John Hinson

I saw my first waterfall in 2008 during my senior year of high school, which was entirely too late in life to happen. I was at The Wilds, a Christian camp crammed into the Nantahala National Forest to the west of Rosman, North Carolina. The week-long stay included two church services each day, along with the sort of privileged white kid camping activities you’d expect scheduled in between, such as basketball, mini-golf, zip lining, and tubing.

On one day, we were given a choice between two different hikes to two waterfalls on the property. One hike, to Second Falls, was labeled as the hike only the sissies and old people went on. The other hike, to Fourth Falls, is what Jesus would have wanted me to do. So I did.

The hike down to Fourth Falls was pretty easy. I was in the middle of a group of about 200, mostly white, mostly pasty, mostly uncoordinated teenagers who had no business hiking down a mountain. It was a beautiful cloudless day. The temperature was in the mid-80s with full humidity, which wasn’t perfect, but the trail was shaded and there was a slight breeze. Despite a few slick spots, we all made it to the base of the falls. Fourth Falls was magnificent. It’s a waterfall everyone should be able to visit, but you can’t because it’s on private property and The Wilds doesn’t really let random people go hiking on their land.

The hike took the entire day. By the time we arrived back at our cabins, we were all dirty and drenched in sweat. For the next two years I was mostly occupied with college work, but it came time for a vacation and I wanted to return to the mountains.

I don’t consider myself outdoorsy. The idea of camping outside in a tent does nothing for me. I don’t even like the idea of spending a whole day hiking through the wilderness just for the fun of it. The same goes for most of my family. So while we enjoy waterfalls, we don’t want to put in a lot of work to see them.

Since then, I’ve spent the last seven years hiking over 100 miles and driving winding mountain highways in search of easily accessible waterfalls for people who aren’t outdoorsy enough to go on a long hike, don’t have the physical ability to walk long distances, have small children that can’t walk long distances, or are just plain lazy but still appreciate nature. I’m sure the hardcore hiking and waterfalling community, if they ever hear of this website, will lose their minds. Guys like Rich Stevenson and Kevin Adams, whose work I admire greatly and used extensively to visit these waterfalls and compile this website, might think bad things about me for promoting a lack of exercise and not enjoying being out in nature for prolonged periods of time. But that’s their problem.

I hope you find this website to be a valuable resource, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. If you’re interested in the other stuff I do, head over to my main website and check out the nonsense that comes out of my brain.

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