|The lowest cascades of the Lower falls.|
Snowbird creek is located about 10 miles from Robbinsville in Graham County. I have previously given detailed directions and trail information here, when I wrote about the Middle Falls. There are three main sets of falls on Snowbird Creek, creatively named Lower (Big) falls, Middle Falls and Upper Falls. The Lower falls are actually a set of three or four cascades and slides that serve to separate the rainbow and brown trout populations from the native brook or speckled trout.
|Nice little brown trout.|
On this particular trip, myself and a set of friends camped at the mouth of Sassafras Creek where it joins Big Snowbird Creek. It was late May and we couldn't keep the fish off the end of our lines. My brother and I and another friend fished from the campsite at Sassafras to the Lower Falls - a distance of about a mile. The day before, my brother and I had fished Sassafras creek, which is a great little creek to itself, but that's a topic for another post.
|Pretty little native rainbow.|
Below the Lower Falls, you will catch decent sized native rainbows and browns, though you may also see the occasional speck (if you're lucky). However, the size of the falls prohibits the rainbows and browns from moving any farther up the creek.
|You will catch the rare speck below the Lower Falls.|
If you decide to hike straight to the falls, you can cross Sassafras creek and follow the trail along the left side of the creek for about a mile. The trail will rise in elevation above the creek to where accessing the main creek becomes almost impossible (you will even lose the sound of the creek at one point). This is an important thing to remember if you fish this portion of Big Snowbird as you will have to do some climbing and bushwhacking if you decide to leave the creek before the Lower Falls.
|Rock-climbing skills can come in handy!|
There is no signage for the falls themselves, but they are pretty straight forward to locate. Once you begin to hear the creek again, you will soon be able to see the falls and several fisherman's trails down to the falls. Be careful, as the banks are pretty steep! If you reach the foot log that crosses Big Snowbird, you have gone too far for the falls. (Side note - there are some amazing campsites on the other side of this foot log at Mouse Knob creek - also a topic for another post).
|Lunch on top of a rock would be great!|
Like I noted before, the falls themselves are a series of cascades and slides and you can rock hop from one to the next. The tallest is the farthest up the creek and is ten to fifteen feet tall with a huge pool below. In my opinion, this is one of the best swimming holes in WNC. I have been swimming here since I was about 12 years old and taking a dip in the perpetually chilly creek is one of the highlights of each summer. If you're brave enough, the pool is even deep enough for a jump off the top!
|Geronimo! It was cold, I'll guarantee that!|
|Shimmy up the left side and you've got a nice pool to jump into.|