East of the Nantahala National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, DuPont State Recreational Forest is a microcosm of it’s much larger neighbor. At roughly 11,000 acres, DuPont State Recreational Forest comprises just a fraction of Nantahala’s 800 square miles of wilderness, but this isolated area is a worthy introduction to the Appalachian outdoors.
DuPont offers hiking, equestrian, and biking trails, camping, and fishing. The Southern Appalachian bogs, forested areas, and granite slopes feature a variety of wildlife, from black bears to golden eagles. The area also features a variety of rare species of amphibians, reptiles, and plants, making it an important location for ecological research and preservation.
The varied terrain, along with the splendid views of the Appalachian Mountains, attracts not only outdoor enthusiasts, but also movie makers. The producers of the 1992 film The Last of the Mohicans and the 2012 film The Hunger Games chose DuPont State Forest for its wild and natural beauty as an authentic backdrop for their films.
Visitors planning a visit to DuPont State Recreational Forest might want to consider going in the fall for a rare treat. The first ever DuPont Forest Festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 22, 2018. A schedule of events is in the works that will feature guided tours, educational talks, and interactive demonstrations. The celebration of adventure and wildness will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists, and families.
Triple Falls, Dupont State Recreational Forest
Other than Triple Falls, if there is one “must see” destination within DuPont, it has to be Bridal Veil Falls. It’s a pretty long trek, but this most remote of all the falls is unique and alluring. From the 4′ ledge overhanging the upper section to the whitewater incline at the base, the Falls is a unique destination, and the trip up is a treat in itself.
- Warm water fish including largemouth bass, redbreast sunfish, and bluegill abound in Lake Julia, Fawn Lake, and Lake Dense.
- The numerous cold water streams are home to brown, rainbow, and brook trout, while the larger, warm water streams are stocked with trout throughout the year.
- For a short hike, a trek to Hooker Falls which drops from an 11′ ledge into Cascade Lake is a great choice. It’s about a 10-minute walk downstream from the Hooker Falls parking area and features an observation deck with great views.
- Triple Falls is one of the largest and most beautiful waterfalls and is about a 10-minute walk upstream from the Hooker Falls parking area. It gets a bit strenuous as the trail approaches the falls, but it is a memorable destination.
- High Falls is roughly 15 minutes upstream from Triple Falls over moderate terrain. The hike up offers visitors a chance to see much of DuPont’s natural wonder and view two of its most popular falls.
- For adventurers seeking a more challenging route, the hike from Old CCC Rd. to Stone Mountain, DuPont’s highest point, culminates in panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Lake Julia offers some leisurely mountain biking over moderate terrain, as well as an area to have a picnic or relax and enjoy the scenery.
- For more adventurous bikers, Cedar Rock Mountain, with hundreds of acres of exposed granite and spectacular views, is a favorite destination.
One of the most popular access areas is the High Falls Access Area at 1300 Staton Rd., Cedar Mountain, NC 28718. Click here for a map of access points, trails, and destinations.