Grassy Creek Trail is accessible off of two paths, Lake Imaging Road Trail and Hill Top Trail. The trail itself is short but offers something unique, the sound of rushing water from beginning to end.
View of Grassy Creek Falls
photo by A. Scott Lavender
This short trail ends at an overlook of the namesake waterfall. It is not directly accessible. One way this trail is accessible is from the Lake Imaging Road Trail from the Lake Imaging Access Area. This review utilizes almost all of the Lake Imaging Road Trail as well as the Grassy Creek Falls Trail. At the Access Area, there is an outdated kiosk available. The primary trail accessed here is Lake Imaging Road Trail, though there are several other trails off it, including this one.
There are two ways to reach the access area: one from U.S. 276 in Cedar Mountain, N.C. and the other from Crab Creek Road.
From Cedar Mountain, N.C.: Take U.S. Highway 276. Turn onto Cascade Lake Road. Drive 2.5 miles. Turn right onto Staton Road. Travel 2.8 miles. Lake Imaging Access Area is on the right. This is a medium-sized parking area.
DuPont Road from Crab Creek Road: Take Crab Creek Road (this road is also known as Kanuga Road in Henderson County should one be coming from Hendersonville). Turn onto DuPont Road. Travel 1.2 miles. DuPont Road ends and Staton Road begins (i.e. DuPont Road becomes Staton Road—this change is due to the road crossing the county line between Henderson and Transylvania Counties). Travel 2.6 miles. Turn left into Lake Imaging Access Area. There is a medium-sized parking area.
A view of Grassy Creek as it runs through the trail
photo by A. Scott Lavender
Blaze Markings: unblazed
Length: approximately .1 miles or approximately .2 miles there and back as the trail does not end at an accessible location; exactly 500 feet one way or 1000 feet there and back. Note that 1.4 miles or 7578 feet one way of the Lake Imaging Road Trail or approximately 2.9 miles or exactly 15,156 feet must be hiked to access the trail. Thus, the actual there and back distance incorporating both trails is 3.1 miles or 16,156 feet. This differs slightly from the one way distance of .2 miles listed on the DuPont State Recreational Forest trail map published by the North Carolina Forest Service (rev. 2012). The trail has been recently blocked part of the way, so I assume this is the reason for the discrepancy.
Difficulty: moderate; this is the official trail designation, and I agree with the assessment although for probably different reasons. The portion of the trail that has been recently blocked is very steep, which is probably the reason for the official designation. Actual distance is the reason for my rating.
Note the trail map shows the Lake Imaging Road Trail going off the parking lot to the left; it actually goes to the right and wraps around. I hiked this trail in mid-May with my friend, A. Scott Lavender. It features some slope and a nice variety of terrain along the Lake Imaging portion. There is the lake, of course, with its picnic shelter and fishing or observation deck, so there is more than the usual fare here. Grassy Creek Falls Trail features the waterfall.
A place to cook at the end of Grassy Creek Falls Trail.
photo by A. Scott Lavender
The Lake Imaging Road Trail Portion:
I began measuring distance at the edge of the parking area.
At 60’, the road is gated.
At 118’, there is a nice kiosk with an unfortunately outdated map.
At 365’, there is an unofficial trail to the left. Keep straight.
At 413’, a decently-sized creek flows under the road.
At 853’, there is a junction with Ridgeline Trail to the left.
At 1179’, a horse tie-out is on the right.
At 1214’, Lake Imaging greets you. A picnic shelter, a regular dock, and a partially covered dock are present.
At 1351’, the trail crosses a culvert for the stream feeding the lake.
At 1394’, a nice oak splits the trail. Take either way.
At 1617’, there is a junction with Jim Branch Trail to the left. It’s superb rockwork is inviting.
At 1735’, an unofficial trail to the left leads to the lake.
At 1762’, a small creek passes beneath the trail. This one does not lead to the lake, though it appears to do so.
At 2744’, there is an unofficial trail to the left. Stay straight.
From 3871’ to 4050’, a meadow graces the path.
From 6000’ to 6184’, the trail is on-and-off-again a rock face.
At 6391’, there is a junction with Hill Top Trail to the right. At the time of this writing, the sign reads “Hilltop Loop.” The trail has been recently expanded and is no longer a loop.
At 6500’, is a junction with Locust Trail to the left. You can hear Grassy Creek Falls from this point on.
At 6720’, notice the cool rocks to the left.
At 7578’, there is a junction with Grassy Creek Falls Trail to the right.
Grassy Creek Falls Trail:
I began measuring at the junction.
At 84’, there is a junction with Hill Top Trail to the right.
At 144’, there is a horse tie-out to the right serving both trails.
At 500’, the trail has been intentionally blocked at the top of the falls. There is a small open area here with a stone structure that can be used for cooking out.
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