One of the most beautiful waterfalls in our county is Connestee Falls, a twin waterfall in which two streams drop to form a common creek, part of the French Broad River Basin. Connestee Falls drops from Carson Creek and its twin, Lower Batson Falls drops from Batson Creek. The origin of both creeks is a mere two miles away at the Eastern Continental Divide. The two waterfalls are commonly called Connestee Falls. Lower Batson Falls is owned by our community. For years Connestee Falls was privately owned although the owner allowed public access.
Several years ago the owner of the larger Connestee Falls decided to have the waterfall and land surrounding it placed into a land conservation. A fund-raising drive began and with the efforts of many people the falls became part of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and Transylvania County Parks and Recreation. When donations fell short of the asking price, the owner reduced the price and sold the waterfall and land.
Access to Connestee Falls was closed for most of the winter to allow the constuction of the new walkway and observation deck. It is handicapped accessible so more people can now enjoy the falls.
A new wood and galvanized steel walkway leads the short path to the top of the falls.
This view from the observation deck shows part of the drop of Connestee Falls with part of Lower Batson Creek Falls in the background.
Also taken from the observation deck, this photograph shows the roaring Connestee Falls dropping to join Lower Batson Creek Falls. A gift from Mother Nature gave several inches of rain in the days before the grand opening, filling the creeks and making the falls even more beautiful.
The view of Connestee Falls itself is accessible only from our community. Members of our community frequently hike down the trail. The trail follows Batson Creek and is a gorgeous and moderately strenuous hike with two other waterfalls along the path. The hike ends with Lower Batson Creek Falls and this beautiful view of the Connestee Falls. The photograph below was taken during one of our autumn hikes.
Connestee Falls. The observation deck from which the above photographs were taken is at the top of the waterfall you see in this photograph. The water in the right side of the photograph shows part of Lower Batson Creek Falls. The fencing in the middle left is a remnant of earlier times when access to the falls was further down. Future plans include creating a trail and a second observation deck from which visitors will be able to view both falls at once.
Connestee Falls was named in 1882 by Dr. A.F. Miles who owned nearby Caesar's Head Hotel. Connestee was a Cherokee princess who, according to legend leapt to her death from the top of the falls because of a lost lover.
The two waterfalls are tiered cascade waterfalls. Connestee Falls drops one hundred and ten feet and Lower Batson Creek Falls drops eighty-five feet. The sight of the two waterfalls is impressive indeed. With the new deck, visitors need only to park and walk (or use a wheelchair) a hundred feet or so to view the falls.
How nice to see the citizens of our county come together to make this possible.