Milton Bradley Falls

Milton Bradley Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 25mm, f/14, 1.3 seconds, ISO 100, polarizing filter.

Beauty Rating:
Trail and bushwhack
Little Cove Creek
River Basin:
1,140 feet
Type and Height:
Cascading falls over mini-ledges; the total height is about 40 feet
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Cliffield Mountain
Hike Distance:
About 2 miles
Hike Difficulty:
3-8 (with a likely creek wade)
Photo Rating:
Waterfall GPS:
Trailhead GPS:
Google Earth Waterfall Download View waterfall on Google Earth. Link is for a Google Earth file. Click file after download and Google Earth will open and fly to the waterfall. Don't have Google Earth on your computer?

Driving Directions

Take the Saluda exit (Exit 59) off I-26 and head east on Holbert Cove Road (SR 1142). After less than 0.1 mile, turn left on the curviest paved road in North Carolina, Green River Cove Road (SR 1151). Go 3.75 miles and turn right on the dirt road just before the bridge over the Green River. A small sign is here for NCWRC Game Land Access Road. Immediately after turning right on the road, bear left and drive past some buildings to the gate at 0.1 mile.

Hike Description

Follow the gravel road beyond the gate. After 1 mile, you’ll come to a fork. A barn is on the left and an old cabin a few yards on the right. Go left. (A right turn here is the lower route to Bradley Falls.) You’ll come to a couple of forks. Go right at both. Beyond the second fork, you’ll reach the ford of Cove Creek in less than 100 yards. You might be able to rockhop in low water, but come prepared to wade. Beyond the ford, the road passes through fields. This section becomes overgrown in summer and is hard to follow. If you continue straight, you’ll reach a walnut grove in 0.25 mile. You can continue straight ahead through the woods to reach Little Cove Creek. The best option is to angle right as you walk through the fields. Walk to the far corner and enter the woods there. The creek is a short distance farther.

When you reach Little Cove Creek, follow it upstream about 0.4 mile to the falls. It’s easier to go up the river-right side, as there is an old road and paths for most of the way to the falls. But that route passes through private property at the start. To stay legal, head up on river left. It’s a bushwhack, but an easy one through mostly open, flat woods. When you reach the point where the slope rises sharply through a tangle of dog hobble, cross the creek and finish on river right. The waterfall is only a short distance upstream from this point.


What a pleasant surprise! I had seen photos of this waterfall by Rich Stevenson and Jack Thyen, but they didn’t do it justice. Nor do the ones I shot. If you like waterfalls that tumble over countless mini-ledges, you’ll love this one. In 2012, Jack and Andy Kunkle were the first to bring this waterfall to the public eye. They also found Bradley Cooper Falls and Marilou Bradley Falls on the same trip. I haven’t been able to find a reference to the falls elsewhere, so I’m happy to adopt the names Andy gave them.

Milton Bradley Falls is among the more photogenic waterfalls in the state. It looks good in all seasons, especially in spring and autumn. It’s among the few waterfalls that have trilliums growing on the falls. They are great to photograph, but extra caution is required. They grow on the steep, slippery slopes where you have to watch your step, both for your sake, and for the well being of the wildflowers.

I’ll add details about the Nearby Waterfalls as soon as possible.

Trillium at Milton Bradley Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 17mm, f/22, .4 second, ISO 400, polarizing filter.

Nearby Waterfalls

  •   Bradley Cooper Falls
  •   Marilou Bradley Falls
  •   Cavern Falls
  •   Bradley Falls
  •   Fishtop Falls