Remember last summer that big tall summit over 5,000 feet we led you up called “The Devil’s Courthouse”? The one where it was rumored there was a cave underneath the overhang where the 6 fingered giant Judacula and the devil held their court?
Well, Around on the back side of Whiteside mountain (where the Devil’s Courthouse is located), is Courthouse Falls (you will still get to it the same way, traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but then you will turn off on NC215 as if you were heading to Graveyard Fields). If you’re up for a longer hike, there is Sumey Cove Trail (about 3 miles), but for those up for a more leisurely hike, there’s Courthouse Falls trail. It’s only about a quarter of the distance as the Sumey Cove trail, but you still will need to keep your eyes out for things that might be hiding along the cliffs.
I nearly put my hands right on top of the little bird’s nest just nestled into the cliff side. There are many photo opportunities of Courthouse Creek on your way to the falls.
Once you get to the falls area, watch your step! The steps leading down to the falls are a little rickety and the boardwalks are not very well maintained. A recent storm (or two) have taken out the last step so, that last one really is a long one!
Don’t let the steps discourage you, once you get down them, it is well worth it. Just take it slow and easy. Once upon a time, there was a rope from the top of the falls where people could swing down and jump off, but it has since been removed, we are guessing due to maybe just a deteriorated rope. The water is so clear and very crisp feeling (putting it mildly if it wasn’t and 80+ degree day), but it felt great. It is not very deep at all and surprisingly not all that swift except directly under the falls. Nobody has pegged how deep it is exactly where the falls plunge into a dark pool. But the dark abyss is only right under the falls, everywhere else, you can see the bottom. The falls “chute” out from atop the mountain to 45 feet below, and who knows how far down in the dark pool. It was a wonderful experience and the walk back wet is not a bad one at all. So, if you plan on taking a dip here, either take the short trail, or bring a change of clothes for the longer trek back on the Sumey Cove. It is highly recommended on our list and we will be going back.