Category Archives: Things to do along Tuckasegee River

The Must-See Conservation Film, Thurs. April 19

On Thursday, April 19, at 7:00 – 8:30 PM, there will be a must-see documentary movie at the Smoky Mountain Community Theater (130 Main Street, Bryson City).  It recalls the life of perhaps the most influential U.S. conservationists of the 20th century, Aldo Leopold.  The movie is more than dry history — it is a contemporary summons to challenge us to take care of the natural resources around us.

You should put his name up there in your pantheon of great American conservationists, along with Henry David Thoreau and John Muir.  Leopold is the author of the Sand County Almanac and the writer of “a land ethic” — a brief essay calling for a redefinition our relationship with the very land that we live on.  He is the instigator of “watershed restoration.”

If you do one thing for WATR or for your green-minded growth this year, come and see this film.  At least 25 students from Swain High should attend, and they should be bring their parents.  Friends should bring friends.  WATR’s contacts in the world of building and excavating are especially invited.  If you can help to usher or staff the WATR table — call the office.Green Fire Poster

Roger Clapp


The Tuckasegee Trout Unlimited Team

The Tuckasegee Trouth Unlimited team will be doing more trash clean up in concert with the WCU Annual Tuck Cleanup. The group will be meeting at CJ Harris Boat Launch. Pickup will be done by walking the shoreline, by wading, and by boat. Dress appropriately and bring gloves. The cleanup will start at 8:00  A.M. Saturday, April 21st.
Questions? Contact Jerry Deweese @ 828 284-4979.
Need directions? Click  here 

Hey! Please check out our action teams here.

My favorite place on the river

What is your favorite spot on the Tuckasegee?
Mine is Warden’s Falls in Panthertown. My late wife Pam and I use to like to go out on the rocks at the falls and lay in the sun for awhile.
I remember a particularly warm day in February a few years back when we lay on the rocks, sunned and listen to the rushing water that passed by just a few feet from us. I think we both dozed. It was kind of surreal.
Warden’s Falls is just downstream from where the Tuckasegee River begins –

Route from Tuckasegee origin, lower left, to Warden's Falls

where Greenland Creek and Panthertown Creek join. If you’ve ever been to Panthertown, Greenland Creek is the one that flows over Schoolhouse Falls. Panthertown Creek follows the valley floor trail, and there are interesting sandbars along the way.
Warden’s Falls is the first of a series of falls that gets the river on its way. Downstream, in fairly rapid succession, are Jawbone Falls, Riding Ford Falls and Elbow Falls. A little further down is Red Butt Falls, a good place to waterslide, according to Burt Kornegay, whose map of Panthertown is the best way to find these out-of-the-way places.
A hike along the Panthertown Valley Trail, which parallels Panthertown Creek, will get you to the river’s beginning.  Then to get to Warden’s Falls, you go up the Power Line Road Trail to where it takes a sharp bend to the left. A foot path to the right takes you under the power line and steeply downhill through woods to the river and the rocks.
A portion of the route – from river’s origin to the falls – is seen in the accompanying map. This is provided through the courtesy of Burt, whose map is for sale in Sylva at City Lights book store and Black Rock outfitters and in Bryson City at the bicycle shop. It can also be found at the Highlands Hiker in Cashiers and Highlands. Or you can order it directly from Burt at
The latest edition of the map was published in 2009, and overlays a USGS topographical map. Park boundaries; many, many Forest Service trails, and less maintained footpaths are outlined on the map, as well as the waterfalls and other points of interest.
So, what is your favorite place on the river. This blog is open to all. Let’s hear from you.

_ Bill Lee

A Trip to the Falls with Two Names

Photo from “Occoneechee,” published in 1916
The falls as it looks today

     It’s a beautiful April morning, and I’m hiking into an area below Glenville dam to see a waterfall on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee River that not many people take the time to see.
     The path – an old road – is lined with wildflowers: bluets, violets, white violets, star chickweed, squirrell corn and hundreds of trillium, white and purple, that carpet the floor of the woods along the trail.
     The waterfall I’m visiting is called Tuckaseigee Falls in one instance and High Falls in another. The first reference is in a caption to a picture (above) of the falls in the book, Occoneechee, The Maid of the Mystic Lake , by Frank Jarrett, founder of the Jarrett House in Dillsboro.
     The caption for the Tuckaseigee Falls picture locates it as “above Dillsboro, N.C.”
     Well, it is indeed above Dillsboro but by quite a few miles.
      Jarrett’s book was first published in 1916, and the photograph shows the waterfall at full flow, which is how it looked until the Glenville dam was built in 1941.
     The second reference, High Falls, was contained in a book, The Scenic Resources of the Tennessee Valley. It called the falls one of the three or four most impressive cataracts in the Tennessee Valley. But it was published in 1938, also before the construction of the dam.
     Regardless of what it’s called, the falls  — even with a reduced flow – is worth the hike, which is about 4.5 miles round trip. Before you get to your goal, you are treated to another spectacular falls, Rough Run. There is no dam blocking this water as it falls a hundred feet, at least, into the Tuckasegee River.
     Finally at the Tuckaseigee Falls, I start shooting photos so that I can compare them to the shot in Jarrett’s book. The shape of the falls is readily recognizeable from the old photo, even though the flow seems only about a third of its original.
     I run into a group of Cashiers area folks who have been on a wildflower hike and are eating lunch at the falls. Their leader, Carl Blozan, tells me he has seen the falls at full flow when he and his wife Kathie hiked in shortly after Hurricane Ivan hit in September, 2005.
     The rocks below the falls are a great place to eat lunch. It’s a fairly safe area, except for some slick rocks. So watch your footing. It’s an especially bad idea to climb the heights to get a better view of the falls.
     My duties finished, I take leave of the other hikers and walk the two-plus miles back to my truck.
     This is a fairly easy hike, not-so-strenuous ups and downs. To find the trail head, go south on NC 107 from the Sylva-Cullowhee area. Just before you reach Glenville, take the  Shoal Creek Road to the right . Park when you see a gated road to the right. Then start hiking the gated road. Early on, there is one fork, take the left one which goes uphill, the other goes down.
     The road will turn in to more of a path, but is easy to follow. After you’ve admired Rough Run, the path to the falls is easy to follow. To get below the falls, you will have do some scrambling over rocks. But it’s not hard.
— Bill Lee