Paint Creek

Great Hike and Drive and Swimming
Can be combined nicely with dinner or lunch in Hot Springs
Picnic tables available by the creek
Waterfalls, Beautiful Rocks, Views of River, Picnic opportunities

To access this general area:

Drive to Hot Springs on Hwy 209 N.
Go through town and cross the French Broad River
Immediately after you cross the river, turn left to access River road.
At the stop sign, turn right to head downstream.Love Road is so romantic
This road takes you several miles down the river on a very scenic drive.

In a few miles it will turn to dirt road. Then you will come to Murray Branch Recreation area.
The parking lot is on the left and the trail begins on the right of the road, just before you enter the parking area.

Hiking
T & R Rating
Moderate
Yellow Blazes
1.3 miles
This short loops has gentle switch backs through the forest up the the ridge. About 3/4 mile in you will come to a Y. This is the loop. Stay to the right to see incredible ridge top views of the river. Continue on and this trail joins with another trail, that has blue blazes. It winds on in the woods but does not loop. You can add onto your hike with this “in and out” section.

(4 wheel drive may be needed on this section only if it is muddy)
Continue down the road and look for a road that crosses Paint creek on the right. It will have a brown sign with a camping sign to the right and fishing to the left. Turn left and follow to the end. There is a beautiful pond here.

Paint Creek to Dudley Falls
Paint Creek Road is very passable, but is narrow with turnouts. You will have a choice to take the high road or low road. The low road takes you to Dudley Falls. It takes you by a beautiful creek with lots of picnic opportunities. Dudley falls is a beautiful waterfall that is accessed by car. This is a great place to wander around.

Trout

Fishing

Fishing is really great in our area.  All of our streams are stocked with trout every Spring.  Fishing locations are described in this link.   Our creeks flow into Roaring Fork creek which flows into Meadow Fork creek , then Spring Creek into the French Broad river.   Here is a link to the Madison County Fishing Guide.

Brook Trout

You will need a NC Fishing License.  The pond at Max Patch is also stocked with trout every year.   This pond is located beyond the parking lot for hiking. To reach this pond, take Roaring Fork road to Meadow Fork road.  Turn right on Meadow Fork.  Proceed until you see the brown sign pointing you to Max Patch.  Turn right onto Little Creek Road.  It will turn to dirt.  Continue until you come to a T intersection.  Turn right at the T.  In about a mile you will see the parking lot for Max Patch on the right.  Just continue on the road and the pond is about 1/4 mile past the parking lot on the right.

Max Patch pond
Max Patch Pond

Pond at Max Patch Max Patch Pond