Queens Falls & Other Waterfalls on FR 422


From the trailhead for Bartram Falls, Handpole Branch Falls, Inside Passage Falls, Ledbetter Creek Falls, and Notch Falls, drive 0.25 mile northwest on US 19/74 and turn right on FR 422 (Winding Stairs Road). The road is unpaved beyond the bridge over the Nantahala River. It’s closed in winter (generally from January through March). It is 2.95 rough miles to a view on the right of Queens Falls, where the road makes a sharp left turn around a ridge.

Although you’ll have an open view of the waterfall, a power line spans the gorge beside it. If that’s not enough, there’s a high-power line with steel towers above the falls, as well as water pipes coming from the small lake above the falls. That’s too bad, because the waterfall would look good from the road without those ugly distractions. The property is private, so you can’t climb down the bank for a better view.

As you drive FR 422 to Queens Falls, you’ll cross Queens Creek at 0.9 mile. An old, overgrown logging grade follows the creek upstream past several cascades. I didn’t follow the creek all the way up to Queens Falls, but what I did find wasn’t worth the effort.

At 1.3 miles on FR 422, you’ll cross a small stream that falls steeply down the mountain. It’s pretty much a continuous waterfall above and below the road, but it’s on such a small stream that it isn’t exciting even in high water.