, N.C., and the Blue Ridge Park­way. Known as “The Land of the Wa­ter­falls,” Tran­syl­va­nia County boasts more than 250 wa­ter­falls that at­tract vis­i­tors ev­ery year.

HIL­LARY SPEED VIA AP

Look­ing Glass Falls, located in the Pis­gah Na­tional For­est, be­tween Bre­vard, N.C., and the Blue Ridge Park­way. Known as “The Land of the Wa­ter­falls,” Tran­syl­va­nia County boasts more than 250 wa­ter­falls that at­tract vis­i­tors ev­ery year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.