A Splashing Day in Sapphire Valley!
Summertime in Sapphire Valley, NC is like no other. Nature's playground can be experienced at its best after or around Memorial Day each year as the cool mountain waters start to warm up for the season. Mind you, "warm water" in the Blue Ridge Mountains means temperatures in the high 70's and perhaps the low 80's late in the season. The cleanliness and crystal clarity of the water more than makes up for any chill you may be subject to. There are no shortages of waterfalls, lakes, swimming holes and the like for travelers of all ages to enjoy. We wanted to highlight just a few for you here as a suggestion for a wonderful way to spend a day in the mountains.
After a home-cooked breakfast at the cottage, start your day of adventure at the sensational Sliding Rock (Junior) in Cashiers, NC which is only about ten minutes from Once Upon a Stream and Sapphire Valley.
The (much) smaller, and perhaps younger, sibling to the more well known Sliding Rock of the Pisgah National Forrest near Brevard, NC, Sliding Rock (Junior) is a relatively mild thrill for kids and adults of all ages. This is truly nature's water park and its right up the road. Pack a towel, sunblock, and water shoes- a picnic is probably not a bad idea either. Oh, and don't forget your camera!
Although best know for having folks "slide" down the rock face and waterfall on their bottoms, Sliding Rock also boasts a wonderful shallow swimming hole and stream. We hear there is also great Wild Brown Trout fishing in the stream just above the top of the falls so you may want to take your fishing gear. Once you find the unofficial parking area off the side of the road, it's just a short 0.15 mile trail hike - just follow the sound of rushing water! As you reach the pools, there is another very short trail on the left side of the falls that will take you up to the top. If you prefer, you can walk/climb up the side of the falls but heed caution: ROCKS ARE VERY SLIPPERY! There are a few large hidden holes in the face of the rock slide that some people like to jump into. Our young kids have actually been in the holes and think it's a lot of fun- personally it freaks me out and I don't want any part of that!
Here's the local driving directions to Sliding Rock Junior from the "crossroads" (Hwy 64/ Hwy 107) in Cashiers, NC.
From Cashiers, NC drive South on N.C. Hwy-107 for 1.7 miles to a Right onto "Whiteside Cove Road." Take this road for 2.7 miles, crossing a bridge just before the parking area(s) on your Right. Pick up the trail(s) beside the parking area(s). There is limited parking for approx. 8 -10 vehicles.
Next up, head right down the road to Silver Run Fall, also in Cashiers, NC. Located in the Nantahala National Forest, this 25-ft waterfall is accessed by the clearly market trail (less then 1/4 mile) from the road. This magnificent cascading waterfall is especially majestic in the mid-morning as the sunlight filters through the tall trees and illuminates the mist from the crashing water. The pool at the bottom is crystal clear and great for swimming. There are also beach areas and lots of big rocks that you can rest on or even have that picnic lunch we suggested earlier that you bring. We also see lots of folks that bring rafts and tubes and just vegetate in the pool for hours.
Directions from Sliding Rock: Go back the way you came on Whiteside Cove Road until you reach HWY 107. Take a right turn on 107 and head south for just over two miles. Look for the sign and parking area on the left.
Directions from Cashiers: From US Highway 64 in Cashiers, go south on NC Highway 107 for four miles and look for the sign and parking area on the left.
Our favorite way to end a beautiful summer day in Sapphire is a relaxing afternoon at Lake Fairfield located within the Sapphire Valley Resort area. This is a private 55+ acre lake that is only available to residents of Sapphire Valley and their guests. You'll need your guest amenity card to access the lake area and for use of the amenities on-site. The Boathouse at Lake Fairfield is open late spring through October and offers rentals of canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, electric motor boats, Sailboats, and Stand Up Paddle Boards. You can also rent fishing poles and purchase bait- the kids love fishing off the adjacent dock. For more information on rentals and pricing visit the Sapphire Valley Website.
The lake also has a wonderful swimming beach with lounge chairs. The kids love to swim out to the floating dock and dive off into the deep blue water. Pack a picnic dinner, grab a pizza from Mica's or grill burgers and dogs at the covered picnic pavilion. Restrooms are available on site as well. Late afternoon (dusk) at the lake is stunning! As the wind calms, the lake turns into a 55-acre mirror creating a perfect reflection of Bald Rock and the surrounding mountains. We highly recommend building this into your agenda one afternoon.
Finally, a popular activity for the athletes- pack your running shoes and go for a 3.5-mile morning or evening run on the well-maintained trail that wraps around the lake.
Whether you're trying to escape the Florida summer heat or just taking a break from your busy life in Atlanta or Charlotte, or wherever, a summer trip to the mountains and Sapphire Valley should be on your short-list. Visit TheMountainCottage.com to get information, pricing, and availability for our quaint English Mountain Cottage affectionately known as "Once Upon a Stream" and for our newest property, "TOP of the ROCK"
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