Big Bearwallow Falls

Big Bearwallow Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 24mm, f/11, 1.7 seconds, ISO 200, polarizing filter.

Beauty Rating:
Big Bearwallow Creek
River Basin:
French Broad
Very Small
2,400 feet
Type and Height:
Steep, cascading falls about 35 feet high
Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Ranger District
Hike Distance:
A few hundred feet
Hike Difficulty:
Photo Rating:
Waterfall GPS:
Trailhead GPS:
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Driving Directions

From US 64 near Rosman, drive north on NC 215 for 2.6 miles and park in the gravel pullout on the left (west) side. This is 14.45 miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway. A smaller pullout is on the west side 75 yards to the north. The bushwhack begins at the smaller pullout, but it’s easier and safer to park in the larger pullout to the south.

Hike Description

Walk 75 yards north from the wide pullout to the narrow pullout. The waterfall is directly below the pullout. Enter the woods and descend to the creek. At first, there is no path and no good indication of the direction you should take. As you get closer, you can follow the sound of the falls and tell by the terrain where to go. It’s only a few hundred feet to the falls. As long as you don’t wander too far to the right or left on the way down, you’ll come out close.


Don’t let the short hike distance fool you into thinking this is an easy one. The bushwhack is steep, and you’ll have to contend with little rock outcrops on the way down. And if that’s not enough, you’ll have to wade through a garbage dump at the start. It sure would be nice to have superpowers and catch someone in the act of dumping garbage here. (Hey, I spend a lot of time alone on the trail. Have to keep my mind occupied somehow.)

Big Bearwallow Falls is worth the effort. Despite its proximity to the road and garbage dump, the setting has a pristine quality. Thick green moss covers the rocks, and rhododendron drapes the sides of the falls. In spring, trilliums and other wildflowers grow at the base of the falls and on the slopes.

You may notice an old road a short distance up the slope on river right. The dirt road begins on NC 215 a short distance north of the trailhead. It would provide easier access to Big Bearwallow Falls except that the first part is on private property. Don’t get any ideas. The property is heavily posted. However, the road does provide relatively easy access to North Fork French Broad River, which is a short distance downstream from Big Bearwallow Falls. You’d need to hike to the waterfall first, then climb up the bank to pick up the road. If you don’t care to visit the falls first, you can access the road a short distance north of the trailhead. The climb down the bank from NC 215 and back up to the old road is much shorter and easier the farther upstream you go. Just make sure you stay below those No Trespassing signs.

If you’re wondering why you’d want to follow this old road to North Fork French Broad River, click the Spice Cove Falls listing in the Nearby Waterfalls section below.