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I love North Carolina. But one thing I don’t like about it is how confusing and poorly marked some of the hiking trails are and the Cove Creek Falls trail was one of those.
The trailhead was easy enough to find but then we hit the trail. We were already 1/1 for following the wrong trail when we went to Log Hollow Falls that morning and this would get us to 2/2. This one wasn’t as bad but we did some unnecessary hiking here, not that that’s bad.
The trail wasn’t busy, we only saw a couple of people the whole time, and was easy to follow in the beginning. The trail starts on an old road that crosses the creek but there is a little bridge you can use to the right.
This is the easy to follow part. Eventually you’ll pass the group camping area on your right and then it gets a little blurry to me. This is kind of a weird loop trail with two ways to get to the falls.
Eventually we came to a fork that wasn’t well marked and went left. The right goes down a little hill and the left stays about the same or goes up a little.
I think there was a trail marker here (the trail is the Cove Creek Falls trail and Caney Bottom trail) but it wasn’t very helpful.
We went left and stayed on the trail. After a while, we started to hear the falls but couldn’t really figure out how to get to them. We heard them at the top of this hill and kept going down to the bottom of it hoping to find a way to the bottom of the falls.
At the bottom of the hill there was no way to get to the falls and no indication of how far or where this trail went so back up wee went.
Towards the top of the hill there were a couple of small, not very prominent trails (on the right going up the hill, left going down) that will take you down to the creek and the base of the falls.
So back down we went on one of these unofficial side trails and finally made it to Cove Creek Falls. We spent some time down there but couldn’t find an easy way across to the other side of the creek.
Reading about this trail now, I’m thinking the right at the fork goes to the right side of the creek and if we kept going down the main hill trail would have gone there, but I’m really not sure.
After hanging out in the creek for a bit we headed back out because we wanted to try and see nearby Daniel Ridge Falls, too. We just went back out the way we came since we didn’t know where that other trail down the hill went.
It was easier getting out since we already knew the way and that went smoothly enough. While the hike in and not-so-great markings were a little frustrating, the waterfall itself was pretty cool and I’m glad we went to see it!
Where is the Cove Creek Falls trailhead?
To get to the Cove Creek Falls trail from Brevard, head out to the intersection of Highway 64, 276, and 280. Turn onto 276 and follow it for about 5.2 miles then turn left onto Forest Road 475.
There is a sign for the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education here. Follow this for about 3.2 miles to the end of the pavement. The parking area is on the left.
How long is the Cove Creek Falls hike?
The Cove Creek Falls trail is right around 2 miles with about 260 feet of elevation gain. It’s a mostly easy hike but the climb down to the base of the falls was fairly steep. The trail is also a little confusing.
It could be about 5 miles if you do the whole loop but we just went to the falls and out the way we came since we didn’t know where this trail was going.
How long do you need for the Cove Creek Falls hike?
I would plan about two hours for the whole hike, including time at the falls. As usual, this will depend on how often you stop, how fast you walk, and if you take the wrong trail at all (oops!)
What to bring on the Cove Creek Falls hike
Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen. I like the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch a lot AND it’s reef safe! If you’re sensitive to fragrance though, it’s not a good choice. I also like the same one but specifically for your face.
Is the Cove Creek Falls hike worth it?
Yes! This is a pretty impressive waterfall. Not my favorite we saw and a little hard to get down to but definitely worth it. I’d say it deserves a spot on your North Carolina bucket list, for sure.