The Transylvania Times -

Outdoor Destination: The Thompson River

 

July 17, 2017

Courtesy Photo

Rich Falls is located below Big Falls on the Thompson River. The pool at the bottom of the falls makes for the perfect plunge. Big Falls (pictured below) requires a short hike that's well worth the trip. Just a mile in on an old jeep road, this waterfall sees few visitors. (Photos courtesy of Kevin Adams Photography

This week's Outdoor destination is two waterfalls, Big Falls and Rich Falls on the Thompson River.

The Thompson River is located in the Jocassee Gorges area, and is about an hour drive from Brevard.

The river itself is one of the four main river's that make up the Gorges area. Each of the rivers empties into Lake Jocassee.

Lake Jocassee, and the Jocassee Gorges management area, received its name after a Cherokee tale about a native woman who was a member of one of two rival tribes. "Jocassee" means "place of the lost one."

The story goes that the woman found a member of the other tribe with a broken leg in her own tribe's territory, and while nursing him back to health, the two fell in love.

When he was killed during battle with her own tribe, she was so heartbroken that she gave herself to the water of a river to be with him.

But she did not drown; she walked on the water across and found herself in the arms of her dead lover's ghost. The two then disappeared. Legend claims the two now hunt and fish freely, as spirits of course.

The Thompson River, and its neighbor the Whitewater River, is newly eligible for inclusion in the Wild and Scenic River inventory. The designation protects the rivers in perpetuity, but it is a move made by Congress. If you are concerned about the cultural, natural or recreational heritage of these rivers, write Congressman Mark Meadows and tell him you wish to see these rivers protected.

The Horsepasture River and the Chattooga River are both nearby rivers that already have this designation. Read more about the eligibility on today's front page.

The Thompson is the more grand river in my opinion. In four miles, the river drops a couple thousand feet, with plenty of slides and holes to explore.

Remember, exploring waterfalls in the mountains is dangerous. Wear appropriate footwear, carry a map and cell phone, and always let someone know where you are going.

People die every year exploring waterfalls, usually for a selfie at the top of them.

Stay at the bottom where it is safe.

Directions

Courtesy Photo

From Brevard, drive west on N.C. 64 past Lake Toxaway and turn left on N.C. 281 South in Sapphire.

From the intersection of N.C. 64 and N.C. 281 South drive 3.6 miles (passing the entrance to Gorges State Park on the left) to Brewer Road (SR 1189) on the left.

Take the left but do not drive down Brewer Road. Park in the wide area next to the bank at the top of the road next to N.C. 281.

You'll see an old gated logging road heading up the hill. Hike up this hill about one mile and you will see faint trails heading towards the river.

 
 

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