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Twin Falls - Pisgah National Forest

Wild geranium blooming trailside.
Wild geranium blooming trailside.
Dan Goodwin

There are several waterfalls that carry the name of Twin Falls but most of them are simply the split water flow of the same stream. Not so with the Twin Falls in Pisgah National Forest. They are two distinct and different streams.

The gate into Pisgah National Fordst is the intersection of US 64 and US 276 in Pisgah Forest, NC. Take US 276 into the Forest. You will quickly pass the entrance to Davidson River Campground and begin looking on your right for a Riding Stables sign. Follow the road 2.0 miles to the stables after which you will cross a bridge and the character of the road changes as it can be a little narrow with very steep, almost vertical drop-offs on the right. After 0.3 miles past the stables, you will find a small turn out with room for about 2 cars. The trail marker for the Avery Creek Trail is in the front of the turn out.

The route to Twin Falls is a little bit complicated, involving three different trails and fourteen footbridges. Adding to the confusion is that these trails also accommodate horse traffic so there are horse fords every place there is a footbridge. Sometimes the trail will approach the stream at the horse ford making it look like you’re supposed to cross there. Do not be deceived. There is always a footbridge. The trail may make a hard turn at the horse ford so just look for the trail to be on the side of the ford. As explanation, the word “footbridge” is used rather loosely as these crossings are really just two or three logs with a handrail.

Starting out high above the creek, the blue-blazed trail will quickly drop you down to Avery Creek and an open area, which looks like it used to have beaver activity. While on the Avery Creek Trail, you will cross four footbridges.

At a half mile, you will pass the Waterfall on Avery Creek. Continue for another 0.4 miles to a T junction where the orange-blazed Buckhorn Gap Trail joins the Avery Creek Trail giving you both a blue and orange blazes for 0.1 miles after which you lose the Avery Creek Trail, so just pay attention to the orange blazes. In this section where you will be following the Buckhorn Gap Trail, you will cross six footbridges.

After another half mile (you’ll be at 1.4 total miles at this point), you will see some hitching rails alongside the trail. Another 0.2 miles and you find the trail marker for Twin Falls Trail on your left. There is no blaze for this trail since it dead-ends at the falls. You will cross another three footbridges on this trail.

After crossing your 3rd footbridge (in disrepair without a handrail), you will probably see and hear a waterfall high up on your left, generating the stream you just crossed. There will be a trail shortly heading in that direction. Bear in mind that this is not Twin Falls. If you investigate, you will find a 30-foot waterfall that is difficult to photograph with foliage in place.

From that point in the trail, you can also probably see, directly down the trail, an unnamed stream coming over Twin Falls-Right. There is a ridge on your left at this point on the trail. Rounding that ridge puts you in full view of Avery Creek as it comes down Twin Falls-Left, a 100-foot tall beauty. A trail branches off to take you up toward the base. The last section of the falls is about 50-foot plunge but be aware that there are several other sections above that. Because of the foliage obscuring the upper sections this is probably better viewed as a winter hike. On this particular spring visit, there were lots of Vasey's Trillium up close to the falls.

Back down on the trail, continue over to the right falls. Although also measured at a hundred feet, foliage can hide several of the sections. There is no significant singular plunge. Again, this would be better viewed on a winter hike.

The trail appears to continue on past the falls but this is a dead end. Return the way you came.