Take a short jaunt to Picklesimer Rock House Falls in Highlands

Picklesimer Rock House Falls is not as grand as the vistas from Whiteside Mountain or the three-tiered cascading Glenn Falls, but it has a charm of its own nestled a half mile off the road in Blue Valley.

Storms over the summer have jammed up the bottom of Picklesimer Falls with debris, but it’s still a gorgeous place to visit.

Like many waterfalls in western North Carolina, visitors can walk behind the falls while surrounded by a giant-natural amphitheater of rock. The Falls are approx. 40-feet high and flow varies depending on recent rainfall. Swing by in late August and it may be a slight trickle, springtime tends to flow pretty strong.

Because of its proximity to the road, Picklesimer Falls is a great option for a picnic as you don’t have to carry in the supplies very far. If time is a factor, swing by, see something amazing, and be on your way. The Falls lead into a creek and combined with rock formations the entire area is a photographer’s wonderland.

Picklesimer Falls lands on a rock that you can sit on if you can navigate the fallen storm debris.

Picklesimer Falls is gorgeous and easy to get to, from Highlands drive about six miles on Highway 28 and then hang a right at Blue Valley Road. Keep driving straight (road turns gravel) until your reach a US Forest Service map with camping regs, policies, etc. Hang a left at this sign. Strangely, this turn is not included in several descriptions of Picklesimer Falls online, but it’s a crucial part in the scheme of things.

Behind Picklesimer Falls is an incredible pocket of rock to explore.

Drive approx. a half mile from the USFS sign and as the road curves to the right, there is a small one-car pulloff on the left side of the road. The trailhead is an old logging road that goes up to the right. Walk past the USFS gate and continue up the trail.

It’s only a half mile to the Falls and the majority is uphill, but hang there, it’s short and you’re almost there! The trail eventually levels off and hikers come upon a grassy clearing. The trail may not be very visible in this clearing because of overgrown grass, but head to the archway at the treeline across the clearing. Be vary of snakes going through the grass.

Hikers can walk underneath Picklesimer Falls and stay dry.

Due to recent storms there are some fallen trees and debris in the creek below the Falls and some stretching from top to the bottom. Please use common sense when visiting the Falls. The top is accessible to hikers, but people have fallen off in the past resulting in serious injury. There are no signs or guardrails, so again, use common sense and be careful.

Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
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