The trailhead is the same as for Lower Sam Branch Falls. From the junction of NC 215 and the Blue Ridge Parkway at Beech Gap, drive north on NC 215 for 4.1 miles to where the road turns sharply left. Park along the shoulder here. If you cross the river a second time, you’ve gone too far; turn around and drive back 0.2 mile to the curve. The curve is 13.8 miles south of US 276.
Hike to Lower Sam Branch Falls first by walking south along the outside of the curve to the end of the guardrail and climb the steep bank on a scramble path to pick up an old logging grade. Turn left and follow the path to the falls. The trail has become overgrown, but it is still easily followed and nearly level. It crosses the creek above a lower section of Lower Sam Branch Falls. To reach Wash Hollow Falls, you’ll have to cross the creek here. In low water, you’ll need to be careful. In high water, it’s not safe to cross. After you cross, follow the path a short distance to Wash Hollow Falls.
The duo of Wash Hollow Falls and Lower Sam Branch Falls makes for a terrific and relatively easy outing. Just be careful crossing Sam Branch, as it can be tricky if the water is up. Not only is Wash Hollow Falls pretty to look at, the slopes around it are great for spring wildflowers. The small pool at the base is perfect for wading and searching for salamanders. Please don’t harm them, and make sure you release them back to their home.
The old logging railroad grade ends at the falls. Camp 16, one of two dozen logging camps operated by Suncrest Lumber Company in the early 1920s, was located here. The camps were spread throughout the Shining Rock and Middle Prong region.