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Big Scaly Mountain Waterfall Loop

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Big Scaly Mountain, NC   Hike: Big Scaly Mountain Waterfall Loop  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Nov 15 2014  10:00 am >> Sat, Nov 15 2014 4:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 7:45 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Sat, Nov 8 2014 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Nov 14 2014 9:00 pm
Event Duration:11 hours, including driving time, 13 if you go to dinner
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult (Exploratory)
Distance:11 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Thomas W.
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:12
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 9 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes

Note: This is an "EXPLORATORY" trip. This means that there are parts of this trip, or perhaps the whole trip, that is new to your Trip Leader(s). However, they are confident that this will not be an issue.
This note is here so that you can make an informed decision. When a Trip Leader isn't personally familiar with a trip, there is an increased chance of things not going as planned and you need to be prepared. The Trip Leader may have additional details in the itinerary.


Big Scaly is the mountain just below Standing Indian.  This hike is a loop of about 11 miles and has about 2,500 feet of elevation gain.

We will start with the acension of Scaly Ridge and then down to Beech Creek for the first of 3 stream crossings (this first one often requires boot removal). We will follow the rushing stream up Beech Creek to the switchbacks under the cliffs of Big Scaly. Then we will take a quarter mile side trail to view the 200' High Falls and have our lunch break.

Returning to the main trail and continuing up, we will eventually reach the high flat valley between Big Scaly Mountain and Standing Indian that leads to Case Knife Gap.  At the Gap we will take a left uphill for a one mile round trip to the summit of Big Scaly Mountain at 5,060' and an  overlook that affords a fine unobstructed view to the west.

Then we will backtrack down to Case Knife Gap and left to continue down the Chimney Rock trail. A few miles down the trail is an optional quarter mile side trail to the left to view Chimney Rock (keep your eyes peeled for the cairn on the left if you don't want to miss it).  Here, the rock climbers can scramble up the pitch to another fine viewpoint.

Then we go down to end of the road we parked on. We will walk about a mile down this road to get back to the cars.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT A BEGINNER HIKE *** You must be in good physical condition. You also need to be able to hike long distances and keep a moderate pace. This is a loop trail, so you will not be able to turn back once on the trail. ***

That said, this is not a fast hike.  The pace is moderate, and we plan to hike as a group.  We will take several breaks to let slower people catch up.  If you like to charge ahead of the main group, or if your legs get sore if you have to wait for people, you may want to sign up for another event.

There are a few dining options in Clayton for those interested.  Please coordinate dinner arrangements at the carpool with your driver to be sure that everyone in the car has the same plan.

Required Items to Bring:

at least 2 L of water and/or sports drink
good hiking shoes
gloves, hat, cold weather gear
dress in layers; it is supposed to be cold
rain gear, just in case
bag for dirty shoes
towel to sit on, or change of clothes
Cash for the carpool

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Hiking pole or poles

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Take I-85 N to I-985 N which turns into US 23/441 to Clayton GA. Pit stop at Chick-Fil-A on left! (For bathrooms and "to go" only - we do not plan to sit down and eat.)  Then go West on US 76 about eight miles. Turn right on Persimmon Rd, near the volunteer fire department and sign for Tallulah River Campgrounds. Continue about 4.2 miles to left at Tallulah River Rd. This road will turn to gravel after a mile or so and leads thru gorge to Tate City. Follow to NC state line. Trailhead parking will come up soon on the left. 

The road leading to the trailhead is gravel, so if you are uncomfortable driving at a reasonable speed on gravel please sign up to ride in someone else's car.

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):220Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 7:45 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $88.00 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.


* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.