For those of you searching out waterfalls in and around the Blue Ridge Parkway, Roaring Fork Falls should be on your short list of waterfalls to visit. It is a 45 foot high cascading waterfall that snakes its way through the moss covered rocks to a small pool at the bottom. It is easy to get to, and is a nice way to stretch your legs after being on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
You can find the Roaring Fork Falls in the Pisgah National Forest in the Appalachian District. The easiest route to take is to travel the Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 344 where the Parkway intersects with NC 80 in Little Switzerland. After exiting the Parkway, you will turn to the North on NC 80 and dive about 2.3 miles. You will turn to the left on County Road 1205, which is also named South Toe River Road. You will again turn left at the first road you come to, which is a matter of feet. This road has a sign indicating that the falls, as well as the Busick Work Center are on this road. The road continues for about 0.2 mile where it dead ends at the work center.
There will be a gravel turn out on the left where you can park your vehicle. From this point your travel will be by foot. On the other side of the road you will see a two track road with a gate closing it off. This is just to keep vehicles out while foot traffic is still allowed. There is a sign stating that the falls are 0.5 mile down the trail. This is an easy path to walk, and is fairly level. You will come to the end of the path and will find a small wooden bridge leading into the woods. This is the route you will want to take to view the falls. The portion of the hike in the woods is short, and very easy to navigate.
It is not uncommon for this waterfall to have lots of visitors in the warmer months due to the ease of the hike. If you are wanting some quite time, be sure to go when its cooler, or maybe just a very cloudy day. There is enough of a pool at the bottom to invite swimming. It is not deep, but would be great for cooling off. For those wanting to photograph the falls, be sure and pick a cloudy day. There is a lot of thick vegetation over the falls, but any sunshine will peek through creating horrible hot spots along the rocks and cascades.
The rocks along this waterfall are a bit deceiving. They look nice and level, inviting you to try to climb alongside for a better view. While I am sure this is possible, be very...very careful. I found the rocks to be particularly slippery, and I chose the safer avenue along the bottom of the falls. There is plenty to be seen from the lower position, and the ground has much more traction.
Also of note, along the path leading to the waterfall, you will see two old structures. At one time, they had "Danger" and "Explosives" warning signs on them. Years ago, the forest service used these buildings to store the explosives used to build the roads through the mountains. That has since been contracted out to private companies.