I went back to see Big Bradley falls last weekend and spent some time at the top of the falls. The area and the falls themselves are gorgeous, and the hike to the top is easy, but I have to reiterate that the area is dangerous and the top of the waterfall can be very dangerous as you’re at the top of a gorge. I will go back again, but next time I want to get to the base of the falls. The trailhead I started from is easily found on Holbert Cove Road (SR 1142). Many websites will direct you there. From there, after about a mile hike, I accessed the top of the falls. After the short hike to the creek crossing, I continued on the clear path but dropped down to the creek fairly quickly (on a clear trail that leads to a campsite). Then, I followed the creek to the falls. From the pictures I think you can see that this can be dangerous. Going forward, I will explore more of the paths around the falls.
I went for a two-fer today and hiked to Little Bradley falls, and then tried to get to Big Bradley falls as well. The mile (or so) to Little Bradley falls was an easy hike. You will quickly get your feet wet at the three creek crossings (the deep one at maybe a foot or foot and a half – is the third and last and you should be through them after 750 yards or so. Either wear water shoes or just take your off and wade across. Also, there are some steep slopes for the first 750 yards so be careful with children. I would not recommend letting them run ahead alone. Once you arrive, you see why so many people come here. It’s a really good wading pool with a beautiful 50 foot tall waterfall behind it. You can climb up on the rocks, but always be careful since wet, mossy rocks are slippery.
The hike in to Big Bradley is equally easy, but you also have a river crossing here, and you will get your feet wet. The path is well marked so I decided not to go to the top of the falls, but continue to the Overlook. The Overlook is not hard to get to, but please don’t bring small children. It is dangerous, and signs will remind you that people have died here. The Overlook itself is about 200 feet above the gorge. AND, trees block the actual view of the falls. Sheesh. While I was there, it thundered pretty much continuously, and once it seemed like it was getting closer I bailed and hiked out. There’s always a next time when you do that! And, next time, I’ll check out the top of the falls and the rope downclimb to the base.