Upper Sols Creek Falls

Upper Sols Creek Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 22mm, f/14, 1.6 seconds, ISO 200, polarizing filter.

Beauty Rating:
8
Accessibility:
Trail
River:
Sols Creek
River Basin:
Little Tennessee
Watershed:
Small/medium
Elevation:
3,440 feet
Type and Height:
Main drop of about 55 feet with cascades below
Landowner:
Nantahala National Forest, Nantahala Ranger District
County:
Jackson
USGS Map:
Tuckasegee
Hike Distance:
Approximately 0.35 mile
Hike Difficulty:
7 (with cautious creek crossings)
Photo Rating:
8
Compass:
10°
Canopy:
Partial
Waterfall GPS:
Trailhead GPS:
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Driving Directions

From the junction of US 64 and NC 281 east of Lake Toxaway, drive north on NC 281 for 16.3 miles and park on the right side of the road just before crossing Sols Creek. Park between the private drive and the guardrail. If you’re coming from NC 107, drive about 8.8 miles south on NC 281 to Sols Creek.

Hike Description

The directions have changed since I wrote the second edition of North Carolina Waterfalls in 2004. You can no longer park in the drive on the west side of Sols Creek and access the falls by walking down the old road to the creek. But if you park on the east (river left) side and follow the creek upstream from there, you’ll be okay. You’ll have to make several creek crossings. If the water is up, they’ll be wades.

Climb down the bank behind the guardrail to pick up an old, overgrown roadbed. This was the original route of NC 281 before the road was paved and straightened. Follow it upstream about 200 feet to the old bridge site. Cross the creek, climb up the bank, then turn right on the old road heading upstream. In just a few feet, the road appears to end. Look for a faint path on the left that ascends the bank in a patch of white pines. The path follows the creek upstream for less than 100 yards to a crossing. Once across, continue following the path upstream, now on river left, for about 100 yards to the next crossing. Don’t completely cross the creek here. Instead, walk the creek bed for about 135 feet, then continue following the path on river left. The waterfall is a little over 0.1 mile upstream. The path in this section may be hard to follow. Just head upstream by the route of least resistance.

When you get near the falls, you’ll have to work your way up the creek bed to reach the base. If the water is up, you’ll get wet.

Overview

Want to visit a gorgeous waterfall relatively few people know exists? One you can have to yourself? Well, this is the place for you. As with many waterfalls in this book, I had no previous knowledge of it but suspected it existed after studying the topo map. I expected a waterfall, yes, but nothing like this! While it has become more popular in recent years, especially among waterfall photographers, there’s a good chance you won’t see another person during your visit.

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 17mm, f/22, 1.6 seconds, ISO 400, Polarizing Filter.

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 17mm, f/22, 2 seconds, ISO 400, Polarizing Filter.

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 22mm, f/14, 4 seconds, ISO 400, Polarizing Filter.

Upper Sols Creek Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 19mm, f/14, 4 seconds, ISO 400, Polarizing Filter.

Upper Sols Creek Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 22mm, f/13, 3 seconds, ISO 200, Polarizing Filter.

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 17mm, f/13, 3 seconds, ISO 400, Polarizing Filter.