Cedar Mountain, NC
Riley Moore Falls, at only 10 to 15 feet high, is rather short in comparison to most other falls in the mountains. Still, the facts that it occurs on the Chauga River (whitewater cousin of the Chattooga, one ridge west) and that is at least 50 feet wide make it special. What made my first visit there even more memorable was seeing otters playing in the Olympic-size pool down stream of the falls (sorry, I couldn't get a picture of the otters before they swam away). The easy-to-moderate 1 mile hike follows a somewhat-steep Forest Service road for about 15 minutes. Then, it turns left at a metal jeep barricade onto a recently constructed (but unblazed) trail which eases gently to the river. You can cut the hike in half and drive to the jeep barricade if you have a high-clearance or 4WD vehicle.
Directions: From Westminster, drive west on US 76 for 7.5 miles and turn right onto Cobb Bridge Road (this is the second turn for Cobb Bridge Road, not the first turn at the church just past Chau-Ram County Park). Drive 1.5 miles and turn left onto gravel Spy Rock Road (FS 748). Drive 1.7 miles to FS 748C (may be hard to spot) on the right. Park on the side of the road and hike to the falls. If you have a truck or 4WD, you may be able drive down 748C to the metal jeep barricade.
All photos © Allen Easler.