I spent New Year’s Eve visiting two waterfalls near Highlands, NC which I have added to NorthCarolinaWaterfalls.info: Picklesimer Rock House Falls and Big Shoals (Secret Falls). The weather was foggy, and it had snowed around 1-2 inches the night before, which was actually great weather for hiking! The recent precipitation meant the water was up, and it was cool so I didn’t have to worry about overheating. And the fog made for some great, moody photography.
Picklesimer Rock House Falls is a free-fall over a big rock bluff that old-timers used to call a Rock House. And apparently, someone named Picklesimer lived nearby, or named the falls. It’s a great destination for families with older kids, as the trail is not too hard, and the area around the falls is pretty safe. Just use the usual caution around creeks and rocks, but there’s no big cliffs to worry about below you. And with the really cold weather we’re getting now, there should be some really cool ice formations here later this week!
Big Shoals is what I presume the “official” name of this waterfall is, since the newly blazed & graded trail that leads to it goes by that name. In reality, everyone calls it Secret Falls, which is ironic since it’s not even slightly a secret anymore. It’s a beautiful place, though, and I can see why locals might want to keep it that way.
These are some easy hikes that should be well worth trying this winter. Click the falls’ names at the top of this post for links to maps, directions, and trail descriptions, and then go check them out!