A local favorite waterfall and swimming hole inside the South Mountains Game Lands that is shaped by strange formations in the rock.
Deep in the South Mountains Game Lands near our hometown of Bostic, North Carolina is the hidden gem in the forest known as Pot Branch Falls or just “The Pots”. This multi-tiered waterfall and popular swimming hole has unique rock formations that form basins or pots that fill with water forming large natural bathtubs. The waterfall also cuts deep though the rock almost hiding the largest section of the waterfall. While the falls itself isn’t too high, about 15 feet total, it is a very beautiful destination and the 1/2 mile hike is well worth the effort.
The trailhead to “The Pots” is located at the end of the unpaved Old CC Road in the Golden Valley community of Bostic North Carolina. This is a very remote area and the drive along Old CC Road is very beautiful but may be difficult for some vehicles during periods of high precipitation due to a unbridged creek crossing. However, generally the road is in good shape and should be accessible for most vehicles. You will travel about 3 miles on Old CC Road to a large parking area at the very end of the road. The Pots are about 60 minutes from Hickory North Carolina, 75 minutes from Asheville North Carolina, or 90 minutes from Charlotte North Carolina. There are no restroom facilities at the trail or anywhere nearby.
The trail starts at a gate in the corner of the parking area. After passing the gate, head right towards another gate that is about 200ft away. Pass through this gate and continue following the trail a short distance as it curves down toward the creek. Cross over Pot Branch, which may require you to get your feet wet, and continue straight until you intersect a small trail on the right. Take this trail, which will very quickly, cross over Pot Branch again putting you on the right side of the creek. From here the trail will parallel the creek a short distance until you reach the very obvious start of the waterfall.
You arrive at the top of “The Pots” where there is a large granite area as well as a steep trail leading down to the base of the falls. The area is very rocky so exercise extreme caution while walking next to the creek. Remember that a wet rock is a slippery rock and mossy rocks are slippery!
The base of the falls will provide the best views and safest swimming opportunities. It also provides access to the large bathtub that is just below the main cascade. This is definitely a unique spot and a true hidden gem inside the South Mountains forest.
This is an out and back hike so when you have finished enjoying “The Pots”, hike safely back to the parking area.