Headwaters State Forest is (as of this writing) a soon-to-be piece of protected property along the North Carolina-South Carolina border in Transylvania County. Established in 2009 with the acquisition of land by local conservancy groups, Headwaters will eventually total around 8,000-acres in size. Named for it location surrounding the headwaters of the East Fork French Broad River the forest is a rugged and all but undeveloped piece of real estate containing wooded ridges and numerous waterfalls (although the advertised 20+ count may be a bit exaggerated). As of 2016 the forest exists more in concept than in actual reality. Based on varying reports I've read it could be 2018 or 2019 before the final land acquisitions are made and a comprehensive management plan is enacted. Beyond that an infrastructure still needs to be built. So, for those of us with a sense of adventure and a good map can experience this future state forest at its most raw...untouched yet by the hands of man.
Reece Place Falls, when the forest does eventually open, will no doubt be one of its main attractions. Sixty feet in height and relatively easy to access provided you know where to look, Reece Place is a waterfall of remarkable and serene beauty. A one-mile, fairly level path leads up to the falls wandering through quiet woodlands and passing the remnants of farmsteads long gone. Come on along with me won't you to visit a place still enveloped in wildness which, in all likelihood, will get much busier in the future.
I present to you Reece Place Falls...
Mileage Hiked: 1.9 miles Hike Duration: 1:10
Trailhead Temp: 60'F Trail Traffic: None!
Min. Elevation: 2,350' Max. Elevation: 2,650'
Total Vertical Gain: 300' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 158'
(From Rosman) -Travel south on US-178 from Rosman and make a left onto East Fork Road. Follow East Fork Road east for 7.9 miles to Busted Rock Road on the right.
(From Brevard) -Travel south on US-276 and make a right onto East Fork Road. Follow East Fork Road west for 4.2 miles to Busted Rock Road on the left.
-Drive 0.4 miles down Busted Rock Road (gravel) to a small grassy parking area just before the road makes a ford of the East Fork French Broad River. The hike begins up a gated forest road on the left just before the stream/parking area.
-Hike the old road for about a mile to a point where the road seems to dead end and you hear falling water ahead through the trees. A faint path leads from here to the base of an unnamed waterfall. Cross the stream to the left of the cascade through a tangle of dog hobble and rhododendron and pick up the path heading up the hill beside the stream. Within a couple hundred feet you'll arrive at the bottom of Reece Place.