North Harper Creek

So pretty you have to sit down to look at. North Harper Creek has a process of falls that is stunning and a pair of swimming holes that are Yosemite-class. At the bottom, the main pool is close to 200 feet wide and perhaps twice as deep. Observed one local: “You could drive a tractor trailer into either of them holes, and never see it again.”
At the upper fall water leaps over sheer granite into a hole deep enough to arrest the momentum of a satellite falling out of orbit. Unfortunately, there appears few places any but expert plungemeister or madman would leap from. Sheer rock affords little footing for a clean leap and access is from sketchy ropes.

The main hole below is more user friendly. It’s formed by a enormous collar of bare rock, angled at about 40 degrees. There’s almost enough room to accommodate the student body of Appalachain State University, the principal users, but its a steep angle for lounging. Put sticky rubber on your feet.

The main hole is reachable from the hiking trail. To reach the upper hole, best return to the trail and continue upstream to a couple of fixed ropes that ease the descent down a steep spur trail.

Plenty of ways to break your neck here. Use sense, stay within your abilities, or be prepared to ride back to the trailhead on a stretcher.

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