Last week we planned on taking a little road trip to hit up waterfalls during their spring deluge. Our trip got cut a little short because I got a cold, BUT we still hit three waterfalls on our adventure. Along the way we found that there were plenty of flowers starting to bloom, and thus, our trip became a “Waterfalls and Wildflowers” tour.
Our first stop was Crabtree Falls off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, NC. The parking area looks like it used to be attached to a visitor’s center that is now closed. Jump on the trail and walk through the campground (closed during the winter) to find the trailhead for the falls. This hike is all downhill to the falls and can be a little slick when wet. However, the falls is totally worth the hike. I think this is one of the most dramatic waterfalls in the region with it’s 70 ft drop and lots of rocks to vary up the flow of the water.
Hey! It’s me! Thanks, Jason Kubota for taking this photo! Below is my long exposure 2.5 second shot. I had a circular polarizing filter on my 16-35mm and used a Graduated ND filter in front of the lens to snag a couple of extra stops of light. We found that the circular polarizing filter was a huge help in getting the saturation and colors just right in the surrounding trees and greenery.
Below are some of the various flora that I was able to photograph on our hike down and back from Crabtree Falls (about 2 miles roundtrip).
Trillium is my favorite of the High Country wildflowers. I never saw one of these until moving here, and the stun me everytime.
This mosquito hawk was just straight chillin and totally didn’t mind my taking his photograph.
Our second destination was Setrock Creek Falls located in the Black Mountain Campground just outside of Burnsville, NC. I fell in love with this spot. The campground is at the base of Mt. Mitchell and was lush, peaceful and quiet. We will definitely be back for a stay!
The 75 foot waterfall can be accessed by parking outside the campground, walking through the campground by following the road and hopping on trail, which is also the start of the Mt. Mitchell Trail. The waterfall is a little under a mile from the parking area, and like the campground, was a peaceful and pristine spot. I also made a salamander friend 🙂
Our third waterfall excursion last week was much closer to Boone. I had a friend recently tell me about the waterfall behind Valle Crucis Conference Center–Crab Orchard Falls. I never knew that we had such a gem of a waterfall here in the High Country!
To access this waterfall, park behind the Valle Crucis Conference Center, continue walking down the road behind the conference center and switchback up and around the back of the Bishop Robert H. Johnson Hall. Although the waterfall itself is on private property, there are signs everywhere directing you to the falls.
The hike is short (approximately .6 miles), but pretty steep. Go slow and take lunch 🙂 When you round the corner at the top and begin descending down to the falls, take care on the path, rocks and boardwalks as this falls was VERY slick. I actually busted my butt at the bottom and wound up in the water (sans equipment, luckily). Once I was wet, I decided to just go for it. Jason was already knee deep in and setup for his shot with the tripod, but I got in the water to snag these images.
There was also some flora to be captured on this hike.
Also, Valle Crucis is my favorite spot with views like this daily.
Is this wild ginger?
Despite being sick for the week and having our adventures cut short, I had a really nice time visiting these waterfalls and getting outside. Can’t wait to explore more!