The hike to Catawba Falls has always involved a tricky rock-hop near the beginning of the trail. While it’s not terribly difficult or at all dangerous, it does represent an obstacle to some people who wish to enjoy the falls – especially dry!
The Forest Service long ago announced plans to improve the access to the falls, and it looks like that begins next week with construction on the footbridge near the parking area. We’ll keep updating as the project progresses. The full Forest Service announcement is below!
Catawba Falls Footbridge Construction Begins May 3
NEBO, N.C., April 29, 2016 – Construction is set to begin on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 for the footbridge across the Catawba River on the Catawba Falls Trail. The Catawba Falls Trail is a popular hiking trail near Old Fort, NC on the Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest.
The Catawba Falls Trail will remain open, but the public can expect to see construction traffic in the area. The US Forest Service asks that visitors stay on established trails and steer clear of the construction area.
The Catawba Falls Trail Bridge project is part of a larger effort to provide safe access to Catawba Falls. For more information contact the Grandfather Ranger District at 828-652-2144.
Update October 5 5:00 pm All of the Pisgah National Forest sites have reopened, and the Blue Ridge Parkway is open again as well. Chimney Rock State Park is open again, but it looks like the trails in DuPont State Forest remain closed. So come on up to the mountains, the weather is fantastic again and the autumn display is now underway!
Update October 4 12:00 pm Most of the rain missed us here in WNC, with only 1-2 inches falling in most places and up to 5 in isolated spots. The sun is reappearing and hopefully things will start opening back up soon!
We don’t normally post about short-term weather events, but if you were planning on visiting the mountains of Western North Carolina – or anywhere in the Carolinas, for that matter – you’re probably aware that the weather forecast has a tremendous amount of rain in it for the next three days. Some weather forecasters are using terms like “historical”, and a preemptive State of Emergency has been declared by the North Carolina governor in all 100 counties. Flash Flood and Aerial Flood watches are in effect until Monday morning.
We’ll have to wait and see how bad it really gets, but as a result, outdoor recreation across the area will undoubtedly be impacted, and many weather related closures have already been put in place, with some of those affecting recreation facilities. Here’s what we’re aware of thus far:
In the National Forests:
The Cradle of Forestry’s Forest Festival Day has been postponed until October 17
Brown Mountain OHV trails are closed
Black Mountain Campground is closed
Carolina Hemlocks Campground is closed
Mortimer Campground is closed
Briar Bottom Campground is closed
Curtis Creek Campground and Curtis Creek Road (FS 482) are closed
Ridgeline, Jim Branch, Hooker Creek and Reasonover Creek trails are closed in DuPont State Forest
Chimney Rock State Park is closed Saturday
Other State Parks may need to be closed with short notice if conditions worsen.
Streams and creeks are already high, and will be raging by this weekend. There is a real probability of downed trees, falling rocks, debris flows, and mudslides. Footbridges and wet crossings are especially vulnerable and many trails will likely be cut off by high water. Do not attempt to cross flooded trails and/or roads! Other recreational areas and road closures across the region may occur, and we’ll update this post if and when we find out more.
Please be aware and check your destination before leaving, and consider postponing your outing if you can. Fall colors are getting underway at the highest elevations, but the vast majority of the autumn show will wait until after this storm. If you still decide to head out, bring a waterproof camera and be careful out there!