Discovery Falls

A moderately difficult hike to a 50 foot waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest.

The mountains of the Southern Pisgah National Forest, north of Brevard North Carolina, are a hot-spot of beautiful waterfalls which include the stunning 50′ Discovery Falls.  While this waterfall is located in a remote section of the forest, it is surprisingly easy to reach via a moderately difficult 1 mile round trip hike.  Discovery Falls is also very close to Log Hollow Falls and the two can be easily combined into one trip.  While the hike to Discovery Fall is relatively short, this spot probably isn’t the best location for small children due to the incline and exposure as you near the falls.

The trailhead for Discovery Falls is located off Forest Service Road 475B which is called Headwaters Road on some maps.  475B is a long unpaved road that runs from Highway 276 south of the Cradle of Forestry to Forest Service Road 475 down by the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education.  You could enter from either but it would be easier and much faster to enter 475B from the North side which is 1 mile south of the Cradle of Forestry.  As you are heading south on Highway 276, it is a large and obvious turnoff to the right onto a well maintained unpaved road.  Continue driving on this road for about 1 and 1/2 miles until you encounter the trail at the gated FS 5043.  It is located right on a sharp left turn where you will see a large informative forest sign.  As you are driving on 475B you will pass a few other gated forest roads that are counting down below 5043 and it will feel like you might have passed it.  The roads are not in order but don’t worry, you can’t miss the large sign on the side of the road.  It is very obvious.  This area is remote and there are no restroom facilities at the trailhead.  Discovery is about 30 minutes from Brevard, North Carolina or about 1 hour from Asheville, North Carolina.

The trailhead starts right at the gate for FS 5053 and is marked as the Seniard Ridge Trail.  This is also the trailhead for Log Hollow Falls which shares much of the same trail with Discovery Falls.  Please watch the HD Carolina video on Log Hollow Falls for specific information on this destination.

The trail initially is very easy and follows the wide and well maintained forest road for half of the hike.  After walking through a small field you will encounter a very well built wooden bridge over the creek.  Just before the bridge is a trail to the right which will head upstream to the falls for a 1/4 of a mile.

It is all uphill from this point although initially it isn’t too bad.  This isn’t a well maintained trail so you will likely encounter a few downed trees that you will need to work around.  As you get closer to the falls both the trail and the hill you are on will get increasingly steeper.  It isn’t too far until you reach the base of Discovery Falls.

There isn’t a lot of room at the base of the falls and you will most likely have to rock-hop onto the creek to get the best view.  There is usually a lot of wood debris at the base so be careful as you try to find a good spot to view the falls.  Discovery Falls is tall and the flow will vary depending on the amount of recent rainfall.  Even after a good storm the flow can be somewhat limited, regardless, Discovery Falls is a beautiful waterfall that is worth checking out if you are in the area.

This is an out and back hike so when you have finished enjoying Discovery Falls, hike safely back down the mountain and back to the parking area.

Leave a Comment