10s of thousands of people have driven through Harmon Den off I-40 in North Carolina, on their way up to Max Patch. The area is very scenic and beautiful, but what many don't realize is that just a short drive and hike off Harmon Den Rd is a beautiful waterfall, called Little Fall Branch Falls (also called Waterfall on Little Fall Branch).
Harmon Den, in Pisgah National Forest, off I-40 (Exit 7), West of Asheville, North Carolina
Creekside hike, beautiful woods, and waterfall
Take I-40 to the Harmon Den Exit 7. If you are coming from Asheville, you'll take I-40 West. If traveling west on I-40, turn right at the bottom of Exit 7; if traveling east, turn left and go under the overpass. This is Cold Springs Road (FS 148). The road quickly turns into a gravel road. Drive 3.7 miles and then turn right where you'll see signs for a picnic area and horse camping. Follow this road about 0.3 mile, past both the picnic area and horse camp, to a gate. Park near the gate (don't block it). The trailhead is just past the gate on the left.
No special gear required, this is a short and easy hike.
Little Fall Branch Falls
This 40' waterfall is a real hidden gem, and surprisingly pretty. Little Fall Branch Falls isn't a free falling waterfall all the way down, but a steep incline of cascades that launch the water, and make it beautiful to see, hear, and photograph.
The falls are surrounded by luscious green vegetation, included lots of moss and ferns.
In dry or drought conditions, Little Fall Branch Falls isn't worth visiting, but after a good rain or even in normal conditions, it's well worth the visit.
Hiking to Little Fall Branch Falls
Calling the walk to this waterfall a hike is a bit of a stretch. From the parking area, it's only .3 miles to the waterfall, along an informal, creekside trail, that has a very slow incline up to Little Fall Branch Falls.
The trailhead begins just after the gate, and you'll see it immediately to the left, next to the small creek. The photo above was taken just after starting the trail.
Not far along, you'll hear the sounds of the waterfall in the distance, and before you know it, it will appear ahead of you.
Visiting this waterfall, while in the Harmon Den area or while heading up to Max Patch, makes for a worthwhile side trip.
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