Thursday, November 30, 2006

Waterfall on North Deep Creek: Shore-Styers Mill Nature Park

Water Colors Photo Copyright © 2007 G. Kiser

Tucked away near East Bend, NC, in Yadkin County, you will find a very impressive waterfall considering how far East you are. Not too far off of US 421 is the site where several mills used to be located. Finding the location is easy enough. Take the Shacktown Exit (Exit 253) from US 421 and turn North onto Old Stage Rd. You will quickly come to a "T" intersection where you will turn left onto Shacktown Rd. After only 0.3 of a mile you will come to Styers Mill Rd where you will turn right and continue for almost a half a mile. Just before a bridge you will see a gravel parking area. The falls can be seen from the parking area.

This is one of the few waterfalls I have visited where the observation deck gives a very good view of the falls and is a good location for pictures. Even though the falls are only 12 feet high, the amount of water that passes over the rocks is enough to categorize this as a full blown waterfall. The watershed is plentiful, so you should expect good flow any time during the year.
Even though the observation deck is well placed, you owe it to yourself to venture down to the falls for a closer look. There are several paths leading down to the banks of the stream. There are plenty of rocks scattered throughout the water, but if you want to cross to the other bank, be prepared to get wet. At the most shallow point, you are looking at knee level water for at least half the trip across. The rocks are not that steady either, so if you are trying to rock hop, beware, you could end up off balance and laying in the stream...not speaking from experience, of course.

What Lies Beneath

Once down at stream level, you will unfortunately see the evidence of those that visit here. There are beer cans, water bottles, and believe it or not I've even seen a pair of underwear in the grass. There was also a good amount of graffiti that detracted from the natural beauty. This is a shame and impacts not only the environment, but those trying to enjoy it as well. When you are visiting these amazing natural wonders, please be sure you leave it in the same condition as when you got there.

Once you get past the evidence of littering and vandalism, you might find some rock-wall remains by the falls. These are from the mills that have operated here in the past. There is not much left, but memories and some stone work. Yadkin County has purchased the land and has made it a historical park. You can read more about the Shore-Styers Mill Nature Park at

I was skeptical about this waterfall after reading about it, but I must say, this waterfall should be on your must see list.  I have been several time now, and each time the vandalism gets a little bit worse, and the trash seems to pile up.  However, the waterfall remains worth a visit.  It is beautiful!  From a photography standpoint, your best bet will be isolations of the different elements of the falls.  These will provide more dramatic photographs than the typical "postcard shot" which includes the entire waterfall.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Waterfalls Along Anthony Creek

Anthony Creek Tributary Photo Copyright © 2006 G. Kiser

Nestled in the back country of Caldwell County about 10 miles South of Blowing Rock in Watauga County, there is a small mountain creek that is fed by several small waterfalls. These can be seen along Anthony Creek Rd. Finding this can be a little difficult, or at least it was for me. All my directions were based on the numbered state roads and included directions like, turn at the church. I'll try and simplify these directions here so you may have an easier time locating these waterfalls.

As you leave Boone, NC, towards Blowing Rock, NC, on Hwy 321 you will come to the Shoppes on the Parkway. The light following the entrance is for Main St, where you will take a right. You will wind through Blowing Rock until you come to a very small residential street to the right. Turn onto John's River Rd which becomes an unpaved washboard surface after about a half mile and change names to Globe Rd. For the next eight miles you will continue on this unpaved road (term used loosely). In the first four miles, you will loose nearly 2,000 feet of elevation, so make sure your brakes are working properly, and use low gear. At the end of the road, you will come to a "T" intersection at Globe Rd Baptist Church. You will turn right and continue on Anthony Creek Rd until it too turns to an unpaved surface. Keep your eyes out at this point because there are several small waterfalls to be seen.  These really are small, and barely enough to be considered waterfalls.

According to Kevin Adams, the waterfall to see, is the one pictured above. It can be found on the right of the road about three miles from when the gravel started. To be quite honest, I was expecting much greater things by his photograph and description. This is about a 50 foot tall slide that ends in a cascade at the base. It is nice, but not worth a special trip to see. The waterfall that caught my eye was about two miles before you even get to this waterfall.

Under the Arch Photo Copyright © 2006 G. Kiser

If you are not paying attention, you might pass right by this particular cascade. From the picture, you can see that the water is well hidden among the rocks, but I saw promise in it. With a little hiking up the boulder path, you will come to the top and see two distinct waterfalls side by side along with a few other sizeable cascades.

This is to the left...

Water Slalom Photo Copyright © 2006 G. Kiser

and this is to the right...

Rushing Past the Rocks Photo Copyright © 2006 G. Kiser

None of these water features are very large with the tallest single element less than 20 feet tall, however the intricacies of how the water flows around the rocks and other natural barriers is quite interesting. While these waterfalls might not be enough to lure you out into the backwoods, the drive itself is very pleasant. You will pass Christmas Tree Farms, old houses, lots of farm land, and several quaint churches. You are drawn back to a simpler time, but it is best experienced with a good 4WD vehicle with plenty of ground clearance.

There are several other small waterfalls out here that I have not photographed, mainly because of very poor lighting. There are others that are on private property, and I refuse to trespass for the sake of a picture. This entry will be updated as I collect more information on the waterfalls of Anthony Creek.