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Catawba Falls, Old Fort

(4.5/5 based on 55 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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TripAdvisor
  • about a 1 h hike in, i think, and worth it. Beautiful falls. Not an extremely strenous hike but had lots of roots, slippery rocks and mud after a rain; at bottom of falls you can continue up which is ...  more »
  • Good trails, pretty easy walking, nice sites kids age 10, 11, & 13 had fun. Waterfall pretty. We went after rain, perfect for falls  more »
  • Great easy hike for all ages. hike is along the river and then beautiful waterfall at the end. My kids loved it and played Pokemon along the trail .. Fun for all ! About and 1 hour roundtrip  more »