DuPont State Forest - Bridal Veil Falls (1-18-15)
I'm just going to come right out and say it. Although Bridal Veil Falls is unquestionably one of the more uniquely beautiful waterfalls in the southern mountains the hike to them is, in my opinion, one of the least enjoyable in the region. There are three reasons for this. First, as the central hub of DuPont State Forest these trails are crushingly overrun with visitors. As a lover of solitude and wilderness the crowds are almost unbearable. Secondly there's the issue of the trails, if indeed you can call them that. In reality they're all former roadways so essentially this is a road hike minus the vehicle traffic. Lastly is the simple lack of scenery coupled with numerous man-made visual intrusions. There are houses along this hike, there's an old air strip to cross, and power lines are not an uncommon sight. If it weren't for the incredible beauty of the falls acting as an incentive I'd stay about as far away from this series of trails as possible.
The route we'd be following is considered the standard route to Bridal Veil. Beginning at the Fawn Lake Access Point we'd enter the State Forest via the Fawn Lake Road to the aforementioned air strip. We'd then head north on Conservation Road which would take us to Bridal Veil Falls Road, the final 'trail' to the falls themselves. We would return via (generally) the same route. The falls themselves are aptly named. After an initial 10-foot drop the Little River spreads out in a giant white veil across an expansive, quarter-mile long sloping rock ledge. Fans of the movie 'Last of the Mohican's' will find the falls quite familiar.
The day itself couldn't have been nicer and, despite the crowds and less-then-scenic hike in, it was a pleasant day out to a beautiful waterfall. Come on along and see what we discovered...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.160928, -82.604328
Hike Length: ~5.0 miles Hike Duration: 3:30
Trailhead Temp: 50'F
Min. Elevation: 2,550' Max. Elevation: 2,900'
Total Vertical Gain: 500' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 100'
Trails Used (blaze color): Bridal Veil Road (unblazed), Conservation Road (unblazed), Fawn Lake Road (unblazed), Shortcut Trail (unblazed)