Most North Carolina waterfallers know about Long Hope Falls because it is listed on the USGS Baldwin Gap NC/TN topo map. But few people have seen it in person because it is located on private property and there is no easy way to access it for those who would trespass. (I do not advocate trespassing to see any waterfall.) Its elusiveness has made it somewhat of a “Holy Grail” among waterfallers. It would be nice if it could be opened to the public, but that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.
The waterfall is very scenic, easily deserving an “8” beauty rating when taken as a whole. It forms a C-shape as it cascades nearly 200 feet. You can’t see all of it from any single vantage point. A particularly interesting feature is a large island in the middle of the lower portion of the falls. It effectively creates two separate waterfalls, each very scenic and requiring a different vantage point to view. Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana), a somewhat uncommon relative of the abundant eastern, or Canadian hemlock, grows on the rocky island.
A short distance upstream from Long Hope Falls is a smaller waterfall. I don’t know if it has a name and in keeping with my naming philosophy (I don’t name waterfalls on private property without the landowner’s blessing) I’m not assigning one to it.
Farther upstream, Long Hope Creek flows lazily through a high plateau among the surrounding mountain peaks. This hanging valley features nearly two-dozen bogs, the largest concentration in North Carolina. A number of rare plant species grow here. The Long Hope Creek Spruce Bog, a designated National Natural Landmark, is among the rarest plant communities in North Carolina. Like the waterfalls, the Long Hope bogs are on private property.