Nellie’s Falls

Nellie’s Falls is a difficult drive followed by an easy hike. It’s located upstream on Flat Creek. Beware of Google Maps on this one, it marks the falls in the correct location but it doesn’t connect any of the forest roads properly. To get here, turn west on Rock Bridge Rd off of NC 281 north of Panthertown. Follow the road until it ends at which point it will be FR 4662. There is minimal parking.

painted trillium

There are several nice creek access points here. You will need to ford it or take the log crossing. Head uphill briefly and take the trail to the left (not the forest road along the river). There are a lot of trails and roads around here so it’s worth making sure you are generally following the river upstream. There will be one left turn at an unmarked trail junction in a small pine grove as well. After that it’s a matter of following the trail down to the river and along the river. Ultimately you will have to cross just below the lovely little falls seen here:

a lovely little falls

We spent a bit of time here and found several small salamanders.

You can edge along the far side of the creek to go up and around the giant boulder and the really cool tree just beyond it.

a really cool tree

Now you have arrived at Nellie’s Falls. You can actually see Nellie’s from below the lower falls but it’s worth coming up around the boulder for a closer look. This area is very slick by the way.

Nellie’s Falls

There are supposedly routes to the top of this if you are interested. Usual disclaimer here about waterfalls being dangerous, they are of course MUCH more dangerous when you’re at the top. We liked the bottom just fine there are some nice deep pools here and an island with a log for optimal viewing.

Log for optimal waterfall viewing