The Magical Views From Winding Stair Gap

It’ll never be the same again. Sure you’re standing in the same spot, in the same scenic overlook, but you’ll never experience the same view.

And that’s what makes Winding Stair Gap so magical.

The light changes, the clouds change, the shadows, the seasons, the color of the sky and the color of the leaves change. Thousands – maybe millions – of variables determine what you’re going to see on any visit to Winding Stair Gap.

You can stop everyday and see a completely different vista, a different mood, a different place. A single magical moment where all the variables come together to produce YOUR unique view; your once in a lifetime view…because it’ll never look like that again.

Winding Stair Gap, on Hwy 64, is much more than a way point between Franklin and Murphy, NC. It’s a destination all on its own.

And should you ever have the opportunity to stop, you should. Take it all in. Take a photo. Send a copy of your pic to me – if you want – and I’ll add it to the Winding Stair Gap Photo Gallery along with any new pics I take.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

In the meantime, enjoy these magical views….

A gorgeous view of a layer of clouds below and blue sky above Winding Stair Gap.

An early spring morning at Winding Stair Gap.

A beautiful harvest moon rising over Winding Stair Gap.

Harvest Moon rising over Winding Stair Gap.

 

Winding Stair Gap just before the storm arrived.

Before the storm…

Another great pic of Winding Stair Gap.

This fabulous pic of Winding Stair Gap was submitted by Mark Zemmin. Thanks, Mark!

Winding Stair Gap, NC. Sunrise photo WindingStairOverlook.jpg

This sunrise photo of Winding Stair Gap was submitted by Mark Zemmin. Thanks, Mark!

Looking east from Winding Stair Gap on a cold  January morning.

The brilliant blue sky of a cold January morning at Winding Stair Overlook.

 

A Little Love At Standing Indian

Where some might look at a tree and see only its knots, others will see only its perfection.

A heart-shaped tree knot.I must have walked past this rhododendron tree a hundred times. For some reason, as I ambled along the bank of the Upper Nantahala River today, this heart-shaped knot caught my attention.

Maybe the light was just right? Maybe I was looking in the right direction?

Who knows? I’m not going to get all mystical on you.

But…I can tell you this. It isn’t the first time I’ve found something magical at Standing Indian.

What sort of surprises have you found along your path?

See ya’ on the trail,
Tastelikchickn

Spilling The Beans On Secret Falls

Don’t let the name of this waterfall fool you. It’s not really a secret. And I’m not breaking any local “code of silence” by telling you about it. Thank goodness.

It’s just so remote hardly anyone knows of it, including plenty of locals.

How remote is it? Let’s just say you have to really be committed to visiting Secret Falls. It’s literally out in the middle of the wilderness. After you’ve survived the numerous, curvy switchbacks out of Highlands, NC, you head down a long, poorly maintained, one lane gravel road.

But that’s all part of its charm.

For when it comes to waterfalls, the more remote they are, the less popular they are…and this is a good thing. As the tourists hit Dry Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, you should plan to spend your day at Secret Falls.

How To Find Secret Falls

I’m not one to reinvent the wheel, so instead of providing detailed directions, I’m simply going to refer you to a couple of friends of mine, Matt and Melinda, over at Stay And Play In The Smokies. Besides providing great directions to Secret Falls, they’re also a great resource for travel and vacation information about western North Carolina.

The Trail

This relatively short trail, less than a mile from the trailhead, is very level and wide. You’ll have to cross two streams, but they both have sturdy log bridges that are easy to cross.

Once you reach the side trail to Secret Falls, there’s a short drop in elevation to the lower part of the falls. Just watch the steps – a couple of them were wobbly.

Level and wide, this trail is easy to walk.Stream crossing with log bridge.Beautiful Rhododendron tunnel.Side trail to Secret Falls marked with a blue blaze.Staircase down to the lower part of the falls.Lower Falls

This is where you get the best view and photo ops of Secret Falls. If you visit in warmer weather, you can even take advantage of the great swimming hole.

Secret Falls, NCRefreshing, cool and private.The beach at Secret Falls.A great swimming hole for the whole family.Upper Falls

Being relatively easy to get too and fairly safe if you keep your distance from the edge, you’ll find an incredible view looking down Secret Falls and beyond. And I imagine this would look spectacular when the fall colors are at their peak.

Falling water is everywhere at Secret Falls.The view looking down Secret Falls.

You can visit Secret Falls anytime of year. Go for a day or spend a night or two. Swim, fish, camp or take lots of photos. There’s so much to see and do here. Just remember to keep it nice for the next visitors and pack out anything you take with you.

See ya’ on the trail,
Tastelikchickn