Rough Butt Creek Falls

Far off the beaten path and fed by Rough Butt Creek, this scenic, 30-foot waterfall features cascading falls, a small pool, and banks overflowing with fern and rhododendron, and rocks coated in moss.

Without the old railroad running by one bank of the river, you might get the sense that you're in the middle of the rainforest, thanks to the explosion of greenery. The 40-foot cascade hits a small pool at the bottom, which you can easily wade across for a better view. But be careful—the rocks may be slippery.
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Contact Information

Get Directions 35.3202, -83.0233
Photo of Rough Butt Creek Falls

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Hike Description

Walk 0.2 mile along the gravel drive to Caney Fork. This section of the hike is through private property, so behave yourself. Before Hurricanes Frances and Ivan swept through in September 2004, there was a bridge over Caney Fork. Now, you’ll have to wade. If the water is up, it’s not safe to cross.

Assuming you can cross the creek safely, continue on the old logging grade for 0.85 mile to the ford of Rough Butt Creek. Cross the creek and climb the bank on the right side of the road to pick up an old railroad grade that continues up the river-right side of the creek. The grade is fairly easy to follow, but some exposed rock slopes make it tricky. It’s about 0.1 mile from the ford to the falls.

 

Leave No Trace — Seven Principles

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

For more details, visit www.lnt.org
©1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
 

Safety

  • Heed posted warning signs indicating danger and stay on established trails.
  • Never climb on or around waterfalls and never play in the water above a waterfall. Rocks can be slippery and it’s easy to lose your balance especially with bare feet. Currents near waterfalls can be extremely swift even in areas further upstream.
  • Never jump off waterfalls or dive into plunge pools at the base of waterfalls. Rocks and logs can be hidden beneath the surface of the water. Often waterfall pools have swirling water or currents that can drag and keep you underwater.
  • Even if you have seen other people enjoy playing around waterfalls, be aware they have been lucky to escape unharmed. Waterfalls are constantly changing with varying water flows and erosion of the rocks around them. The current from one place to the next may be faster than you anticipate and the arrangement of rocks or other debris such as logs in the plunge pool is ever changing.

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