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Catawba Falls, Old Fort

(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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TripAdvisor
  • We met friends and hiked with a 4,6,8, and 9 year old. Like said before, place catawba falls parking in gps. Tricky to find. Trail is easy and you pass a few small falls along the way. Pack a picnic a...  more »
  • Type "Catawba Falls Trailhead Parking Lot" into Google Maps and you'll get to the right place. Great easy to moderate-level afternoon hike with beautiful falls! Forgot my sneakers but walked in my Tom...  more »
  • Do not use your gps to get here. It will take you much further away to Catawba Falls Preservation which is a gated housing development. If you want to use your gps put in catawba falls campground, the...  more »