/ Land and Water, People and Nature,

Welcome to Headwaters State Forest

North Carolina’s newest state forest opened last week! Over 6,700 acres full of beautiful waterfalls and pristine trout streams are now yours to explore.

Headwaters State Forest offers lots of gorgeous waterfalls—but it’s nothing like nearby DuPont State Forest, where the popular trails can get crowded. Headwaters actually has little in the way of developed trails, although there are some informal paths and roadbeds. What Headwaters offers is a more remote wilderness experience. It’s a place where anglers can make their way up a mountain stream, casting their lines over clear pools. It’s a place where you can truly get away.

Headwaters also contains a nine-mile spur of the 77-mile Foothills Trail. A strenuous 5-mile hike along this trail will lead you to Bursted Rock, with its dramatic views of Table Rock in South Carolina. Other popular spots to visit include beautiful East Fork Falls and the peak of Sassafrass Mountain, both of which are easy to get to.

We’re thrilled to have helped protect Headwaters State Forest—a conservation success that took nearly a decade to achieve. Now, this land of mountain streams and waterfalls is open for you to explore.

10 Reasons to Be Excited About Headwaters

  • This new state forest connects to over 100,000 acres of protected land in North and South Carolina—adding to a vast conservation corridor for both people and wildlife.
  • These are the uppermost headwaters of the French Broad River, fed by mountain springs. The forest has more than 50 miles of pristine streams.
  • Those cold, fast streams are excellent habitat for trout, including native brook trout.
  • Waterfalls are everywhere!
  • Headwaters makes more land available for hunting, fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching and its’s a good place to avoid the crowds.
  • It contains a nine mile spur of the 77-mile Foothills Trail system, which runs along the state line and connects Oconee State Park, Lake Jocassee, and Table Rock State Park.
  • It provides clean water for the French Broad River, which is a back-up source of drinking water for Asheville and Hendersonville and an important potential future water supply source.
  • Clean rivers are more fun! Protecting the headwaters makes the French Broad more attractive for paddling or floating, anywhere along its length.
  • Part of Headwaters will remain a working forest. It will serve as a demonstration forest, providing education on different forest management techniques.
  • Headwaters State Forest supports major economic drivers in our region: tourism, outdoor recreation, and forestry.

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