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Upper Creek Falls is a short waterfall hike along NC-181 with two spectacular waterfalls, a forested boulder field, numerous swimming holes, and even a rope swing! It's blazed with yellow markers and would make an excellent destination by itself, or as a roadside stop for anyone driving from Asheville to Grandfather Mountain or Linville Gorge.
As a whole, this hike is challenging due to its sheer steepness.
The trail forms a loop from the trailhead, and if hiked clockwise, you will begin with a steep descent, then climb back to the trailhead with a series of mellow switchbacks.
Reversed, the route down is easier, but ends with a steep uphill push.
Hiking the entire loop also requires you get your feet wet, so an out-and-back to the river is sometimes chosen if it's been raining recently. The trailhead is a small, unpaved lot near Jonas Ridge, about 13 miles from Morganton, and just shy of 6 from the nearest section of the [Blue Ridge Parkway](https://fatmap.com/routeid/913652/).
No facilities are available, though a small general store and gas station is just north on 181.
For a longer hike nearby, a section of the [Mountains to Sea Trail](https://fatmap.com/routeid/169567/mountains-to-sea-trail:-nc-181-to-blowing-rock) begins just minutes away on the road.
Highlights include Harper Creek, Lost Cove, and Grandfather Mountain, with the section ending at the town of Blowing Rock. [Source](https://www.romanticasheville.com/upper_creek_falls.htm)