Courthouse Falls is a 1.0 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Balsam Grove, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 1.0 km Elevation Gain: 15 m Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

Easy short hike. Look for the log on the ground with the word "Falls" painted in white and an arrow. Steps down to the waterfall are narrow and steep. Well worth the trip. NOTE: This trail closes periodically, please check with the park for more details before visiting. Keep in mind that if the gate is closed, the forest service road to the trailhead is about 3 miles.

1. Gravel Ride, Approx 15 miles loop Trailhead: PNF, Gloucester Gap FS-229 (Pilot Mtn Rd), FS-229C (Deep Gap Rd) Left turn at Farlow Gap onto FS-140A Right turn onto FS-5031) (Kiesee Creek Rd) Right turn onto FS-140 (Courthouse Creek Rd) Cross bridge, left turn onto Summey Cove Tr Left turn onto Courthouse Falls Tr to Courthouse Falls Reverse Courthouse Falls Tr Right turn onto Summey Cove Tr Right turn onto FS-140 (Courthouse Creek Rd) Left turn onto FS-140A * Forest Service Road Clear Cut* !!Devil’s Club and other Thorns, horrible Bush Wack. Unridable!! Right turn onto FS-5003 (Indian Creek Rd) to Gloucester Gap TrailHead

hiking
4 months ago

Forest service road is 3 miles! Gate was closed! Finds out before you go! We were short on time the forest road is right beside the river and a beautiful walk actually. We went about 2 miles. Will return when the forest road is open.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful waterfall. Mostly flat trail until close to the falls and then steep stairs down.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Great short hike to the falls, the FS road to it is very rough. SUV/truck clearance needed for a few spots, do not recommend a 2WD car attempt the road, does not require 4WD or AWD in dry weather, but in wet weather it would be helpfull. Trailhead is a little hard to spot as it is on the left side right after bridge before the dead end. Small parking area fits 3 cars.

hiking
9 months ago

We hiked Courthouse Falls August 20. Nice cool hike in a rhododendron forest. We saw Monkshood flowers. Very special. The waterfall was very beautiful in a rock grotto. The water was very inviting for swimming though I did not swim.

hiking
10 months ago

A very nice waterfall easy access.

hiking
muddy
rocky
10 months ago

What a lovely waterfall and an easy 1.1 round trip hike. A wide path and a little rocky and muddy but not bad. You have to cross over 1 tree, go down stairs to see the waterfall up close.

recorded Courthouse Falls

hiking
muddy
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful waterfall but if you are t from this area, the 3 mile drive back to the spot to park is extreme! Gravel road that is one lane most of the way with extremely steep drop off on one side. If you survive the drive, the hike and waterfall are great!

muddy
10 months ago

Bumpy one (and a half) lane road for 3 miles before trail head. Nice falls but a long slow drive in.

hiking
muddy
11 months ago

It’s a little bit of a rough Forest Service gravel road to get to but it runs next to Courthouse Creek for most of the way and very pretty. Unfortunately, there has been a recent tree fall on the left side at the crest of the waterfall that obscures it a little bit. Still nice and the trail is pretty easy although the steps going down to the base are quite steep.

11 months ago

Nice short hike to a very scenic waterfall.

hiking
bugs
muddy
11 months ago

hiking
Thu May 30 2019

Super easy trail that leads to the waterfall. It’s a well traveled trail and marked well. The waterfall itself was quite impressive.

hiking
muddy
Sun May 05 2019

hiking
Thu Apr 18 2019

On Thursday, April 18th, the gate on the forest road was locked at Route 215. This would make the round trip distance more than 6 mile longer than the posted .6 mile. Wish there was a posted schedule for when the forest road was opened.

hiking
muddy
rocky
Tue Mar 26 2019

I would definitely recommend this trail. It was a short walk from where you parked. A little muddy in spots but not too bad. Trail went right to the bottom of the falls. Great spot to photograph the waterfall.

Sun Jan 13 2019

I did this trail in January. It was 7 miles for me. The National Forest Road was closed (because of the shutdown I guess) so I parked off of 215 and hiked up the park road. It was a nice hike and beautiful out so I’m actually glad I couldn’t drive it. There are some inclines near the end, if you hike the road but they aren’t bad. Bring water and snacks and spend some time at the falls before you head back if you do the 7 miles. If you do drive, the road is well maintained. I don’t think there is any reason a standard car couldn’t get up the road, maybe if there was snow perhaps it would be harder. There were lots of limbs in the road when I went however. The falls were a little harder to find. The guy below who mentions the trailhead after the 4th bridge is correct. It’s harder to miss if you’re hiking, but if you’re driving, keep an eye out for the 4th bridge. The app gave me directions down to the falls which was super steep and didn’t look safe. It appears there are a few ways down to the falls people have attempted from the trails they have left. The safest way, continue on the trail, following the red marks on the trees. At the tree with the 2 red painted marks (they look like a pause button) there is a small trail to the left that leads you down to the falls, over an old, worn, short wooden boardwalk that leads to the steps people have mentioned. I didn’t think it was steep at all but I hike often. I attempted one of the other ways down I saw initially, but abandoned it bc it was way too steep to do alone. The trail by the red marks is way safer and obviously the way I was supposed to go. You’re going to see the falls and think it’s time to descend but keep going just a little farther until you see the red marks and go down and backtrack just a little to the falls. The falls are gorgeous! Also, I met a couple of other hikers who had come across a few harmless snakes on their hike in through the Cove trail. Yes, snakes in January.

Sun Sep 30 2018

Nice beautiful waterfall with a good swimming hole. But it is NOT 7 miles.its an easy quarter mile trail of a forest rd. I think the seven mile option is along the sumney cove trail. If you have some off trail experience, you can creek walk up mill station creek to Cody’s falls.

hiking
Tue Sep 11 2018

Definitely as others have said, dirt road drive. Guy below was right on the money. Directly after 4th bridge, park and walk to the left down to the falls. Didn’t pass a soul the whole time. Safe logs and rocks to climb on at the bottom w care.

Tue Sep 04 2018

Almost exactly a 3 Mile drive once you get on the gravel road from 215. Directly after the 4th bridge on the left. A short walk with a couple steep spots. follow the red paint on the trees. Amazing view!

hiking
Tue Sep 04 2018

First the Falls are beautiful and at the end of the hike made this worth the trip. However the hiking description is not what expected. This 7.7 mile hike is entirely along a gravel road the leads you to the trail for the falls. It can be easily driven to the trailhead and hike the 20 minutes or so to the falls. Also the "trail" mapped goes much further than the falls. Not sure what's going on here. I wish these descriptions were better helping determine this, might have chosen a hike along a trail to another waterfall. At least the fall are beautiful.

hiking
Mon Aug 27 2018

I. Loved. This. Trail. Flying solo I wanted to do something unique and quite. This trail was recommended by a visitor I met at Devils Courthouse. I did not see a single human on this trial. I was driving a Jeep Wrangler, which felt 100% necessary given the National Forrest Road needed to access the trail head. You can park at the base and hike the road if you don’t have the vehicle needed, and you can start the road and use pull offs if you feel like it’s getting to be too much. There are several campsites along the road/water as well. There are two trails, the short one to the falls is very easy, but does require some dexterity to get up and down to the falls. There is a rickety wooden stair case to get down. The falls are AMAZING. There are several pools at the base, but the falls are loud, so “relaxing” requires being ok with that noise for a long period of time :) If you continue past the falls, there are a lot of beautiful views of the water flowing away from it. I hiked for a while before coming to a campsite, which was a decent size and looked like it had been used fairly recently. When I saw some large (bigger than my hand) animal tracks, I decided to turn around though! Again, being solo, around a good water source and seeing a well used campsite, I figured I better scoot! Definitely would recommend this hike!

hiking
Mon Jun 25 2018

I have to assume by all of the comments that this trail is NOT 7.7 miles as indicated in the description?? I wouldnt consider almost 8 miles and 1000 ft of elevation as "short".... Quick google search - hikewnc shows this trail as 1.8 mile one-way which makes sense after reading all of the "short" comments :)

Tue Jun 05 2018

Amazing!!!! Great trail and awesome falls!!

hiking
Sun Dec 24 2017

This is a fairly easy walk to a very nice waterfall. Good at any time of the year.

Mon Dec 18 2017

Great hike!!

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