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Catawba Falls, Old Fort

Categories: Waterfalls, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.5/5 based on 45+ reviews on the web
Catawba Falls is a series of waterfalls on the headwaters of the Catawba River, in McDowell County, near Old Fort, North Carolina.GeologyThe 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.HistoryCatawba 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.In 2005 and 2007, the US Forest Service purchased 88acre of land at the end of Catawba River Road for a trailhead. In 2010, access to the falls was officially opened to the public. In 2012, a new parking area was built by the Forest Service. 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 a section considered steep and dangerous.
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  • Right off of I-40 gives this trail easy access. The entire hike was pretty, and there are a couple smaller waterfalls on the way. Part of the path is under construction but it is very minimal and not ...  read more »
  • My wife is 19 weeks pregnant and we made the 2.5 mile hike. It is very beautiful. We didnt go to the top because it would of been too much for her. When putting it into google maps look for the Catawb...  read more »
  • We made the drive from the lake Norman area to get outside. Parents and kids- 12,10,5,3. It was well worth it. The bottom of the falls was doable for all. Past that, super steep. I recommend a quick s...  read more »
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