In an article about a spring hike to Twin Falls in Pisgah National Forest, the comment was made that this should be re-hiked during the winter months in order to gain better views of the waterfalls. A late January hike confirmed this way more than expected. It again proved the point that re-hikes are never just the same walk down the same trail, there are always new experiences.
For directions to the trailhead and trail details, please refer to the spring article on Twin Falls.
At the trailhead, you will immediately notice the “openness” of the woods since the majority of the trees are deciduous hardwoods that, without the leaves, provide surprisingly long views through the forest. You drop down to Avery Creek to walk alongside a half mile of absolutely beautiful flow as the creek drops noisily over many rapids, small falls, and Avery Creek Falls. Your open views down to the water will reveal a number of cascades that are generally unnoticed in the spring. Particularly, look for two unnamed falls upstream from Avery Creek Falls.
A great surprise was found at Avery Creek Falls. In the spring, no good way was seen to get a creek-level, front view of the falls for a photo; the recommended tact was to just take a shot from the trail. This time, however, the lack of foliage revealed a tiny access at the very lip of the falls that allows for stepping down onto rocks and working around to the very front of the base pool for a great frontal photo of the falls.
Our next surprise was found where Twin Falls Trail intersections with Buckhorn Gap Trail. Twin Falls Trail had previously been unblazed. It now carries a yellow blaze although there are only a few blazed trees. Not a problem, since there is no way to get lost along the way.
Coming into the final turns before the waterfalls, you are presented with a scene you will get at no other time of the year. High up, through the trees, you can see both the left and right sides of Twin Falls.
Then the first waterfall you come to is a 30-foot cascade on your left. You can see Twin Falls, Right directly in front of you but you cannot see Twin Falls, Left as it is behind a ridge. That means, with foliage, you will not have seen the left side at this point, and may think this smaller waterfall is the left side.
Within the Grandfather Mountaineers, this little waterfall is known as Wrong D*** Falls. On our first visit, having fallen into the trap of thinking the first waterfall was the left side, we took pictures then started down the trail toward the right side when we rounded the nose of the ridge and discovered the 100-foot beauty that is the real left side. The lead hiker then turned to the rest of the group behind and said “That’s the wrong d*** falls.” The name has stuck.
Both sides of Twin Falls and even Wrong D*** Falls have much, much better views than in the spring. During that time, the left side has trees that will cover much of the upper section while the right side is almost completely obscured except for the final plunge. We knew how good the left side was and expected merely to enhance our view of it but we did not anticipate the now-visible beauty of the right side. The upper sections of the right side provide beautiful color contrasts with the black rock, green mountain laurel, and white water snaking down the tiers. While the size of the left side is what catches your eye, it is the beauty of the right side that is striking.
So, go ahead and make your spring visit to Twin Falls. It is a pleasant hike with plenty of water action. Expect a good show of wildflowers including Trillium at the falls. Then plan for your winter hike. Two different hikes; two different experiences. Both well worth it.