Located just a short hike off Highway 215, near the Blue Ridge Parkway, Lower Bubbling Spring Branch Falls makes for a quick trip, and is a beautiful and photogenic waterfall. Below the falls are a couple of small pools for wading, which are excellent for young kids to play in and explore.
Location: In Pisgah National Forest, off Highway 215 near The Blue Ridge Parkway Roundtrip Distance: 0.5 miles Difficulty: Moderate Handicap Accessible: No Dog Friendly: Yes Features: Waterfalls, Forest, creeks, camping Directions:From The Blue Ridge Parkway, take NC Highway 215 exit at MP423. Take 215 North for .5 miles, and park in the large gravel parking area on the left. Recommended Gear: Standard Day hiking essentials, Pisgah National Forest Ranger District Trail MapMap:
Lower Bubbling Spring Branch Falls
While not a gorgeous waterfall, and it’s close to the road, the Lower Bubbling Spring Branch Falls is pretty and secluded. The waterfall is best visited after a hard rain, as the flows will be stronger. The hike to the falls is short and easy, making this a good hike for kids and less hiking experienced adults.
The waterfall has two separate and parallel cascades, which flow into a small pool at the base. The falls are surrounded by forest and Rhododendron.
Hiking to Lower Bubbling Spring Branch Falls
You’ll begin your hike on the north end of the parking lot, by walking up the road a hundred feet or so. You’ll see the Mountains-To-Sea trail marker (a white diamond) on your left, just before a smaller parking area for a campsite. The trail entrance looks more like a water runoff at first.
While walking on the road, be real careful, traffic comes flying by here, and due to the turns, they won’t be able to see you well. Fortunately there is enough room to walk on the side of the road. Keep a close eye on children here.
Once on the Mountains-To-Sea trail, you’ll enter some woods, and soon come to a creek crossing. Rock hop over it, and climb up the embankment on the far side. The Mountains-To-Sea trail will go right here, and to your left will be a campsite. Go towards the campsite. Walk right through it, in the same direction you are heading, and you’ll come to a creek crossing, with rocks for hopping across. Cross the creek, and pick up the trail, which will head upstream.
Follow the trail through the woods until you reach another creek crossing. Again, rock hop across, and you’ll pick up the trail again on the far side. Follow the trail for a short distance, until you yet again reach a creek crossing.
Rock hop across, and pick up a short trail that will take you to a rocky area of the creek, and will provide a view of a small cascade (shown below). From here walk upstream across the rocks (white rocks in the photo below). Lower Bubbling Spring Branch Falls is just above and beyond this small cascade.
Small cascade below Lower Bubbling Spring Branch Falls
Reaching Lower Bubbling Spring Branch Falls
As you climb up the rocks above the small cascade, you’ll see and hear the falls. You’ll have to hop/climb around a few small rocks before reaching a flatter, almost beach like area perfect for relaxing, and taking photos.
We first visited later in the evening, and had the Falls all to ourself until we left almost an hour later. You’ll often find yourself alone here, as it’s not a well known waterfall.
The waterfall is pretty, and makes wonderful sounds as the water cascades down the rock face and into the pool below. The only distraction is the sounds of the cars, and in particular, motorcycles as they drive along the very nearby Highway 215. Regardless, Upper Bubbling Spring Branch Falls are well worth a visit. The area is gorgeous, and there are numerous photo opportunities both of the falls, and of the pools and cascades around it.
Just up the creek a short way is Upper Bubbling Spring Branch Falls. Be sure to check it out as well while you’re there.
You’ll return to the parking area the same way you arrived.
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