Gorges State Park - Bearwallow Valley & Falls Trails, Transylvania County (8-21-12) - dwhike
The Bearwallow Valley Overlook...good thing it doesn't require much effort is the first thought I had.  However, you have to take the power lines with a grain of salt.  Those are Duke Energy lines, the company who originally owned this land.  It was Duke Energy who decided to sell what is now Gorges State Park to the State of North Carolina rather than parceling it off to developers.  So, I guess I can put up with the lines...

Gorges is quickly becoming one of my favorite afternoon haunts. Not only is it an easy 10-miles from our home outside of Lake Toxaway, it offers a unique opportunity for me to see a state park in development. Barely a decade ago facilities here consisted of a couple roadside dirt parking lots. Now, a paved loop road, numerous maintained trails, picnic facilities, and a soon-to-be-opened visitor center (October 2012) are all available amenities. On this particular day I didn't have all that much time so I thought I'd do a quick recon of two of the parks shorter trails; the Bearwallow Valley and Bearwallow Falls Trails.

Each are around a half-mile one way and their names tell you what they're all about. The Bearwallow Valley Trail winds uphill from the parking area to a nice view of the Bearwallow Valley stretching away to South Carolina. The Bearwallow Falls Trail leads to an overlook with a rather restricted view of Upper Bearwallow Falls. I wouldn't rate these trails as the 'best of the park' but I hadn't hiked 'em yet, so I had to go...

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  35.101243, -82.945566

Mileage Hiked: 2.0 miles

Trailhead Temp: 73'F

Min. Elevation: 2,950'

Max Elevation: 3,300'