Rooster Tail Falls is one of five named falls located on the property of Living Waters Ministry in Balsam Grove, NC. To get there, start at the intersection of US 64 and NC 215 in Rosman, NC and drive north for 7.7 miles where you will find Living Waters Ministry on the left. Park in the back of their parking near the “red chalet.” Before starting your hike, please check in with the staff of Living Waters and thank them for allowing you to visit their waterfalls. After you see these cascades, you’ll probably want to go back and really thank the staff one more time.
At the end of the parking lot, you’ll see a bridge crossing Mill Shoals Creek. Cross the bridge and continue past the front of the “red chalet.” You’ll think you’re going too far, but you will eventually finding a trail on the right which will take you to the back of the “red chalet” and a front view of French Broad Falls with Mill Shoals Falls immediately on your right.
Backtrack just a bit and you’ll see the trail follows the river downstream. Shortly, you will come to a small rock-walled“overlook” that sits at the top of Rooster Tail Falls giving you a good vantage point of the waterfall from above but, unless you’re really sharp-eyed, will not reveal its name sake – the rooster tail.
Continue past the “overlook” on the trail to get to the bottom of the falls. There you can see it falls about 15 feet in a “running tier” formation with no much definitive about the water flow – that is, until you move to your right and up close to the side of the waterfall. Looking across the water flow, you will see a 3 foot tall rooster tail of water about half way down the cascade and close to where you will be standing. The water is hitting some underwater obstacle that sends it leaping into the air in a characteristic “rooster tail” spray.