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DuPont State Recreational Forest - Wintergreen Falls
DuPont State Recreational Forest is a 10,300 acre woodland wonderland bursting at its seams with spectacular waterfalls, scenic granite domes, and wild backcountry.
An outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, it offers nearly 90 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails to explore its charming beauty. Rolling hills tucked between high mountains peaks host the headwaters of the Little River and six of western North Carolina’s most visually stunning waterfalls.
Thanks to its beauty and ample accessibility, DuPont is among the state’s premiere outdoor recreation destinations. It forms the northern bookend of lands among a contiguous corridor of more than 23,000 acres of conserved natural lands—many within CMLC easements—along the southern Blue Ridge Escarpment.
DuPont's story represents a landmark achievement for land conservation in western North Carolina. With the help of local environmental groups, including CMLC, 7,600 acres of DuPont State Recreational Forest was purchased by the Conservation Fund and then the state of North Carolina in 1996. Another 500 acres were purchased for addition to the State Recreational Forest in 2000.
Yet DuPont’s most remarkable natural features, its picturesque waterfalls, were nearly lost to development when a private in-holding within the greater DuPont State Recreational Forest was sold for the construction of a housing community in 1999. A grassroots group of citizens along with local environmental groups, including CMLC, led a statewide campaign for the protection of “the heart of DuPont” and the preservation of its beautiful waterfalls.
In 2000, the state of North Carolina invoked imminent domain on the property and it was ultimately purchased with funding from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, forever making it accessible for the public to enjoy.
Among waterfall enthusiasts, DuPont's falls consistently rank as the most visually impressive in all of North Carolina.
CHALLENGE: Hike to Wintergreen Falls
Primary Route: Hike the Tarklin Branch and Wintergreen Falls Trails to scenic Wintergreen Falls
Hiking Distance: 3.0 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 175 feet
Trailhead: Click here to enter your address and receive turn-by-turn directions to the trailhead. GPS users may enter N35.2116, W-82.5877 in their units.
Walk south through the grassy field away from the Guion Farm until the clearing ends, and continue along the Tarkiln Branch Road as it bends south (away from Sky Valley Rd.) After a short distance, the trail will cross the small Tarkiln Creek. A short distance beyond the creek, take a right fork. At about one mile from the parking lot, turn left onto Wintergreen Falls Trail at the marked intersection. Continue for 0.3 mi. on the Wintergreen Falls Trail, then bear to the left at the major fork. (The right fork leads to the ford of the Grassy Creek.) Continue parallel to the creek. Do not take the eroded path up the steep incline, but find the footpath just beyond and to the right of it. Scramble over the boulders on a narrow footpath to the 20′ falls.
Alternative Routes: Coming soon!