Standing in ta 65 feet tall, Cove Creek Falls (not to be confused with the Falls on Cove Creek) is a pleasant reward for what is a relatively easy 1.2 mile hike. The cascade can actually be seen on Google Maps satellite images so you get a good feel for the location of the waterfall.
From the intersection of US 276 and US 64 in Brevard, NC, takes US 276 into Pisgah National Forest for 5.2 miles. There, you find FS 475 and a sign for the fish hatchery. Turn left and go 3.1 miles to a parking area on the left across from the gate leading to the Cove Creek Group Camp (The pavement also ends here although FS 475 continues as gravel).
Park on the left, cross the road and go around the gate. Continue on the road/trail and you will almost immediately encounter a ford across Cove Creek. On your right, you’ll find a short trail that will take you to a footbridge for a dry crossing. Back on the road, about a quarter of a mile later, you’ll find the Falls on Cove Creek on your right.
Continuing on the road for about 100 yards will bring you to the Lower Cove Creek Group Camp, a large grassy area with picnic tables and restrooms. Follow the road through the camp until it re-enters the forest. Right at the tree line, you will find Little Sliding Rock.
A little more than 100 yards down the road will bring you to Upper Cove Creek Group Camp, similar in size and facilities to the Lower Camp. At the back left of the grassy area, you will see restrooms. Behind the restrooms are informal trails making a short climb up the bank to the Caney Bottom Trail (blue blazes). Go left on the trail and immediately cross Cove Creek on a footbridge. The trail then makes a hard right and, in about 50 yards, brings you to a large, primitive campsite. While the trail will now turn left and move away from the creek, go straight through the campsite and you will find a trail at the back paralleling the creek.
Just a few yards into the forest past the campsite and you will be able to see your reward through the trees, even with foliage on the trees. You will also come to a spot where the trail comes to the edge of the creek then turns left. At that spot, you will also see what appears to be a crossing. A decision must be made whether to cross the creek here or at the base of the waterfall. You will have to cross the creek at some point in order to get a good view. Rock-hopping at this point will give you an easy bushwhack (there are some faint paths) to the base of the waterfall. Otherwise, you will continue on the trail to the base and cross there. In high water flow, this might not be an easy crossing.
Cove Creek Falls is a tall, broad waterfall with relatively even water flow across the entire rock face. Technically, it is what would be called a “smooth tiered” cascade.
This is an excellent hike with three beautiful waterfalls. And, unless you happen to find a group in the camping areas, you’ll probably not see a soul along the way.