Waterfalls of the Blue Ridge by Johnny Molloy

Waterfalls of the Blue Ridge by Johnny Molloy

Author:Johnny Molloy
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780897329958
Publisher: Menasha Ridge Press
Published: 2014-12-21T05:00:00+00:00

When hikers mention the Boone Fork Loop, 25-foot Boone Fork Falls rarely receives deserving accolades. Even though it is a pretty cascade, the falls are upstaged by a creek with the celebrated Boone name, a forest that was cut by one famous person and bought by another, and a hiking trail that is one of the best along the entire Blue Ridge Parkway.

The falls are on Boone Fork, which was named after Daniel Boone’s nephew, Jesse. Ol’ Jesse had a cabin and a small farm near the creek in the early 1800s. A huge tract of virgin chestnut, poplar, and hemlock was forested in the early 1900s by William S. Whiting, a great lumber baron. Julian Price, founder of Jefferson Standard Life, one of the nation’s major insurance companies, purchased the land in the late 1930s to use as a retreat for his employees. Price was killed in an automobile crash, and the land was donated to the National Park Service. Boone Fork was dammed to form Price Lake, a memorial to a man who deeply loved these parts.

Julian Price Park, one of the most popular recreation areas on the Parkway, was dedicated in 1960. It consists of 4,200 acres of mountain land, ranging in elevation from 3,400 to 4,000 feet. There is a campground, a picnic area, and a lake with boat rentals.

If traveling the Boone Fork Loop counterclockwise, you will first walk through an ancient lakebed where rich soil supports strawberries, blackberries, wild mustard, and pink roses. The field is great for bird-watching. Then you’ll pass some rock outcrops with several caves that provided shelter for prehistoric American Indians.

The trail parallels Boone Fork. Watch for wood ducks and evidence of energetic beavers. The waterfall is 1.8 miles from the trailhead. From the guardrail, 30 feet above the creek, you can see Boone Fork rushing and falling over car-size boulders.

After the falls, the trail heads away from Boone Fork and follows Bee Tree Creek, which you cross more than a dozen times on the way up to its headwaters. Then, make a steep climb up a set of wooden stairs. During the last mile, you hike through open meadow, high above the two creeks, and through a section of the Price Park Campground.


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