Moore Cove Waterfalls Hike Route Map

Moore Cove Waterfalls (1-27-18)

Moore Cove Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the whole of the Pisgah Ranger District.  Accessed by the Moore Cove Trail, the unique and beautiful free-falling cascade can be reached by an easy to moderate walk of 3/4-mile (one-way) from a large trailhead along US-276.  Pretty much anyone can make this hike, from young to old and everyone in between, which is the reason why it sees the crush of visitors each summer season.  It might, therefore, be a bit of a turn-off for those who like to keep their hikes on the wild side but I'd still encourage you to visit...if only once.  In fact, if you want to reduce the chance of crowds go on a day like I did here...cool and damp...it's almost certain to thin foot traffic out considerably.  You can also add in the neighboring "twin" waterfall I'm sharing here which most folks visiting Moore Cove Falls never realize exists a short distance away.  This stunning unnamed waterfall will almost certainly give you a few minutes of solitude, even on the sunniest of days.  Regardless, this hike is a Pisgah classic as you'll see it very much deserves.

Departing the large pull-off at the trailhead the path immediately crosses Looking Glass Creek via a long, sturdy footbridge.  The view of the creek below is quite enjoyable as is the look at the craftsmanship of the CCC-built stone bridge carrying US-276 just upstream.  Beyond the footbridge the trail makes a briefly steep climb to the hillside above Looking Glass Creek and begins a meandering journey up into Moore Cove itself.  The trail passes a large rock ledge as it turns up into the cove and continues its gentle uphill journey.  At around the half-mile mark the trail makes the first of three bridged crossings of Moore Cove Creek.  ANother short climb takes you to the second and third crossings before one last steep ascent brings you to the base of Moore Cove Falls.  The waterfall is a unique one for the area in that it is a free-falling cascade.  The waters of the creek spill out over the edge of a 50-foot overhanging cliff providing the fun option of being able to walk behind the veil of falling water.  After taking in Moore Cove Falls you can now decide if you want to make the additional side-trip to see its twin.  If so, keep an eye out for a path which drops down the hillside from the main trail just below the viewing platform for Moore Cove Falls.  This unofficial trail immediately makes two crossings of the neighboring tributaries draining the cove before climbing briefly to follow a heavily overgrown old logging road.  Within a couple minutes you should spot the unnamed falls just ahead.  As mentioned, this waterfall is a virtual twin of Moore Cove Falls.  It takes a bit of work to scramble through the dense brush up to its base but, once you do, you'll likely have an equally beautiful waterfall to enjoy all to yourself.

After the unnamed falls simply head back to the main trail and retrace your steps the 3/4-mile downhill back to the start.  It's a quick and easy walk with a big payoff.  You'll certainly see why the path has earned its popularity.  With that said I invite you now to make the quick hike along with me up the Moore Cove Trail.  As you'll see, in a few rare instances, the wonders of Pisgah National Forest don't require a whole lot of effort.  As always, I hope you ENJOY!!!


Trailhead GPS Coordinates:   35.305878, -82.774571


Route Type:  Out-and-back               Difficulty:  EASY  (Petzoldt Rating:  2.00 )

Mileage Hiked:  1.6 miles                     Hike Duration:  1:00

Trailhead Temp:  45'F                          Trail Traffic:  5-10 people

Min. Elevation:  2,450'                          Max. Elevation:  2,620'

Total Vertical Gain:  200'                     Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile:  125'


Trails Used (Blaze Color):   Moore Cove Trail (yellow)


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