Saluda’s Big Bradley Falls named North Carolina’s top gem

Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Weather Channel recently named the most amazing hidden gems in every state in the U.S. and chose Saluda’s Big Bradley’s Falls as North Carolina’s gem.

“Big Bradley Falls, near Saluda, is an exceptional 75 ft. waterfall tucked in a small gorge,” states The Weather Channel’s publication with a photograph. “It is part of an unmarked, untended section of the Green River Game Lands – a rugged, 10,000-acre tract of land owned by the state for hunting and fishing. warns, however, that the trail is especially dangerous at the top of the falls.”

Most area residents are very aware of both Big Bradley’s beauty and its dangers.

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There have been at least five reported deaths at Big Bradley from people falling off the falls since 1993.

The latest death occurred in April 2012 when Jesse Pague, 24, of Saluda fell from the falls during a hike. The trek to the falls takes an estimated 30 minutes to the top of the waterfall.

Another death occurred in August 2008 when N.C. Division of Forest Resources firefighter Curtis Jessen, 32, was assisting in the clean up of a fire when he fell down a 66-foot ravine in the area. There have also been several injuries in the Big Bradley Falls area. Since the latest deaths, the state has completed signage in the area warning hikers of the dangers.

The area includes both Big Bradley Falls and Little Bradley Falls.

The hike to Big Bradley Falls follows Cove Creek and includes a stream crossing and a small waterfall. Big Bradley Falls drops into a narrow gorge. Both Big Bradley and Little Bradley Falls can be accessed from Holbert Cove Road in Saluda.