Hiking Trail Review
River Bend Trail
DuPont State Forest

River Bend Trail in DuPont State Forest is an easy hike culminating in a great view of High Falls.

High Falls

Photo by A. Scott Lavender

This trail is accessible off High Falls Trail off Triple Falls Trail.  For purposes of this review, I am considering the end of Triple Falls Trail at the High Falls Access Area (previously Buck Forest Access Area) as the starting point.


There are two ways to access the trail: 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 1.4 miles.  High Falls Access Area (formerly Buck Forest Access Area) in on the right.  This is a large parking area with public restrooms and the visitor centre.

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 4.0 miles.  Turn left into the High Falls Access Area.  There is a large parking area with public restrooms and the visitor centre.

Blaze Markings:  unblazed

Length:  approximately .28 miles (approximately .56 miles there and back as the trail does not end at an accessible location; exactly 1470 feet or 2940 feet there and back; this trail requires 1020 feet one way or 2040 feet there and back of Triple Falls Trail and 2763 feet one way or 5526 feet there and back of the High Falls Trail.  Thus, the entire there and back distance is approximately 1.99 miles or exactly 10,506 feet actual distance.  The one way distance for River Bend Trail only differs slightly from the .27 miles listed on the DuPont State Forest trail map published by Friends of Dupont Forest (rev. 2008).

Although River Bend Trail does not begin or end at an accessible location, there are various ways to make the trail a partial loop by using portions of Triple Falls Trail and High Falls Trail.  Please see the trail map or the trail reviews on this site to piece these together.

Difficulty:  easy; the trail itself is fairly easy to hike, and “easy” is the official trail designation; however, I would personally consider this a moderate grade trail due to elevation change on the access trails and the effective length of the trail due to having to backtrack the entire trail plus part of Triple Falls Trail and High Falls Trail.

River Bend Trail is an old roadbed with lots of laurel (Rhododendron maximum).  It parallels the river and ends near the base of High Falls.

A view down the trail

Photo by A. Scott Lavender

The Triple Falls Portion:

This portion of the trail is graveled with white stone.

At 143’ there is a junction with a trail leading 273’ to the visitor centre.

From 543’ to 592’ there is a nice railed bridge crossing a creek.

At 1020’, there is a junction with High Falls Trail to the right.


The High Falls Portion:

At 642’, there is an intersection with the Triple Falls Trail you just left.

At 821’, there is a junction with Covered Bridge Trail to the right.

At 985’, a split rail fence is on the right side of the trail.

At 1113’, the trail turns to the right; the trail straight ahead leads to a picnic shelter (see entry at 1667’).  You can hear the falls from this point onward.

At 1625’, there is a fence to the right from here to 1828’.  The falls can be seen from here, but the official observation site is still ahead.

At 1667’, steps go up the hill to the left.  There is a natural wood, single rail fence on the left all along its length.  At 125’ up the trail, there is a wonderful view of High Falls.  At 318’, the trail ends at High Falls Shelter, the second picnic shelter accessible from the trail at 1113’ on the High Falls Trail.

At 1755’, you arrive at the observation area for High Falls.

At 2763’, there is a junction with River Bend Trail to the right. 


A fallen log decorates the river

Photo by A. Scott Lavender

River Bend Trail:

I began measuring at the centre of the junction with High Falls Trail.

At 340’, a trail to the right leads to a small clearing.  I expected to find campsites as this seems like a great place to camp, but found none.

At 536’, an unofficial spur trail leads to the river.

At 595’, an unofficial spur trail leads to the river. 

At 901’, another unofficial spur trail leads to the river.  You can hear High Falls from here.

At 1061’, there is a horse tie-out to the right.

At 1088’, there is an unofficial spur trail to the river on the left.

At 1470’, the trail ends at the river near the base of High Falls.  The river is beautiful here.  It is shallow and broad with fast-flowing water and lots of rocks.  This is a fun place to clambour around.

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