From the junction of US 178 and US 64 west of Brevard, drive south on US 178. After 3.5 miles, turn right onto a private gravel driveway. The drive goes between two ponds and loops around a house. Signs direct you to turn right on the loop and park in the lawn behind the house without blocking any driveways.
Walk through the grassy field behind the house and enter the woods. An obvious path leads to the base of the falls.
Considering all the purple paint and No Trespassing signs at North Carolina waterfalls, Eastatoe Falls is a breath of fresh air. Instead of prohibiting access, the property owners welcome visitors instead. How refreshing!
Show your appreciation by using good manners while visiting. Don’t block the driveways, don’t litter, don’t let pets run off leash, and don’t visit early or late in the day. It’s the least we can do for owners who let strangers park in their driveway and hike through their yard to see a waterfall. If you want to do more, bring a bag and pick up any litter you see on the trail. The waterfall may be closed to the public during family events. If you see a Closed sign, please respect the family’s wishes and come back another time.
I’ve visited Eastatoe Falls many times, and each time it seems to look better. For some reason I can’t explain, I gave the waterfall a beauty rating of 5 in the first edition. That was over 20 years ago, so I attribute it to youthful stupidity. In the last edition, I rated it 8. During my most recent visit, I tried to figure out what could make it better. When I couldn’t come up with anything, I figured it deserved a perfect rating. With that said, I should point out that it needs a good water flow to look its best.
One legend says that Eastatoe was the Cherokee name for the Carolina parakeet. The local Eastatoe tribe was supposedly known as “the Green Bird People,” in reference to the bird’s colorful plumage. I haven’t been able to find evidence this is anything more than folklore, but I haven’t found anything that disproves it either. I do know that Carolina parakeets were once common across the East. But after being hunted for their plumage, captured for sale as pets, and shot for their habit of destroying orchards, they became extinct in 1918, when the last bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo.
In The Land of Waterfalls, Jim Bob Tinsley cites the early names for Eastatoe Falls: Will Hines Falls, after the man who built a gristmill at the falls in 1854; Meadow Falls, after the craft shop that once operated beside the house; Shoal Creek Falls, after the name of the stream; and Rosman Falls, after the nearby town.
Eastatoe Falls is among the best waterfalls in the state for shooting isolations. You’ll certainly want to shoot a wide-angle view of the falls, but a zoom lens in the 100-300mm range will keep you busy.