One of my favorite waterfall hikes in the southern Appalachians is the Rainbow Falls Trail in western North Carolina, just south of Lake Toxaway. Beginning in Gorges State Park, the 4-mile (round-trip) trail soon enters Pisgah National Forest, where it follows the Horsepasture River (a designated Wild and Scenic River) along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Four waterfalls occur along this stretch of the river, including Rainbow Falls, a near-vertical cascade about 125 feet high with a large plunge pool at the base. Few waterfalls in the southern Appalachians are as spectacular (and powerful) as this one. Continue Reading Timothy P. Spira: Hiking Rainbow Falls Trail
Waterfalls are constantly changing. A rapid surge in stream flow following a heavy rain can turn a modest waterfall into a raging torrent of water. Dry periods can transform a waterfall into a trickle of water (much to the disappointment of waterfall enthusiasts). A slight breeze can elicit a shimmering spray, and if the light is right, a colorful rainbow. If passing clouds obscure the sun, the brightly reflective waterfall changes to softer hues, and the rainbow vanishes into thin air. Continue Reading Timothy P. Spira: The Lure of Waterfalls
Our featured North Carolina icon this week is the Appalachian Trail. There are thousands of different species of plants and animals along the Appalachian Trail, varying as the trail goes through different climates. There are 2,000 rare, threatened, endangered, and sensitive plant and animal species. Continue Reading North Carolina Icons: Appalachian Trail, Part 2: Nature
We’re celebrating wild flowers this week. Today learn about Timothy Spira’s new guidebook, Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont. Continue Reading Hey, it’s National Wildflower Week!
This spring, UNC Press published 4 books for the inaugural season of Southern Gateways Guides, our newest series. Southern Gateways Guides offer a fresh, comprehensive, and always reliable approach to the South. From outdoor and nature guides, to beautifully illustrated references on flora and fauna, and travel guides to exciting destinations, these insightful books have something for… Continue Reading Introducing Southern Gateways Guides from UNC Press