Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Catawba Falls, North Carolina

Pisgah National Forest,
Near Old Fort, 
McDowell County, 
North Carolina

Hiking Trails:
Catawba Falls Trail

Total Time: 0:50 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.3 Miles

Pros: Nice waterfall in scenic area
Cons: Wide, double-track path, waterfall less impressive than perceived
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Continuing on my camping trip to North Carolina, we were staying at Catawba Falls Campground, a mere half-mile from the Catawba Falls Trailhead. I felt that if I was staying at this campground I had to visit the falls. In fact, our campsite was right on the site of the Catawba River.

I drove the short half-mile to the parking trailhead, and took the trail up, passing an old ruin, crossing the first bridge, and then passing the first waterfall coming out of the dam. I continued along to the second bridge, past the stream split, to the main waterfalls. I then turned around and went back the same route.

Pisgah National Forest Sign at the Parking Area

Kiosk at the Trailhead

Map of the Route at the Trailhead

The First Bridge Across the Brook, at the Old Ruin

Old Ruin. If Anyone knows what this was, Please Comment.

Old Ruin and Bridge

The First, Lower Falls

Second Bridge Crossing the Brook

Catawba Falls

Catawba Falls Cascade


  1. According to ...In the early 1900s, the river’s turbulent flow was dammed by a small concrete dam and harnessed by a hydroelectric facility. The rustic remnants and ruins of the electrical plant still stand in the quiet, sun-dappled forest today, covered in moss and lichen, and slowly receding into the forest.

  2. Kozel, thank you for your reply! This information has been helpful!