At only 1/2 mile from the road, Big Laurel Falls is a great spot to visit, hang out, and enjoy while you are in the Nantahala National Forest.
Near the end of Big Laurel Branch, inside the Nantahala Forest of North Carolina, is the quaint and easy to reach – Big Laurel Falls. While it isn’t a very big waterfall, the phrase big comes from the creek name, it is a beautiful multi-tiered waterfall that is about 20ft high. It is also very easy to reach as it is only about 1/2 a mile from the road on a very well maintained trail.
The trailhead for Big Laurel Falls is located on the unpaved forest road FR67 near Standing Indian Campground. While the road is unpaved it is generally in good condition and accessible for most vehicles. The roads in this area are subject to seasonal restrictions and are usually closed during the winter months. You could approach from either Highway 23 to the east or Highway 64 to the west. Look for the marked pull-off on the side of FR67. Big Laurel Falls is about 60 minutes from Franklin North Carolina or Clayton Georgia. There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead.
The hike is just a little over 1/2 a mile and is doesn’t have much of an elevation change. The blue blazed trail starts next to the sign and descends slightly as you work you way down to the creek below. Fairly quickly you encounter a fork where you will go right. Just after this you will cross the creek over a nicely constructed bridge. The trail splits once more with the Timber Ridge Trail heading left and the trail to Big Laurel Falls going right.
From this point, there are no more forks in the trail. Just an easy and pleasant walk to the falls where you parallel various streams until reaching the falls. It is very soothing to hear the sound of the water flowing as you walk through this beautiful section of the forest.
Before long, the trail ends at Big Laurel Falls. The area just below the falls isn’t too large but this destination isn’t usually too crowded. In fact, every time we have visited Big Laurel Falls, we have been the only people there. There is also a small pool at the bottom of the falls which isn’t large enough for wading but is perfect for dipping you feet into on a warm summer day. Whatever you do during your visit, you will want to take your time and enjoy the beautiful Big Laurel Falls.
This is an out and back hike so hike safely back to the parking area when you are done enjoying the falls.