Dutch Creek Falls

Dutch Creek Falls

Nikon D850, Nikon 28-300mm lens at 50mm, f/22, 1 second, ISO 64, polarizing filter.

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Were it not listed on the official USGS topo map (and therefore also on nearly every other map published since), Dutch Creek Falls would be mostly unknown except to the lucky few who live nearby. As it is, however, it is among the more well known waterfalls in the region. The only problem is that you can’t see it.

Dutch Creek Falls is on private property, and while it is very close to a public road (you can see the brink from the road), there is no way to view it legally without permission. For those who might be tempted to slip in unnoticed, you should know that a house sits on the brink and one at the base.

The waterfall is listed at 80 feet and 90 feet high in various publications. I have a hard time believing it is more than 60 feet. What is not debatable is its beauty. I’d rank it among the more scenic waterfalls of the Boone and Blowing Rock region.

Although I assume the waterfall has always been private, it has not always been out of the public eye. Early tourists in Valle Crucis visited the waterfall and it was a common subject on postcards of the era. The 1938 book The Scenic Resources of the Tennessee Valley featured Dutch Creek Falls with a full-page photo. Margaret Morely, in her 1913 book The Carolina Mountains, describes how early travelers went out of their way to see the falls. “From Valle Crucis to Banner Elk, under Beech Mountain, is another day’s walk, when again you take the longest way, up Dutch Creek to see the pretty waterfall there…” Morely says the route from the falls follows Dutch Creek upstream and to Hanging Rock, the prominent promontory seen from various viewpoints in the surrounding valleys. I’m not aware of a public access to Hanging Rock, although some of the property on its lower slopes is now part of Grandfather Mountain State Park.

Dutch Creek Falls

Nikon D850, Nikon 28-300mm lens at 34mm, f/22, 1 second, ISO 64, polarizing filter.

Dutch Creek Falls

Nikon D850, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 24mm, f/22, 1.6 second, ISO 64, polarizing filter.

Dutch Creek Falls postcard

Early postcard of Dutch Creek Falls.

Dutch Creek Falls

Photo from The Scenic Resources of the Tennessee Valley (1938). The description from the book: “Dutch Creek Falls, 90 feet high, is located 2 miles south of Valle Crucis, N.C., at the head of a small cove which is virgin in appearance, if not in fact. The stream drops almost vertically down the steep face of the cliff, which is sufficiently rough to break the fall and vary the texture of the water. Large hemlocks, beeches, and other cove hardwoods tower above a dense tangle of laurel and rhododendron. Only a few foot-worn paths give access to the falls through this tangle growth. Because Dutch Creek has a large watershed above the falls, the flow is fairly uniform the year round. Its entire appearance has an intimacy and charm which is unspoiled in spite of numerous visitors.”