Courthouse Falls

Pisgah National Forest

Courthouse Falls is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the area.
(Video: 5 minutes 15 seconds)
+more (video transcript)
Hidden away in the Southern Pisgah National Forest, just North of Brevard, is the beautiful and picturesque Courthouse Falls.  This 45 foot waterfall is located in a rocky cove with a deep pool at the base of the falls that would make a perfect swimming hole during the warm summer months.  There are two trails to reach Courthouse Falls but this episode is going to describe the shorter trail which is only 3/4s of a mile off an unpaved forest road.  This is an easy hike to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area.

The Pisgah National Forest is 800 square miles of beautiful mountain terrain and is located completely in the state of North Carolina.  It is home to numerous waterfalls,  old growth forests, and mountain ranges like the Blue Ridge and Great Balsam mountains.  Its vastness supports a variety of recreational and commercial activities including hiking, backpacking, and hunting.  It is also the host to a number of signature North Carolina attractions.

The trailhead for Courthouse Falls is located about 3 miles into the unpaved forest service road FR140.  The forest road is just off NC 215 and is about 6.5 miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway or about 10.5 miles north of Highway 64.  The unpaved road was in good shape when we took our trip in late 2016 and was easily reached without a 4 wheel drive or a high clearance vehicle.

You will travel on FR140 for 3 miles and cross over several bridges.  At 3 miles, you will cross a bridge and there will be a small pull off area on the right with the trailhead clearly marked on the left.  The parking area isn't huge but should be enough for most days.  If you arrive on a crowded day, there is another parking area just a little bit down the road that could be used if needed.  The trailhead is located 30 minutes from Brevard North Carolina, 75 minutes from Asheville North Carolina, and 90 minutes from Greenville, South Carolina.  There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead.

The trail to Courthouse Falls shares the Summey Cove Trail which is 2 miles and will take you all the way back to NC 215.  However, we are only going to use a small portion of the trail as Courthouse Falls isn't that far from the parking area.

The trail parallels the creek the entire hike, is nicely maintained, and is easy to follow.  The Summey Cove Trail is marked with blue blazes with the trail leading down to the falls marked with orange blazes.

As you walk down the trail, it won't be long before you hear the falls in the background.  In the fall or winter seasons, you might even be able to catch a glimpse through the trees.  The trail will continue past the falls to a side trail that switches back to reach the falls.  Look for the orange blazes and faded writing on a log pointing left down to the falls.  This trail is short and will have steps at the end to take you down to the base of Courthouse Falls.

The beauty of this spot is nearly indescribable, you really need to see it for yourself.  The falls plunge into a deep pool filled with clear mountain water creating a relaxing and stunning scene.  It was too cold to take a dip on the November day we visited Courthouse Falls; but you can see why this place is a popular swimming hole during the summer, however, if you visit during the cooler months, like we did, don't be surprised if you have the whole place to yourself.  Regardless, you will want to take your time  and enjoy your visit to the wonderful Courthouse Falls.

This is an out and back hike so hike safely back to the parking lot when you have finished enjoying the Falls.
Courthouse Falls
Courthouse Falls
Address & GPS
Balsam Grove, NC 28708
35.274021N, -82.892143W
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Weather Details & Forecast
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Nearby Attractions
Devil's Courthouse (2.2 mi.)
Dill Falls (3 mi.)
Daniel Ridge Falls (3.8 mi.)
Sam Knob Trail (3.8 mi.)
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