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    Michael Flavin reviewed Linville Falls Trail

    3 months ago

    The trails that pass through the Visitors Center, across the bridge, and up a mild incline include the Upper Falls View (where you are within a few feet of where the river flows down through the rocks before plunging over the falls), Chimney View (which is directly across from the Plunge Basin Overlook), Gorge View, and Erwin's View. All offer great views but Erwin's View has the best view straight into the falls although the most distant. I consider this hike to be easy for all ages and the viewing areas are all stone walled in and safe. If you follow this trail, take in all of the viewing areas and don't stop at the Upper Falls as the red line on the map suggests.

    Michael Flavin completed Linville Falls Trail

    3 months ago

    Michael Flavin reviewed Erwins View Trail

    3 months ago

    The trails that pass through the Visitors Center, across the bridge, and up a mild incline include the Upper Falls View (where you are within a few feet of where the river flows down through the rocks before plunging over the falls), Chimney View (which is directly across from the Plunge Basin Overlook), Gorge View, and Erwin's View. All offer great views but Erwin's View has the best view straight into the falls although the most distant. I consider this hike to be easy for all ages and the viewing areas are all stone walled in and safe. If you follow this trail, take in all of the viewing areas, not just Erwin's.

    Michael Flavin completed Erwins View Trail

    3 months ago

    Michael Flavin reviewed Linville Falls via Plunge Basin Trail

    3 months ago

    Located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls has a great set of trails. The trails to the Plunge Basin by the river and to the Plunge Basin Overlook are located to the left of (not through) the Visitors Center. At the river you may have to do some wading to get an unobstructed view of the falls while the overlook gives a great side view of the falls. In my opinion, I recommend going to the overlook for the best view of the falls then go back to the Visitors Center, cross the bridge, and take in the other views. To me, the Plunge Basin was not worth the time and effort getting to it and it is somewhat hazardous.

    Michael Flavin reviewed Triple Falls Trail

    3 months ago

    The parking lot is unimproved dirt and is medium sized so it fills quickly. (I was almost the first car in the lot when I got there and after hiking Hooker-Triple-High Falls the lot was packed and cars lined both sides of the road.) Hooker Falls Trail leads to a popular swimming area at the base of the falls and is only minutes from the parking lot. After an easy walk to view this small falls, double back, cross the bridge, and head uphill to the beautiful Triple Falls and further up to High Falls. At Triple Falls there is a long set of wooden steps that lead you to a flat rock landing between the 2nd and 3rd falls and is an excellent spot to view and photograph all three of the Triple Falls. (Don't miss this.) The viewing area has a single wire cable preventing visitors from straying too near the falls but kids could walk right under it. High Falls is a beautiful, long double cascade with a covered bridge at the top and can be easily seen from the viewing area along the trail.

    Michael Flavin completed Triple Falls Trail

    3 months ago

    Michael Flavin reviewed Hooker Falls Trail

    3 months ago

    Hooker Falls Trail leads to a popular swimming area at the base of the falls and is only minutes from the parking lot. The parking lot is unimproved dirt and is medium sized so it fills quickly. (I was almost the first car in the lot when I got there and after hiking Hooker-Triple-High Falls the lot was packed and cars lined both sides of the road.) Hooker Falls is really just a first stop before doubling back and heading up to Triple Falls and High Falls, which are really the main attractions.

    Michael Flavin completed Hooker Falls Trail

    3 months ago

    Michael Flavin reviewed Upper Whitewater Falls Trail

    3 months ago

    This state park has a gorgeous waterfall. There is a very large paved parking lot ($2) with parking available for buses and RVs. A paved trail leads up an easy slope to the first viewing area and takes about 10 minutes from car to viewing area. A long staircase of well-made and reasonable new steps lead down to a second viewing area that offers an even better view. From there a trail leads down to the water but a sign warns that there are no waterfall views below that point.

    Michael Flavin reviewed Silver Run Falls

    3 months ago

    Located just south of Cashiers on HWY-107, the trailhead is marked by a roadside sign near a telephone pole. Park there and follow the obvious trail into the woods for about 10 minutes to get to this small waterfall. There is a viewing area (a large flat rock) where you can view and photograph, but the plunge basin is very shallow so those with sandals can walk right to the base of the falls.

    Michael Flavin completed Silver Run Falls

    3 months ago

    Michael Flavin reviewed Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls Trail

    3 months ago

    This trail starts in Gorges State Park (but eventually leaves the park property). Drive past the Visitors Center and down the hill to the large, paved parking lot. Downhill from the trailhead the trail splits - left is the Raymond Fisher Trail and right is the Rainbow Falls Trail. Go right. On the trail there are two creek crossings. The first is a shallow and easy two stepper but the second is a deeper six stepper. I made it across without poles. Rainbow Falls has two nice viewing areas (one farther away to take in the full view and one up close to feel the mist). Turtleback Falls is where all of the swimmers go to slide down the falls. There is no formal viewing area there but the large boulders are easy to climb and navigate and afford great views. Both waterfalls are particularly picturesque.

    Michael Flavin reviewed Whiteside Mountain National Recreation Trail

    3 months ago

    The parking lot is big but fills quickly so arrive early. There is a short hike up switchbacks and stairs to get to the top quickly or a long gravel road to get there more easily but takes longer. I'm 60 and found the switchbacks to be easy and the best route. I went on an overcast day and found that visibility was 0 feet when I got to the many viewing areas along the SE face of the mountain. However, after lingering for 15 minutes the haze lifted and visibility stretched to the horizon after about 30 minutes. The main trail is well guarded by safety fences but the side trails are not so watch children. I'm posting the hazy pictures but also some unique photos of the mountain taken off-trail. There are many gated communities in the area but the shot of the mountain over the lake was taken on Whiteside Cove Road at 35* 04.035'N and 083* 07.194'W. The clear and sunny shots were taken at a place called "The Spa" along SR-64 between Cashiers and Sapphire. (It is a beautiful place that is not gated and the people were friendly.)

    Michael Flavin reviewed Dry Falls Trail

    3 months ago

    Dry Falls is located along SR-64 / Highland Road just NW of Highlands, NC. I was VERY impressed by this trail. there was ample paved parking, facilities, a cement trail with guardrails down to and behind the falls, an amazingly pretty waterfall, and no admission. From car to falls is about 10 minutes and the views along the trail of the falls are breathtaking. I went just after a rain so the falls had more flow but I suspect that this waterfall is beautiful year 'round.

    Michael Flavin completed Dry Falls Trail

    3 months ago

    Michael Flavin reviewed Cullasaja Falls

    3 months ago

    Cullasaja Falls is on the Cullasaja River that flows alongside SR-64 / Highland Road. It is on the south side of the road and is not marked so you won't see it unless you're looking for it. There is room for only 2 cars along the road at the viewpoint. As the day was rainy and the step hillside was wet I decided not to try climbing down the hill but am posting a few pictures taken from the roadside. (In my opinion your time is better and more safely spent at Dry Falls just up the road.)

    Michael Flavin completed Cullasaja Falls

    3 months ago

    Michael Flavin reviewed Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail

    3 months ago

    The road to Clingman's Dome is just off SR-441, which is the Gatlinburg bypass. It is a long and beautiful road through the Smoky Mountains but there are no gas stations so fuel up in Pigeon Forge (southbound) or Cherokee (northbound) as the mountains will drink your fuel. The parking lot is large and paved and affords great views without getting out of the car. The paved trail to the top is a steep half mile that levels near the top where there is a short trail over to the Appalachian Trail. At this point you can walk the AT in both Tennessee and North Carolina as the trail hugs the border. the tower provides a 360 degree view of the Smoky Mountains with views reaching from 20 miles to 100 miles depending upon visibility.

    Michael Flavin reviewed Brumley Mountain Trail: Hayter's Gap to the Channels

    3 months ago

    The trailhead parking lot at 36* 51.878N and 081* 56.819W is well-maintained but limited parking is available so arrive early. The 3.0-mile trail is uphill the entire way except for a few steps. It is a tiring walk but the ravines down the hill into the woods make it scenic. At the summit there is a sign pointing left to the Channels spur trail or straight ahead for the Brumley Mountain Trail, so don't miss the spur. Once on the spur you'll see the lookout tower in a few minutes. The lookout's shed has been destroyed and burned...only charred remains are left. Once you see the tower, walk directly past it to the far side of the rocks where you will see an unmarked trail leading into the woods. A few stapled arrows on the trees show the way to the entrance of the Channels. The labyrinth is fun to explore but a backpack is a hinderance when exploring tighter passages. It is easy to get lost - I used my GPS to find the entrance which is at 36* 52.279N and 081* 58.757W. Just remember what the first impressive rock formations look like as you enter so that you'll know where to exit.

    Michael Flavin reviewed Jacobs Ladder and Christmas Rocks Trail

    5 months ago

    The Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve is near SR-33 and SR-22 near the Lancaster bypass. The trail begins at the Mink Hollow covered bridge over Arney Run then leads up a gravel road, past a gate, and along a double track trail to two loops. The first loop is Jacob's Ladder where there is a picturesque view to the west. The second loop is Christmas Rocks loop named for the Christmas ferns that line the trail. There are many "No Trespassing" signs but they only pertain to the properties to the left and right of the road. The nature preserve owns the road and trail loops. On the far end of the Christmas Rocks loop are wooden steps down a cliff. They are NOT part of the trail and just lead down to a hunting lodge. The trail is rated "Hard" only for the part of the trail that climbs the cliff face up to the view on Jacob's Ladder. Approached from the other orange trailhead where you'll see wooden steps the trail is no more than "Moderate" The best time to photograph the view is in the very early morning with the sunrise to your back illuminating the valley to the northwest.

    Michael Flavin reviewed Swallow Falls Trail

    5 months ago

    When in the Deep Creek Recreation Area you need to walk this short trail in Swallow Falls State Park. There is paved parking at the trailhead and overflow parking around the bend. The trailhead is under an arch that says Swallow Falls Canyon Trail. A very short spur takes you back to the main loop where a sign points left for Muddy Creek Falls and right for Swallow Falls. It takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the falls in either direction. The western side of the loop is smooth clay with pea gravel and the east side hugs the Youghiogheny River and is a mild rock scramble. Creeking shoes, sandals, or sneakers are best - boots and trekking poles are unnecessary. Along the river there are several short trails down to the water and most provide great photo opportunities. Fortunately, all of the paths are easy to climb up and down with good places to step. Both waterfalls are very easily accessed, that is, you can walk right up to the falls although signs advise caution. Muddy Creek waterfall is very handicapped-accessible with van parking and a long wooden ramp leading to a wooden observation deck.

    Michael Flavin completed Swallow Falls Trail

    5 months ago

    Michael Flavin completed Chestnut Ridge Trail

    6 months ago

    Michael Flavin reviewed Chestnut Ridge Trail

    6 months ago

    Please be aware that this trail is a mountain bike trail and is not meant to be used by hikers as they present a hazard for cyclists. Several of the reviews on this trail describe the Ridge, Meadows, and Homesite trails that are located in the Chestnut Ridge Metro Park on the east side of Amanda Northern Road. If you are looking to review the metro park hiking trails, please post on the "Chestnut Ridge - Homesite, Meadows, and Ridge Trail" link, which is a much more hiker- and family-friendly trail.

    Michael Flavin reviewed Chestnut Ridge- Homesite, Meadows, and Ridge Trail

    6 months ago

    Located off SR-33 between Columbus and Lancaster, Chestnut Ridge is the first ridge in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The site of the Metro Park was originally a quarry for the sandstone used in the canal locks along the Athens spur of the Ohio and Erie Canal. The property was then bought by Dr. Edward Campbell who built a homestead near the top of the ridge and the property was later donated to be used as this park. People often sit on the benches in the homestead property to read. Now that SR-33 has a bypass past Carroll, only the park-goers know about this hidden gem. The wide variety of trees and a constant change of scenery make this trail worth the drive. Adjacent to, but not connected with, this park is also the Chestnut Ridge mountain bike park that features a 5-mile "easy" loop and a 4-mile "moderate" loop.