Shuck Ridge Creek Falls & Daniel Ridge Loop (10-25-15)
A visit to Shuck Ridge Creek Falls has been a long time in the making for me. The main reason, its remote. Requiring, at minimum, an 8-mile round-trip hike this humble 25' cascade would hardly seem worth the effort to reach it. So it would probably be with me if it weren't for one simple fact, its on a list...the Carolina Mountain Club's Waterfall 100 List, a list I am slowly trying to complete. If I was going to expend the effort, I decided, then it would have to be the perfect kind of day...a day like October offered up to me on this Saturday. Cool...cloudy...and fall foliage peaking out meant that this had the makings of a comfortable and enjoyable few hours in the woods. I would soon find out this would be an incredible understatement.
Shuck Ridge Creek Falls can be reached from two directions, west and east. The west approach is about a 9-mile round-trip and combines F.R. 229 around Pilot Mountain, the Art Loeb Trail, and the Farlow Gap Trail. The route I chose is slightly shorter, at 8 miles roundtrip, but includes the option of integrating the popular and scenic Daniel Ridge Loop as a side trip for only a half mile extra effort. Starting at the Daniel Ridge Loop Trailhead west of the National Forest Fish Hatchery along Forest Road 475 I'd head first for Shuck Ridge Creek Falls via the west side of the Daniel Ridge Loop and the Farlow Gap Trail. Barring rain or sore knees I'd then, on my way back, decide whether or not to go ahead and complete the Daniel Ridge Loop which would include a stop by the 100' tall Tom's Spring Falls.
As I state later in this album there are certain hikes which don't live up to the hype and then there's hikes like this one would turn out to be, scenic and enjoyable beyond all expectations. Bathed in fall leaves the entire way, with one of the most serene waterfalls I've ever visited waiting for me at the halfway point this was an unexpectedly fantastic hike. Come along with me and see what I discovered...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.284822, -82.829212
Hike Length: 8.5 miles Hike Duration: 3:30
Trailhead Temp: 45'F
Min. Elevation: 2,635' Max. Elevation: 3,900'
Total Vertical Gain: 1,825' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 215'