• Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Distance: 2.3 miles round trip. Elevation gain: 312 feet. 100 ft waterfall. 25 ft rappel. 60 ft river crossing.

This is a really nice hike along Cove Creek that leads to a beautiful, 100 foot waterfall. While most of the trail is a relaxing stroll, the end of the hike provides a little adventure for those who feel up for it.

Starting from the parking lot, follow the main trail into the woods. Early in the hike, you'll come to a fork in the trail. Both directions lead to the same destination but left will take you through a forest canopy and right through an open meadow. My advice: take one on the way there, the other on the way back. Before you've walked a half mile the trail will lead right into Cove Creek, which you'll need to cross to continue. The water is typiclly 1-2 feet deep, so simply wading across creek is an option. Alternatively, if you feel confident in your balance and want to stay dry, there are a series of small boulders breaking the water's surfce that you can hop across.

Once across, continue for another half mile or so and look for an obvious side trail. This side trail will lead to the adventurous part of the hike. At the end of this side trail there is about a 25 foot rope rappel descent onto a ridge right above the falls. This section is muddy and tree rooted - be sure to know you abilities and limits before making this rappell. This section is also not recommended for dogs or young children, but the rest of the hike is.

If you're not so much of a risk taker, bypass that side trail and continue another few hundred yards to an alternative side trail. This will take you to a great vantage point - a large rock outcropping that sits 200 feet above the gorge floor and directly across from the falls.

Once you've had your fill of High Falls, follow the main trail back the way you came - except take the opposite fork that you took on the way up.

To find the trailhead from Asheville, get on I-26 East and head towards Saluda. Take exit 59, make a left on Holbert Cove Rd (SR 1142), drive about 3 miles and look for a parking lot on the wide shoulder on the left. If you cross the creek, you've gone too far.

Photos: markemark4

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Definitely a hike worth the time. My 6 & 9-year-old boys were able to make the rope climb with some help. Once at the bottom we had a great picnic on the rocks. The view of the falls from the bottom is wonderful.

8 months ago
8 months ago

This hike was so amazing! Crossing the creek was fairly easy (March). I went through the creek however there were numerous rocks and boulders for people to cross over. The views are impeccable. I recommend this to everyone! Do it!

11 months ago
11 months ago

We hiked to the Big Bradley Falls with two teenagers and our dog. Going down the rope climb was tricky as the leaves were damp and slippery but we made it and it was worth the climb. Going back up, our faithful border collie decided it would be easier if I carried her so she laid down in the middle of our ascent. Once up to the top she was her bouncy, energized self. Teens had no problem. Would love to go back and explore other trails down to the Falls as well as visit Little Bradley.

12 months ago
12 months ago

Did this hike on a 50-degree December day which was ideal hiking weather with the exception of needing to wade through a freezing cold stream. There were no boulders above water as mentioned in the description, so we were not able to cross without taking off shoes & socks to wade. Maybe the water is just higher this time of year? Despite this, views of Bradley falls were stunning and it was a great hike!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

I went with an open mind. After walking the field in, we crossed the water. Not really thinking passed the first trail down to the big falls. Ended up going back and finding a different way down. But the views were absolutely stunning. We only went to big Bradley falls... Would definitely go again and explore more!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

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