The Catawba River is a major river in the Carolinas which provides water for the city of Charlotte and beyond. But here at its headwaters, the Catawba is creek-size, flowing wild and free.
The walk to the Lower Falls is moderate. However, reaching the Upper Falls is very difficult and should not be undertaken lightly. Ropes assist with the rockiest part; you’ll need to pull yourself with your hands on other sections.
Length: 3.8 miles
Altitude gain: 700 ft.
Trailhead: From Old Fort, take I-40 exit 73 and immediately make a hard right on Catawba River Rd., which parallels the interstate for a short while. Drive 3.2 miles to the end of the road, where there’s a wide parking area on the left.