Detailed Trail Review: Little Bearwallow Falls Hike in Gerton, NC — very close to Lake Lure, NC
Hiking Highlights: Hike the newly opened Phase 1 of the Little Bearwallow Trail to a 100-foot cliff and see Little Bearwallow Falls. You’ll enjoy views of Hickory Nut Gorge, encounter several creek crossings and get the close-up view of Little Bearwallow Falls. This is a very enjoyable hike and the trails are very well done with regard how they are cleared and constructed with stone steps, bridges and trail markings.
Location: Gerton, NC – Florence Nature Preserve – 3836 Gerton Hwy., Gerton, NC 28735
Approximate Driving Time from Lake Lure NC Town Center: 15 minutes
Directions: GPS users may enter N35.4734, W-82.3320 in their units. From the Lake Lure Beach and town center, head west on Memorial Hwy. (74A) for 7.7 miles (about 15 minutes). You will see the parking area on the right side of the road along with informative signs and the remnants of a chimney from an old house. The Florence preserve trailhead is above the parking area and the Little Bearwallow Falls trailhead is across the street.
Details of Little Bearwallow Falls Hike:
Hiking Distance (round trip): Approximately 2.3 miles
Hiking Time: Approximately 2 hours
Elevation gain: approximately 700 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Trail Condition Grade: B
- A = Park-like
- B = Easily Identified, Good Footing
- C = Easily Identified, Bad Footing in Some Places
- D = Difficult to Identify, Bad Footing
Trail Challenges: Portions of the trail are steep enough to wind most hikers. Also, parts of the trail will get very muddy following a rain event.
Dog Friendly: Absolutely – you don’t need to keep your dogs on leash, however, you do need to maintain control of your dogs. There are no poop bag stations or trash cans so bring your own and carry it out.
Amenities: Parking area is just off of 74A at the well-marked Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy – Florence Preserve trailhead.
Open Times: Usually dawn until dusk
Rating: 4 out of 5
- 5 of 5 = view at destination, views during hike, A or B trail conditions
- 4 of 5 = view at destination, A, B or C trail conditions
- 3 of 5 = no spectacular views but interesting environment, A, B or C trail conditions
- 1 or 2 of 5 = not worthy of recognition
About the Hike to Little Bearwallow Falls in Gerton, NC
The date of our hike was March 8, 2015. From the parking area, head across the street to see the apple orchard below. To the left you will see steps down to the orchard and signs pointing you along the trail. Please stay in the designated area as this is an easement through the orchard. Once you are through the orchard, you will cross a nice bridge going across Hickory Creek. The trail heads left and right off the bridge – turn left as right takes you to private property. From here the trail is easily discernible. There are lots of steps in steep areas to help you make the ascent. As you gain altitude you will begin to see some nice views of Hickory Nut Gorge – our hike was pre-foliage so your views may vary. On the direct, opposite side of the gorge you will see Little Pisgah Mountain (elevation: 4412 ft.) – it’s the one with the grass patch and towers at the top. Further down the gorge on the left side, the tallest peak is Shumont Mountain (elevation: 3839 ft.).
Continue onward and upward to Little Bearwallow Falls. Water volume off the fall is usually not very substantial but does get greater after a good rain. Even so, nature has provided us with another beautiful place to enjoy the scenery and breath in the crisp clean air of the Carolina mountains. At the falls, you will notice pink flags placed further up the mountain. These flags indicate the future continuation of the trail to the top of the mountain. We do not advise you to go any further at this point. The steepness and numerous loose rocks may result in disaster. Once you have finished drinking in all the beauty, head back down the way you came.
GPS Tracking Map of Little Bearwallow Falls Hike:
To check out a detailed GPS Tracking Map of one of our hike to Bearwallow Mountain – CLICK HERE
As always, be sure to leave no trace of your presence on the trail – except maybe some foot prints.
More Crazy Good Fun:
- For our top picks for nearby hiking trails, see Top 12 Hikes Around Lake Lure, NC – A Hikers Paradise
- Or, visit our “Best of Guide” to Area Parks, Paths and Scenic Trails Around Lake Lure
- For a list of all our detailed hiking trail reviews, see Area Hiking Trails In Lake Lure NC and In Nearby Towns
- If waterfall hikes are what you’re looking for, cool off with these 7 Scenic Waterfall Hikes Around Lake Lure, NC
- If you’ve got kids and are looking for more for super-fun things to do with them, see 27 Things To Do With Kids in Lake Lure, North Carolina
- If you’re hungry after a hike, we can help with that too. In the Lake Lure Chimney Rock area, check out: Eat Your Way Along 74A – Discover What Locals Love About Lake Lure Dining or if you’re in the Rutherfordton/Forest City/Spindale area, see 5 Legendary Restaurants of Rutherford County North Carolina
- Thirsty? We got you covered with our Beer Lovers List of Area Favorites & Asheville Breweries