Two beautiful and easily reached waterfalls inside the Pisgah National Forest.
Just a short distance off Highway 215 in the Southern Pisgah National Forest near Canton North Carolina are two beautiful and easy to reach waterfalls – Sam Branch Falls and Wash Hollow Falls. Both waterfalls are extremely beautiful and only about 1/4 of a mile from the road. However, the Wash Hollow Falls may be inaccessible at times depending on the amount of water flow on Sam Brach Falls.
The trailhead to Sam Branch and Wash Hollow Falls is located on Highway 215 about 4 miles North of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The area and trailhead is unmarked but is located at the hairpin turn just before the old stone bridge at Sunburst Falls. The parking area is small and is really just a turn-off area off the highway. However, for some reason these waterfalls are not extremely popular and it usually isn’t too crowded. If there isn’t a spot to park safely, you can go 1/4 mile down the highway and check out Sunburst Falls and try again after that. The trailhead is about 1 hour from Asheville North Carolina and there are no restroom facilities at the trailhead.
The hike to the falls is short and fairly easy and flat, except for the first 50ft. The trail starts at the hill right at the corner on the highway. It goes straight up to an old road that leads to the waterfalls. The hill is steep but it’s short. Safely get to the top of this portion of the hike and it is easy from here.
After climbing the hill, head left and follow the trail through the rhododendron. Continue on the trail and quickly you will reach Sam Branch Falls.
Sam Branch Falls is a long waterfall that continues up the hill beyond what you can see and it also continues below where the trail brings you creekside. There is a loose trail about 100 feet back that leads down the creek that provides views of the lower cascades, but most people simply enjoy the views of the waterfall from the main trail. It is a beautiful waterfall!
The trail to Wash Hollow Falls continues on the other side of the creek however it may or may not be accessible. You have to make the call whether or not the creek can be crossed safely or not remembering that you are halfway up the waterfall. There will be periods of high water flow or when ice is present that the creek simply can’t be crossed safely. If that is the case, enjoy Sam Creek Falls and turn around and head back to the parking area. Since this is such a short trail it will be easy to come back and make it to Wash Hollow Falls another day.
If you can safely cross the creek, continue on the trail for only about another 100 yards to the beautiful 50ft Wash Hollow Falls. This is a beautiful spot in the forest with a larger area to relax and enjoy this special spot complete with a swimming hole.
When you have finished enjoying Wash Hollow Falls, hike back to the parking area be safe as you cross back over the creek at Sam Branch Falls and then back down that steep incline where you first started the hike.