Catawba Falls

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Catawba Falls
CatawbaFalls.jpg
Catawba Falls, December 2009
Location McDowell County, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina
Coordinates 35°36′14″N 82°14′43″W / 35.603858°N 82.245154°W / 35.603858; -82.245154
Type Cascade
Total height 100 ft (30 m) (estimated)
Upper Catawba Falls
Upper catawba hdr.jpg
Upper Catawba Falls, December 2009
Location McDowell County, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina
Coordinates 35°36′14″N 82°14′43″W / 35.603858°N 82.245154°W / 35.603858; -82.245154
Type Cascade
Total height 100 ft (30 m) (estimated)

Catawba Falls is a series of waterfalls on the headwaters of the Catawba River, in McDowell County, near Old Fort, North Carolina.

Geology[edit]

The Catawba River flows over 2 major waterfalls in a short distance. The first drop, called Upper Catawba Falls, consists of an upper free-fall drop, while the second drop a short distance downstream, often called just Catawba Falls, is a higher series of free-falls and cascades.

History[edit]

Catawba Falls is part of the Pisgah National Forest. For many years, while the falls were located on public land, visitor access to the falls was heavily restricted. The only access points to the falls were a trail that went through private property, and an access point off of Interstate 40. Use of either access point was illegal.[1]

In 2005 and 2007, purchases were made by the Forest Service of 88 acres (360,000 m2) of land near the trailhead. In 2010, access to the falls was officially opened to the public. In 2012, a new parking area was built by the US Forest Service.[2] The Forest Service plans further improvements, including a foot bridge over a tricky crossing of the river along the trail and a new trail to the upper falls, bypassing the steep and dangerous section.[3] [4]

Visiting the Falls[edit]

The trail to both falls is accessible from the parking area at the end of Catawba River road, just off of Interstate 40 at Exit 73 (Old Fort, and just past Catawba Falls Campground. The easy-to-moderate trail leads to the base of Catawba Falls and then climbs steeply to the base of Upper Catawba Falls. The trail along the way features other, smaller waterfalls. Visitors should stick to the trails, as going off-trail is very, very dangerous.[4] As of June 15, 2014 the bridge is still closed, so you must park on the side of the road just before the bridge. Please stay off homeowners property on right side of the road.

  1. ^ Adams, Kevin, North Carolina Waterfalls, p. 177
  2. ^ http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc/news-events/?cid=STELPRDB5363530
  3. ^ http://www2.mcdowellnews.com/content/2010/mar/30/foothills-conservancy-sells-catawba-falls-trail-pr/
  4. ^ a b http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/catawba1.htm