Height: 60 feet
Trail Type: Dirt
Hike Distance: 1.4 miles round trip
Melrose Falls is one of the more recently discovered falls in the sense that few waterfall enthusiasts have had a chance to see it. Waterfall hikers and mappers have known about it for years, but for whatever reason, no one has really been able to figure out how to get there. Well, now you can.
Melrose Falls appears as a very narrow stream before fanning out and tumbling over a wide rock face and over a few massive boulders before continuing down the creek and meeting the North Pacolet River. The trail to the falls also makes a great wildflower hike in April.
From Exit 161 off of US 74 in Columbus, turn right onto NC highway 108 west and follow it to its end at US 176. Turn right onto US 176 and drive about 4 miles where the road crosses the North Pacolet River twice. After the first bridge, you’ll see an old path with two big boulders blocking the way. This is the trail to the falls. You can park here or at the obvious pull out on the other side of the road. There is a small falls here as well, though you can’t really get a good view of it from the road.
The hike begins uphill before leveling out and heading into the forest. At about 0.15 miles, the trail forks. Take the trail to the left (the right trail might go to an Upper Melrose Falls, but I don’t know for sure). Continue on the trail, which rises and falls pleasantly through the forest for another half-mile or so.
The trail comes out to a ledge high above the falls. The view here isn’t great, so you’ll have to continue on the trail down a very steep bank to a huge rock outcropping for the best view.