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Green River Preserve Hike - Uncles Falls
Green River Preserve (GRP) is CMLC's largest conservation easement and second largest in all of western NC. It is contains a plethora of natural treasures and abundance of unspoiled mountain slopes making it one of the largest and most biologically diverse private wildlife preserves in western North Carolina. More than 2,600 acres of GRP were conserved with CMLC in 2006.
GRP hosts headwaters of the Green River watershed,including 22 miles of its tributaries and 8 miles of the river itself. The Preserve abuts the 10,300 acre DuPont State Forest; its seven mile boundary with DuPont serves as an ecological buffer and expands an exceptionally significant wildlife corridor.
GRP links DuPont State Forest to CMLC's Ball conservation easement and the 10,000 acre Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. A significant component of preservation of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, GRP is home to waterfalls, scenic granite domes, and rich cove forests.
Also steeped in southern Appalachian cultural heritage, evidence of Native American habitation is routinely found in its many caves and secluded coves. Remnants from the earliest mountain settlers of the Green River Valley are abundant throughout the Preserve, too.
In addition to protecting natural and cultural resources, Green River Preserve cultivates young minds. A summer camp for students 2ndthrough 12thgrade teaches wilderness skills, creative arts, and promotes outdoor discovery. A visit to GRP is said to “nurture the heart, develop the mind, strengthen the character, and heighten the appreciation for the natural world.”
CHALLENGE: Hike to Uncles Falls
Primary Route: Trail off of Green River Road
Hiking Distance: 1.4 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 360 feet
Trailhead: Click here to enter your address and receive turn-by-turn directions to the trailhead. GPS users may enter N35.1749, W-82.5267 in their units. Directions will lead you to a short, unpaved entrance for a woods road to the right of a green cottage on Green River Road, nearly at its transition between pavement and gravel and the signed entrance to Green River Preserve. Park in the short road before a single cable gate. No Trespassing signs do not apply on predetermined CMLC hiking access weekends, but do apply at all other times. Parking for several vehicles is available here; make sure to double park any other vehicles.
From the parking area, return to Green River Road and turn right. Walk the road past the green cottage on the right until reaching the end of pavement and a wooden Green River Preserve entrance sign. Here, the road turns to gravel; continue walking the road for about 100 yards until an overgrown woods road is visible on the right. If you are having trouble finding it, look for a CMLC conservation easement sign (a yellow, diamond shaped marker with our logo) on the right on a tree. This sign is at the start of the woods road and the beginning of your hiking route.
Walk the roadbed uphill; within 100 yards and 0.1 mi. from your vehicle, reach an intersection with a trail on the right; continue straight as the trail begins a gradual climb. At 0.3 mi., reach an intersection with an old logging road on the left; this junction may be less noticeable during summer months when vegetation obscures it. Continue on the main trail by keeping right. Reach a short but tricky crossing of a small stream at 0.4 mi. Use care at this crossing; though water volume of the creek is low, a slanted rock slab presents a very slippery surface. Attempt crossing the stream above the rock slab where ground is more level. At 0.5 mi., another old logging road branches off on the left; stay on the main trail by again keeping right.
Reach another junction at 0.6 mi.; here, the trail widens and appears to continue downhill to the right. However, a footpath climbs the steep slope by a tree on the left and descends the opposite side of the hill. Usually this junction is signed for "Uncles Falls"; however, a keen eye is required in order to not miss the turn. Shortly thereafter, the trail begins a short but steep descent toward the creek and reaches the base of Uncles Falls at 0.7 mi. Enjoy the secluded beauty of the falls before returning the way you came.
Alternative Routes: A primitive trail follows the right side of Uncles Creek from the trailhead to reach Uncles Falls in only 0.5 mi., passing several small, attractive cascades. The trail is overgrown and includes instances of treacherous side-hilling; this route should only be used by the most experienced hikers. The primitive creekside trail may be used to create a 1.2 mi. loop hike using the primary route and this trail (see map).
Because Green River Preserve is private property and an operating summer camp & game lands, access to hiking Uncles Falls is available only on select dates/weekends throughout the year. Additionally, you must be a CMLC member to access Uncles Falls on these dates/weekends and you must sign-up for the weekend prior to your visit.
To sign-up for an upcoming access week, use the acces