Winter Waterfall in Cashiers NC
Photo by Charles Johnson

Summer is long gone by now, and we have entered that long season of short days and cold nights when Nature, having shed its final riot of autumn color, invites us to notice and love the more minimal splendor of the clean lines of tangled tree branches, the contours of naked ridges in the distance, and the subtle beauty of endless shades of grays and browns.

Winter is my favorite season, not because I love cold and snow (although I do – my snowshoes are ready) but because I need that constant reminder from the natural world that there is a time and place for everything, and that what’s most important is what’s right in front of me. When all the frenzied, squawking, chirping life of spring and summer, and the last splendorous hurrah of fall, have faded away, and the seasonal crowds have fled the impending cold and gray, the essentials remain as they always have, and are generally quieter and less crowded.

Which brings us to Silver Run Falls.

Silver Run Falls is just a short walk from Highway 107 south of Cashiers, which probably explains its popularity – I’ve never been there in the summer because I’ve never found a reasonably safe place to park. Most winter days, however, find it relatively unoccupied, especially in the early mornings and late evenings, which liminal times I firmly believe are the best to be outside and a part of the world at large.

 If you’ve read any of my previous Laurel articles I’ll probably sound like a broken record here, but there is just something special about sitting quietly for a few moments next to moving water. It’s like hanging out with a quiet, steadfast friend whose inner life you know so well that no words need to be spoken to express mutual understanding and kinship. And Silver Run Falls is a quiet friend that you can stop by and say hello to even on a busy weekday. Those of us who are lucky enough to live here year-round have many such friends.

This is also a great place to bring out-of-town visitors who might be unaccustomed or averse to day-long stomps through the wilderness, as my parents will have found out by the time this article is published. 

 To reach Silver Run Falls, drive four miles south of the Cashiers Crossroads on Highway 107 to the signed parking area on the left. Take with you a picnic, a friend, or at the very least - to paraphrase the poet Mary Oliver – a willingness to be dazzled.