First of all, shout out to our wonderful bosses who stress to us how important it is to balance work and home life! They are the reason for our weekend getaway to the mountains!
After hanging around our cabin rental, we were ready for a mild adventure. Nothing super crazy like climbing Table Rock or bagging a Munro in Scotland mind you, this weekend was supposed to be relaxing after all. The nearby DuPont State Forest offered plentiful options to choose from.
Google and Alltrails led us to just what we were after. A moderate hike with a large payoff. Four Waterfalls Trail was very tempting (seen here https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/four-waterfalls-trail#:~:text=Four%20Waterfalls%20Trail%20is%20a,%2C%20walking%2C%20and%20nature%20trips), but we decided on the shorter High Falls to Triple Falls Tour instead (seen here https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/high-falls-and-triple-falls-tour).
Our hike began in the High Falls Parking area. Three spaces were left when we arrived at 10:30 on a Sunday morning, so if you go, arrive early or plan to wait for parking. Most people spend 2-4 hours parked here depending on which trails they take. All of the amenities were closed because of COVID and the portapotties available shouldn’t have still been in use. Masks are recommended when maintaining 6ft apart is not possible, we only encountered a few tighter places that required pulling our masks back up on our faces.
Pretty close to the parking lot is a beautiful covered bridge that is worth the extra .3 miles. It was originally built by a developer who wanted to build homes here, but ultimately lost a battle with the state, who now controls the property. While it is not historic, it was built with historic charm and is one of many places in the area that make for lovely photos.
From here, we decided to follow the trail on the river side to keep the Little River close at hand and to keep exploring the falls. We were pretty impressed with the trails. They were well maintained and only muddy in a few places where the mountains changed how they drained into the river below. Our hike in the last week in September saw the leaves just beginning to show signs of changing. In a few more weeks, the colors of fall would be glorious.
The base of the 125ft High Falls is a beautiful rocky area where you can look straight up the cascading water at the end of the trail. I opted for a picture that shows off the beginnings of fall further away from the base. The roaring of the falls is surprisingly not overwhelming and would make a lovely spot to rest a while.
We continued our journey down river and sometimes back up hill, but with a total elevation gain of just about 500 feet on the loop we were taking, it wasn’t anything serious. The trail popped out on a set of stairs down to a viewpoint basically in the middle of the 120ft Triple Falls. You get to see the first two waterfalls from here and if you are a fan of the movie Last of the Mohicans, it might strike a familiar tune.
Instead of continuing on down to the base of Triple Falls, we decided we had enough adventure after exploring the beautiful forest and seeing two great waterfalls. We also knew there was a chance of rain and thunderstorms later in the afternoon and did not want to attempt the steep approach to our cabin rental while it was wet. It was tough enough dry! At the crossroads in the trail we decided to take the side of the High Falls Loop that had a more gradual incline in the few places there was one. We were thankful for it after climbing the stairs leading back up from the Triple Falls viewpoint.
All in all, it was the perfect trail. Great for hikers of all ages and even mountain bikes and horses! A big reward for any of the options to see these all or just 1 of the 4 waterfalls. Check out Dupont State Forest for more information on horse and bike friendly trails.