Living Waters is a Christian retreat north of Rosman, NC, in the community of Balsam Grove. They own a stretch of land along the North Fork French Broad River. A quarter mile trail on their property gives views of 3 named waterfalls and 2 unnamed falls. Before hiking the trail, ask for permission to visit the falls, which the staff is gracious about giving. They do discourage hiking alone, so it’s best to have somebody with you.
French Broad Falls from above.
Shoal Creek Falls
French Broad Falls and Shoal Creek Falls are right next to each other at the head of the trail. It is a rare treat to see two beautiful waterfalls so close to each other.
Continuing on down the trail rewards the hiker with many pleasant views of the river, as well as the unnamed falls.
At the end of the trail is Cathedral Falls, also known as Birdrock Falls. This the view of the top of the falls.
And from below.
The view downstream of the falls.
The rock cliff above the falls.
The smiling face of a man who loves being around waterfalls.
This beautiful flower bed on the property caught my eye.
Courthouse Falls is a 45 foot waterfall located about 10 miles north of Rosman, NC. It can be reached by driving up Highway 215 to Forest Service Road 140, then driving 3 miles out FS 140 to the trailhead.
The drive out FS 140 is itself very beautiful, as it runs alongside Courthouse Creek for most of the way. The view from the first bridge I crossed was so nice that I promptly pulled over to make some pictures. The scenery was lovely in both the upstream and downstream directions.
About midway we came upon a bridge, I guess you could call it, that went through the creek instead of over it. I do not recommend crossing this in any vehicle that doesn’t have much ground clearance. Getting on the bridge was like driving over a tall curb.
On the return trip I left my camera with Jim and had him make some photos of me making the crossing with my van. Jim was following me in his truck, so between us we forded the stream in a Dodge and a Chevy.
I made this photo at the parking area at the trailhead. There were other nice views as we followed the trail alongside the creek to the falls.
.2 mile down the trail an unmarked side trail led down to the waterfall.
The view downstream of the falls.
Greenville County, SC is home to two very nice old bridges. Both of these had been on my radar screen for a long time, and I finally found the time and opportunity to visit them.
Poinsett Bridge is an old stone Gothic arch bridge built in 1820. All of the photos I had seen of the bridge were made from the downstream side, which offers the most unobstructed view. The upstream side has more trees and bushes near the bridge, but I had fun walking over and around the bridge making photos of it from different angles.
Campbell’s Covered Bridge was built in 1909.
A nice little park with picnic tables and a walking trail has been built around the bridge. A plaque offers some details about the structure and history of the bridge.
After Jim and I left Pearson’s Falls, we headed east to Shunkawauken Falls, which is a roadside waterfall located on White Oak Mountain just north of Columbus, NC. It is rare for a waterfall so close to the top of a mountain to have so much water flow, but a few ponds on top of the mountain keep it supplied with water.
The road leading up to the falls is very steep, and some of the turns are so sharp I thought I was going to have to install a hinge in the middle of my big van to get around them.
We had to park in a pulloff about 100 yards above the falls.
An opening in the trees revealed just how far we had climbed. That’s the junction of I-26 and Hwy 108 at Columbus visible below, and we had just been there a little while ago.
Even this close to falls, it is not visible from the road. One must get past the trees and bushes on the left side of the road to see the falls. The falls are just to the left of the split rail fence. Be careful not to back up too far on the other side of the road. There’s no fence there and it’s a long way down!
Pictures could never do this waterfall justice, and words cannot describe the feeling of awe and wonder I experienced upon suddenly looking nearly straight up at 150 feet of waterfall.
The water flows under the road and out the other side. From this angle, there appears to be as much waterfall below the road as above it. This is the steep dropoff I mentioned earlier.
By walking down the road a bit, we were able to get a view of the lower portion of the falls through the trees.
A couple of nice boulders decorated the roadside below the falls.
Pearson’s Falls is a 90 foot waterfall located a few miles south of Saluda, NC. The property is owned by the Tryon Garden Club. They charge a small admission fee, which is used to maintain the property.
I was joined on this trip by my hiking buddy, Jim. I went on this trip expecting a nice, but relatively uneventful walk to the falls. I was wrong. The trail starts downstream of the falls and leads up to it. The beauty of the trail and creek, which was flowing noisily with the water of recent heavy rains, made this one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever been on.
There was a small man-made dam, purpose unknown.
The trail crosses the creek on a beautiful old stone bridge.
The view upstream from the bridge revealed a small, unnamed waterfall, with Pearson’s Falls visible through the trees in the background.
A closer view of the small waterfall.
A little further up the trail from the bridge, Pearson’s Falls became visible in all its glory.
This was a very lovely place to be, and Jim and I lingered here to rest and enjoy the scenery before heading back down the trail. There was a cool breeze coming from the falls, and the mist it carried was delightful on a warm spring day.