We chose to do the waterfalls hikes and had several tempting choices. The easy walk to Hooker Falls is only a quarter-mile, and there is a popular swimming hole below the cascades (but no lifeguard, so take care). This mountain water is always delightfully chilly.
We took the High Falls trail through the forest with our lunch to the covered picnic shelter, where those of us who did not want to venture down the fairly steep trail could see this tallest of the Little River falls from the tables. The High Falls cascade down 120 feet over solid granite and are spectacular in many viewpoints. Several of us made the trek and found many lovely picture points with the waterfalls coming together and then separating into varied flows. Triple Falls has three distinct components that also total about 120 feet of vertical drop. Scenes from several movies were filmed here, including “The Hunger Games” and “The Last of the Mohicans.”
The waterfalls are not the only thing that makes the day there wonderful. The forest vegetation is rich and varied, and a Google app helped us identify everything we saw, so it was a learning experience. There are five lakes: Lake Dense, Lake Imaging, Lake Alford, Fawn Lake and the largest (99 acres), Lake Julia. For equestrian pathways park your vehicle at Lake Imaging or Guion Farm, the latter of which has flatter trails. Bike trailheads are at these two places and also at Corn Mill Shoals.
If you have a North Carolina fishing license you’re allowed to catch panfish or largemouth bass in the lakes or trout in Little River. Hunting is allowed on the Gamelands with a three-day permit issued by North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission Gamelands program.
Restrooms are available at the visitor center, where you can also get a map. No camping is allowed, and everyone is responsible to bring his or her own trash out to keep this beautiful park clean.
WHEN YOU GO
DuPont State Recreational Forest, which is free and open 365 days a year, is located between Hendersonville and Brevard. Navigate to 1400 Staton Road, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718.
For more information: 828-877-6527 or www.ncforestservice.gov/
Bonnie and Bill Neely are freelance writers.