Bridal Veil Falls located in the Dupont State Forest is a unique cascading waterfall. The waterfall is thirty minutes south of Asheville. Due to the popularity of High Falls and Triple Falls, Bridal Veil is often overlooked by groups. Don’t let this fool you, Bridal Veil Falls is beautiful and worth the trek. The walk from High Falls Parking Lot is approximately 4.2 miles total. The top of the waterfall has a small overhang pictured in The Last of the Mohicans. Then the water sheets 120 feet down the granite surface. The waterfall has many viewing angles including an observation trail and the boulders at the bottom of the falls. When the water is low enough, hikers can walk up the side of the cascade to the upper fall. Be careful and use common sense, every year hikers get seriously hurt when trying to climb wet rocks.
Our second trip to Dupont Forest was good luck. We had a morning trip scheduled in the area and finished earlier enough to explore. We made a quick stop in Brevard for some water and snacks then headed out to the forest. On last trip, another hiker told us of a parking lot farther up the trail, so we searched it out for this adventure. The High Falls parking lot is a mile farther up the road and has the Dupont Forest visitor center next to the lot. We arrived at noon on a Saturday and the parking lot was full. We ended up parking on the side of the road in the line of cars. At first we weren’t sure if the park tolerated parking on the side of the road, but at least fifty cars lined the road when we left. We loaded up the backpack and headed towards High Falls.
On our last trip, we stopped at the lower trail and didn’t see the bridge. This trip we headed to the covered bridge first. It was the first warm weekend of February, so the trails had many groups walking along. The parking lot to the bridge is a short walk along a crushed shell path. Read the signs as you pass trails to make sure you stick on the right path. The trails are well labeled, but we did pass a few groups laughing about wrong turns. A quick half mile walk along the trail and we came upon the covered bridge at the top of high falls. The covered bridge is a nice photo opportunity over the river and a relaxing spot. Unfortunately, you can’t see the waterfall from the bridge. I never would guess how large the waterfall is from the edge of the bridge, so make sure you continue exploring. At this point, we originally planned on heading down the river to the base of High Falls and then Triple Falls. The entire crowd seemed to head downhill towards Triple Falls and we wanted a quiet walk. The sun was out and we had snacks in the backpack, so we decided to head to Bridal Veil Falls instead. The sign post said 2 miles and the road looked flat enough, so we pressed on. Neither of us had researched the waterfall, so the trek was an adventure.
The trail was wide open and flat, and most of the walk was in the sun. The sunshine was welcome in February, but bring plenty of water in the summer. As we walked to our destination, groups of mountain bikes would pedal past. The road and terrain was perfect for them and I was a bit jealous of their route. The midway point is the Lake Julia Spillway, a small creek on the side of the manmade Lake Julia. The forest service has built up a nice creek bed under the bridge and planted local trees along the creek. The bridge is a good spot to stop for a water break and let the kids run around a bit.
The walking path is below the lake and you won’t see the view. Take a moment and walk up the side trail for 30 seconds and enjoy the panorama. Later on we learned the Three Lakes Trail weaves through the area, we may need to test it out on the next trip. We continued our walk and followed the signs towards the waterfall.
One turn and we moved from the wider dirt road to a more wooded trail which continued on for a half mile. You could hear the falls before spotting them. As you come around a bend in the trail, a small observation platform gives you the first glimpse of the waterfall’s size.
The trail arrives at the base of the waterfall, with wide boulders scattered around in the sun. When we arrived, four or five groups were in the area, but we still had enough space to find our own peaceful spot. With the roaring of the water, the sound isolates you from the surroundings giving the impression of a private waterfall. We sat down and enjoyed a light lunch listening to the roar. The variety of boulders and elevation provide many different photo opportunities. One of the groups at the falls with us was an amateur photography club. The group stationed themselves at the base for a picnic and talked with everyone passing by. Our entire visit at the base of the falls was enjoyable and we were sad to leave. It was late in the day and we wanted to get going before nap time hit the little one.
The walk back was pretty easy. The sun dipped down a bit and gave us some shade and we had a nice breeze. We passed groups heading in both directions but we never felted crowded. Halfway back nap time hit the little one and I got to enjoy walking with a nice lean to keep her comfy. We ventured into the visitor center on the way out and had a nice conversation with the Ranger. The maps on the wall and the scale model topography map of the area really tie the trip together. I recommend first timers visit and view the model. Getting an overhead picture of your hike makes the trip easier to visualize.
This trip made us realize she has outgrown the soft baby carrier we had, and on our trip home we stopped at REI. We spent time checking out the different metal frame packs and seeing how they fit. We didn’t impulse buy and went home to research the models. Pictures of our final choice will be included on the next update!