Upper Avery Creek Falls

Upper Avery Creek Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at 48mm, f/11, 1.3 second, ISO 200, polarizing filter.

Beauty Rating:
Trail and scramble path
Avery Creek
River Basin:
French Broad
2,760 feet
Type and Height:
Cascading and free-falling falls about 25 feet high
Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Ranger District
Shining Rock
Hike Distance:
About 1.75 miles
Hike Difficulty:
Photo Rating:
Waterfall GPS:
Upper Avery Creek Falls:  N35.32890, W-82.76744
Trailhead GPS:
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Driving Directions

From the junction of US 64, US 276, and NC 280 in Brevard, drive north on US 276 for 2.2 miles to FR 477 (Avery Creek Road), on the right. Follow this gravel road for 2.3 miles to a small pullout on the right. Avery Creek Trail begins here. From the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can get here by taking US 276 south for 4.05 miles and turning left on the upper end of FR 477. Follow it 4.95 miles to the trailhead.

Hike Description

Hike to Avery Creek Falls, then continue as you would to Twin Falls. When you reach the second foot log over Avery Creek, don’t cross. Instead, continue straight on Avery Creek Trail. The first 0.6 mile is an easy, gradual ascent that loosely follows Avery Creek upstream. You’ll cross a few little branches, the final one at 0.6 mile. Beyond this stream, the trail climbs steeply. In about 100 yards, you’ll reach a side path on the right. The path descends steeply 150 feet to the base of the falls. The side path is easily missed, so pay close attention.


I wasn’t keen on this waterfall on my first visit several years ago. I suppose I was dissuaded by the fact that it’s always covered in downfall. Sometimes, the photographer in me has a hard time seeing past the clutter to the real beauty of a waterfall. Upper Avery Creek Falls is still covered in fallen trees and branches, but it captivated me on my last visit. The water falls over lots of little ledges, and everything is covered in lush moss. It really is a beauty! In fact, were it not for the downfall, I might give it a beauty rating of 8.

Unfortunately, the clutter will be here a long time. One huge log lying over the falls will likely remain until it rots away. At my age, I’ll never be able to make a good overall shot of the falls. However, it still makes a good subject for isolations. Bring a zoom lens in the 70-300mm range and you’ll find lots of good compositions. Just be sure to remain at the base. Please don’t climb on the rocks beside the falls and destroy the lush moss and herbs.

Upper Avery Creek Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at 62mm, f/14, 1.6 second, ISO 200, polarizing filter.