Gorges State Park - Paw Paw Falls, Transylvania County (2-14-14) - dwhike
Making it down to Bearwallow Creek we carefully made our way up the narrow, 100' long ravine to the base of Indian Camp Falls...

Gorges State Park contains one of the heaviest concentrations of waterfalls along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. The current total for named falls within the 8,000 acre park stands at 24 with countless other 'unofficial' cascades besides. Unfortunately for those who like easy access to their falls Gorges is somewhat lacking. As it stands in 2014 only one waterfall has maintained access (the series of Horsepasture River waterfalls, including Rainbow & Turtleback Falls, is actually on USFS land even though they're accessed through the park). That leaves 23 other waterfalls that, if you want to see them, are going to require no shortage of determination and a good map to penetrate the rugged interior of the park, where they're located.

The series of waterfalls collectively, if incorrectly, known as Paw Paw Falls lies along a mile stretch of Bearwallow Creek in the west half of the park about 2-miles from the nearest road access. The access route has two distinct phases. The first portion involves an easy to walk remnant logging road while the other half requires a 1,000' vertical bushwhack descent through numerous ravines choked with nearly impassible thickets of rhododendron. Needless to say, these falls don't see many visitors! Four waterfalls would be in our cross-hairs this day. Though some guidebooks group them together into one, long, broken waterfall the four cascades all have their own individual names and unique identities. Located farthest upstream, and the first we'd reach, would be Indian Camp Falls which when we continued downstream would be followed by Split Rock, Chute, and the Paw Paw Falls. As an added bonus recent heavy snows would allow me to strap on the ol' snowshoes for the first time in a while...it promised to be a fabulous day...


Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  35.089339, -82.950547


Mileage Hiked: ~4.5 miles

Trailhead Temp: 15'F

Min. Elevation: 2,350'

Max Elevation: 2,850'