Do you want to get away from the crowds and see the secret waterfalls that only the local guides know about? Here are the top 3 reasons to hire a guide.
1. You Will Experience a Once in a Lifetime Adventure.
I am a local and am very familiar with the classic waterfalls in Dupont State Forest and Pisgah National Forest. That is to say, familiar with the waterfalls every local knows about because they are super easy to get to. To find out more about these easy to find waterfalls, visit our Virtual Concierge and read, "Blue Ridge Parkway to the Waterfalls". Don't get me wrong, these are spectacular waterfalls and you will have an amazing time discovering them. You will, however, be surrounded by people and it may feel a little bit more like Disneyland and a little less like Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Are you ready for Raiders of the Lost Ark?
I have a good friend named Elizabeth, who also enjoys an invigorating hike and, like me, is always looking for something amazing off the beaten track. We decided to take a Friday afternoon and book a half day waterfall adventure with Carolyn Wilde (What a great name for an adventure guide.) from Ultra Waterfall Tours. OMG! I am hooked! First of all, I had no idea how many secret waterfalls there are in and around Asheville. I expect to be discovering new, secluded spots for years to come and Carolyn has done all the work for me!
Okay, Let me tell you guys what happened.The first thing Carolyn did was check out our hiking ability on the easiest of the 3 falls. She says that people often overestimate their physical prowess. She can give you a great tour regardless, but the better shape you are in the deeper into the woods you can go.
Our first test was to pass through some randomly placed clothesline wire designed to dissuade 80% of all hikers. Then we proceeded to either drag our bodies under a fence through the dirt, or climb over said fence. Did I mention that it was starting to rain and dirt was turning into mud? A short 3 minute hike down a steep path led us to a giant flat rock sitting right next to a rushing waterfall. I was thrilled! An easy spot to remember for future picnics and solitary meditations.
Of the 3 waterfalls we saw, this is the only one that I will be able to find again on my own.
Carolyn Wilde from Ultra Waterfall Tours.
Call 828-595-0266 to Book a Waterfall Adventure
2. You Will Never Find Yourself Lost with No Cell Signal.
First off, as a local, I expected to be able to revisit these waterfalls at a later date on my own. While, there is a slight possibility that I may be able to retrace our steps, it is highly unlikely. Case in point, here is a picture of the path to 1 of the 3 waterfalls we hiked into that day.
What path you say? This is when a conversation arose about the fear factor involved when you attempt these sort of hikes on your own with no cell signal. What if trouble arises? The best thing about these secluded waterfalls easily becomes the worst thing if you do not know exactly where you are going. We hiked all the way down this waterfall which had several different viewing points each with their own character. Then, you guessed it, we hiked back up. Yikes! Don't worry, you can stop, rest and catch your breath as needed.
Here is one of my favorite stopping points on this waterfall. A great place to splash water on my face and take a refreshing drink of mountain spring water.
Did I mention that all of these photos are from the 3 falls we saw that Friday afternoon? Not only did each waterfall have its own distinct character, it also had many different vantage points each of which were incredibly unique.
3. You Will Not Have to Carry Your Own Gear.
Our guide also provided water and locally made snacks for our adventure. I remember kidding with Elizabeth, before the trip, that I was too lazy to carry my own gear. She agreed to carry a backpack with water and granola, but we soon discovered that Carolyn and her driver Susie had us covered. It just keeps getting better and better. They picked us up too!
Here is a nice wide trail that we followed for a while. I did see some other people off to the right doing some camping next to the river. Here is what the river looks like with a private camp spot over to the left. Ask your guide how to secure a free spot if you like to camp.
At some point there was a blue dot on a post and we veered off to the right to find our last waterfall. I said to Elizabeth, "Remember the blue dot". I do remember it, but what about all these twists and turns that happened in the forest. It was at least 15 minutes before we heard the sound of rushing water.
One thing that I noticed about Carolyn was her hyper-vigilance concerning our safety. Every year we hear tales of people falling and hurting themselves at the falls. For example, to the untrained eye, this looks like a perfect place to stand in some ankle deep water and cool off. We were warned against that sort of behavior and were only encouraged to swim where it was very safe. The rocks are super slippery and I did fall once, but it was in a safe area.
Here are 2 waterfalls colliding. The photo is taken from the top of one of them. I am telling you, Asheville is the land of waterfalls. I have hiked all over the world and I find it simply amazing that all this is right here, in my own back yard. Let me add this, Asheville is great for guided waterfall adventure tours all year long. Granted, getting wet has its own pleasures, but winter waterfalls are incredible too! If you ever find yourself in Asheville, no matter what season, go out and see these stunning beauties. They look different each time.
Here is a safe spot at the bottom of the falls where you can test your luck with a natural jacuzzi. The rocks are still slippery, but if you do lose your footing you are already at the bottom and will just be dragged a short way down the shallow riverbed.
We went to 3 waterfalls. The first involved a short 5 minute walk in. The next 2 had 25 minute walks in and out. We actually hiked around 2 1/2 hours. We went back to the hotel via the Blue Ridge Parkway which was a nice way to end the trip.
All and all, I give the experience a hearty thumbs up and a five star rating!
A Note from the Holiday Inn Biltmore East
We are so excited to have you as our guest at the Holiday Inn Biltmore East. When you get back to the hotel let us know how your day went. Our front desk personnel and our restaurant staff look forward to seeing you. We are available to answer your questions and make recommendations. See you Soon!