The Pisgah National Forest begins the next phase of construction on the Catawba Falls Trail on the Grandfather Ranger District on Monday, September 12, to improve the trail and crossing of Chestnut Branch with a new footbridge.
The Catawba Falls Trail is a popular hiking trail near Old Fort, NC. Chestnut Branch is the last creek crossing before visitor reach the lower falls.
Weekday visitors can expect delays and short closures for work on the trail and to accommodate construction equipment as well as delivery and placement of the new bridge. Visitors should stay on established trails and avoid the construction area. Weather pending, construction is not planned on weekends.
Work is expected to be completed by November 1, 2016. Please check the National Forests of North Carolina website (www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc) for temporary closure notices.
This construction is part of a larger effort to provide safe access to Catawba Falls. A new footbridge was installed over the Catawba River in July in partnership with McDowell County, North Carolina State Parks, and a federal Recreational Trails Program grant.
The Forest Service and its partners are continuing progress towards making this area more accessible and safe for forest visitors though the route to the upper falls remains dangerous and the public is warned against attempting it. Every month, McDowell County Emergency Management responds to at least one critical rescue at the site from the public seeking access to the upper falls.
The best way to enjoy a waterfall is from a safe distance. Stay on established trails and be aware of the extreme danger posed by attempting a closer view of the waterfalls. Never climb on or jump off waterfalls. Don't swim or dive in waterfall pools or wade in streams above waterfalls because of hazardous rocks and currents.
For more information contact the Grandfather Ranger District at 828-652-2144.