Sometimes a waterfall search takes you to unexpected places and to unexpected pleasures. The search for Tumblin’ Fun Falls is one of those.
Tumblin’ Fun Falls is usually listed as a 185-foot waterfall on Mill Creek, a tributary of the Thompson River. Something that big is worth seeing but, since there is a no real trail, all the guides just provide rudimentary directions on how to find it. Such directions are not ideal given the difficulty of the terrain. Research for better directions to the falls proved futile but did uncover a reference to “original Tumblin’ Fun Falls.”
It was this clue that led to Patrick and Noel Horan, owners of a 140-acre private nature reserve in the Whitewater area of North Carolina. The original owners of the property, the Hinkles, told the Horans that one of the waterfalls on their property was the “original” Tumblin’ Fun Falls. Found on Laurel Creek, which empties into Corbin Creek then the Whitewater River, the waterfall, for some unknown reason, had its name transferred to the Mill Creek cascade sometime back in the 1920s. There is a possibility that this change was made to discourage visitation in that there, purportedly, were moonshine stills along this portion of Laurel Creek during that time.
The property is a true mountain paradise, lovingly maintained by the Horans. The house overlooks a mountain pond formed by Laurel Creek. A rather odd sight is the number of blooming water lilies in this pond. Odd in the fact that they are hardy in this environment. The house is surrounded by a plethora of small water features filled with more lilies (and a few harmless water snakes). Even more flowers and plants continue the colorful theme around the house. Behind the house is the vegetable garden along with a coop of chickens and turkeys. Expect a couple of bearded collies, Parker and Eric, to sound your arrival then accompany you during your visit.
It is just a short walk down past the driveway to Tumblin’ Fun Falls, which drops through some 30 feet of staired tiers into a ravine that seems to suddenly appear as you step off the driveway. The steepness of this drop is a sharp and unexpected contrast to the lay of the land around the house and pond.
Another nice waterfall can be found on the property, also. In that it had no name, the Horans named it Dorothy’s Falls after Noel’s mother. This cascade is found along a trail about a quarter of a mile long with its trailhead on the driveway before you get to the pond. Dorothy’s Falls is a picturesque tiered cascade standing in at 20 feet or so.
Since this is a private nature sanctuary, no location details have been provided in order to maintain the owner’s privacy; however, should you be interested in visiting the Horans, you can contact Noel at firstname.lastname@example.org.