If you live in the city like we do, you know how refreshing it can be to get away from all the hustle and bustle… to walk through the woods and hear nothing but birds and the rustling of leaves as squirrels scurry from one tree to the next. You’ll probably also get why we drove over two hours to get to this spectacular waterfall hike.
Looking for a new dog-friendly hike waterfall hike? Bradley Falls in Saluda, NC is one of my absolute favorites! Well worth the trek from Charlotte. Bradley Falls is actually two different trails, starting on opposite sides of a winding road in pretty much the middle of nowhere. Each of these trails goes to a different waterfall. There’s the taller, more “impressive” 75 foot waterfall, Big Bradley Falls, and the smaller, yet in my opinion way more fun Little Bradley Falls.
You would think that Big Bradley was the way to go, just by the name. But, there are a few reasons why I prefer Little, the first being safety. Someone just died (again) at Big Bradley Falls. The trail is short and fairly boring and leads to the top of a pretty precarious cliff with a not so great view of the falls from above. If you want to climb down to the bottom, there’s a rope that you need to use to lower yourself about 20 -30 feet down a nearly vertical rock face.
AKA NOT GONNA HAPPEN. Especially not with my dogs!
So, the one time we did go, we hiked to the overlook, looked at the very far away waterfall, and turned around. Pretty, but definitely the lesser hike in my opinion.
**I’ve since learned that there’s another way to get to Big Bradley from the BOTTOM, so I’m adding that to my list of dog-friendly hikes to check out soon!
So… on to Little Bradley Falls
Trail Details: Distance: 2 miles | Trail Type: Out and Back | Difficulty Level: Easy/Moderate | Features: Waterfall, Stream Crossings
The trail to Little Bradley is a lot of fun! Along the trail, there are numerous fallen trees to climb over or crawl under, which the dogs of course thought was an obstacle course made just for them. There is also a small section where you need to do a bit of scrambling and a few stream crossings that add some fun variety to the trek. Be prepared to get wet! Bring hiking sandals or waterproof boots, depending on the season. The amount of water on this trail is a definite plus in warmer months, especially if you bring your dog with you. Ours were rock hopping and swimming and having a grand old time every time we’d cross back over the stream.
The hike to Little Bradley Falls is only about a mile each way, making it accessible to most able-bodied hikers (and dogs) of all ages, kids included. If you go during the weekend, expect some company at the falls. But on weekdays, mornings, or in the colder months, you may be treated to your own seemingly private oasis!
Because there was no one around, the dogs got to run around on the rocks, splash in the water, and swim to their hearts’ content!
Little Bradley Falls is a beautiful 35 foot, 3 cascade waterfall tucked into a picturesque little gorge on Cove Creek.
If you’re looking for a rugged, beautiful hike to a gorgeous waterfall, I definitely recommend checking out Little Bradley Falls. The one caveat is that the trail is pretty horribly marked. I’ve been twice to far and got turned around both times. So, before you go, take a minute to read these trail directions.
Thanks for reading,