Cove Creek Falls is located in the Cove Creek areas of the Pisgah National Forest Ranger district. This 50′ waterfall is accessible via a very nice 2 mile loop hike, that is off the beaten path.
The trailhead starts just across from the parking lot on the other side of the red gate. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the Cove Creek Group Camp sign on the left and the large bulletin board on the right.
You’ll begin your hike up a gravel forest service road (FR809) into the Cove Creek Campground. Following this road through the camping area. Along the way, the road will ford the creek twice, just prior to the creek crossing, if you look to the sides you’ll see small trails that lead to nice foot bridges that allow you to keep your feet dry.
As the road leaves the first group campsite clearing, and enters the woods again, to your right is a small waterfall area that also serves as a small sliding rock and shallow swimming hole.
The road ends in the second clearing. The trailhead you will be looking for is to the left of the pit toilet on the far end of the clearing. Just walk through the grass towards the toilet building and you’ll see the trail to the left.
The trail follows along side the creek for a bit until you come to a bridge on your left for the Caney Bottom Trail, don’t cross the bridge but continue straight onto the unofficial trail and follow it to the waterfall (we’ll tell you why below). This portion of the trail gets a little steep, but it’s only for a very short time, just take your time and go slow.
Very soon you’ll hear the sounds of Cove Creek Falls, and then see it through the trees. The trail will bring you out on the right side of the falls, where you have the best view and a nice comfortable fallen tree to sit on.
The official trail brings you out on the opposite side of the creek, where seeing the falls is difficult due to a large rock outcropping, seeing the waterfall is difficult. Coming in from the other side requires you to cross over the creek (to where you are now standing) for the best view. While using the trail we took will still require you to cross the creek, you won’t have to do it twice like you would on the normal trail, if you are doing the loop hike.
We spent about 20-30 minutes here letting our kids wade in the water, while we enjoyed the sites and sounds of the waterfall and took photos.
The fall itself is really pretty, especially after periods of heavy rainfall. Unfortunately the lower parts of the falls have old fallen trees, so you’ll need to be a bit creative when taking photos and getting good angles. The wading pool at the bottom is perfect for young kids, and for adults to soak their feet in the cool clear water.
Once you are ready to leave the falls, you have a choice of returning to your car back the way you came, or by crossing the creek, and taking the loop trail back. We took the loop back, it’s the same distance.
For the loop, the trail you want is cross the creek next to the large rock outcropping. There are some boulders here and fallen trees you can use to cross, but both are slick. We would recommend just removing your socks and shoes, and walking across the fairly shallow water. The water is very refreshing!
After you cross the creek, head along the trail until it forks. Go to the left. This will take you pack to the camping area and road.
If you prefer to do a longer 4.4 mile loop, go right and up. You can read above this longer loop in our or continuing on to do the 4.2 mile loop. We elected to do the loop, and really enjoyed it. You can read about the full 4.4 mile loop hike in our Cove Creek Loop Trail Guide.