“A quintessential NC hike following a babbling branch (creek) to a waterfall.”
— Jake TheDawg
River/Creek · Swimming · Waterfall
Follow the Bubbling Branch to a beautiful waterfall via a flat trail.
Need to Know
Wear shoes with good tread. The trail follows the creek and crosses it several times. The trail runs up the creek for the last few feet over large flat rocks. No rock hopping or bouldering required. But like all rocks in the middle of a creek, they are SLIPPERY. A hiking stick is useful for added balance crossing the creek. I would have rated this as an easy trail but hiking the trail through the rhododendron is a little tricky. With more use, this trail should be easy to follow.
From the Blue Ridge Parkway, head north towards Canton on NC 215 for 0.4 mile. There is a large parking area on the left (west). There is also a single vehicle parking space just past the trailhead. I recommend the larger area which gets a lot of use for those hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
Hike north on NC-215 a short distance until your see the Mountains-to-Sea Trail which is marked with a large square post and a white blaze. Follow the trail west until you cross the creek. Here the trail splits left and right; go left and follow the trail a short way until you reach a large clearing (i.e. the ground has been beat down and all the under brush is dead) with a fire pit. Proceed left at the end of the clearing and cross the creek.
The trail turns right after crossing the creek and generally follows the left bank of the creek. My thanks to whomever added pink surveyor tape to help us along. Orange surveyor tape has been added to help those who may need a little more help finding the trail. Keep in mind this is the Middle Prong Wilderness area which is why the trails are not blazed better.
Despite its beauty, the trail is not heavily used. Consequently, it will not be as wide and beat down as you may be accustomed to. The trail goes through several rhododendron "hells" (i.e. very dense sections of vegetation that would be impassible without a man-made path) without too much trouble. It helps you follow the path but limits the view.
You are rewarded with a beautiful waterfall in a very quiet, scenic, and quintessential hideaway.
The path to Babbling Brook Fall #2 begins at the left of this waterfall.