Before you read another word, put Courthouse Falls on your “must see” list.
This waterfall is one of several really, really nice cascades to be found along NC 215 so head off to Rosman, NC and from the intersection of US 64 and NC 215, drive north on NC 215 for 10.3 miles to FR 140. It comes in at a shallow angle on the right just before a bridge. FR 140 is marked.
Drive 3.0 miles on FR 140 (it is gravel) to a parking area just past a bridge crossing Courthouse Creek (so named because it originates on a mountain named Devil’s Courthouse). On the left side of the road, next to the bridge, Summey Cove Trail comes in. The trail is marked along with the fact that Courthouse Falls is down the trail.
Head downstream on the trail as it runs alongside the creek. At about 0.2 miles, you’ll notice the creek dropping away from you as you stay up on the ridge. Then you’ll hear the waterfall and see it down on your left. You’ll see some shortcut scrambles down the side of the ridge, but ignore these. Shortly, the trail will make a hard turn to the right and you’ll see the Courthouse Falls Trail coming in from the left. There is even a log here with “FALLS” and an arrow.
You’ll immediately start back to your left and down toward the waterfall. You will be impressed. A 50 foot waterfall (you’ll swear it is taller) that gets a running start with several smaller tiers at the top then makes the leap into its own private grotto.
At first, you think this is a plunge, but it isn’t. It actually is more of a very, very steep slide with only about the last 10 feet or so being free from the rock face. By that time, the water is moving so fast, it continues on into the base pool along the same line, never bending. This furthers the illusion of this being a plunge. So, if there is such a thing as a non-vertical plunge, Courthouse Falls is it.