Stairway Falls

May 2002

State: North Carolina

Location: Western part of North Carolina, Jackson County.

Height: 50

Crest: ?

River: Horsepasture River

Waypoint: 35.0855N 82.9567W

Summary: Rainbow Falls is the reason to see the Horsepasture River. Reaching Stairway Falls will take over an hour. It is a nice hike, but if time is pressing, you may want to pass on this one.

Stairway Falls is one of the many falls on the Horsepasture River. See Rainbow Falls for details on how to find the falls. Stairway Falls is about a mile downstream from Rainbow Falls. There is a well defined trail at first, but it gets rougher and less distinct the farther you go. The river is not always visible from the trail. There are many little spurs that lead to the river, and there are all sorts of cascades, minifalls and boulders to see. There are also trails that head away from the river and into the hills. Stay to the right as much as possible. You will pass through some campsites, and cross a creek (or two) before you reach Stairway Falls.

There are lots of boulders in the river at this point and you can easily hop out and get a nice view of the falls. It is a nice place to have lunch. You can get to the top of the falls and some of the intermediate "stairs" pretty easily. The trail does continue downstream, but it is extremely rough. It looks like most people stop at this point. Windy Falls is farther downstream, but getting to it is apparently quite the challenge.

Nearby Falls

Drift Falls, Turtleback Falls and Rainbow Falls are all on a 1.5 mile stretch of the Horsepasture river. Whitewater Falls are nearby on NC 281, just north of the South Carolina border.

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Last Modified: Thursday, 08-Oct-2009 18:12:47 MDT.

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