Trips that Transform: Chasing Waterfalls in North Carolina
You know the lyrics ‘Don’t go chasing waterfalls….’? Well, in this case, do… (especially as we mean it in the literal sense). The North Carolina mountains have hundreds of waterfalls, including more than 250 in the Brevard area. Enjoy Instagram-worthy spots easily accessible from the road, or hike to enjoy natural pools hidden away in beautiful national forests.
Read on to discover some of the top waterfalls in North Carolina:
Triple Falls, Brevard
Triple Falls in the DuPont State Recreational Forest is a stunning introduction to the Brevard region’s waterfalls. Dropping 36 meters in three separate cascades and featured in the movie Last of the Mohicans, visitors can score views of this magnificent scene from a well-worn walking trail nearby.
Big Bradley Falls, Saluda
This one is for the thrill seekers… Big Bradley Falls sits 60 meters tall, and that’s not counting the 9-metre vertical rock wall you have to rappel down before you start. This waterfall isn’t accessible without a guide; you need to book the experience through Green River Adventures. Be prepared to get wet (it’s all part of the experience) and keep your eyes peeled for salamanders clinging to the wall. You can also team up the rappel booking with a Waterfall Trek for a full day of canyoneering.
McGalliard Falls Park, Valdese
A total hidden gem, McGalliard Falls Park is located just ten minutes away from charming downtown Valdese in the foothills of Western North Carolina, ‘where the Piedmont meets the mountains’. This park offers natural beauty, history, and multiple opportunities for outdoor recreation. A favourite gathering spot for locals and tourists, the park features a spectacular 13.7-metre waterfall, the historic Meytre Mill, a volleyball court, picnic shelters, and a nature trail.
Upper Bearwallow Falls, Gorges State Park
At Upper Bearwallow Falls, a short but strenuous 1.6km hike on a well-maintained trail takes you to a safe and spacious viewing platform that offers up a long-range look at this remote waterfall in Gorges State Park, located on the Blue Ridge Escarpment.
Batson Falls, Connestee Falls, Transylvania County
A kid-friendly and wheelchair-accessible boardwalk leads to a viewing area above Connestee Falls, offering up a nice view of Batson Creek Falls, a small six-metre tall cascade. The cascade falls as it joins Carson Creek, and the combined stream then flows down another set of waterfalls in a gap in the rock called The Silver Slip. All in all, a very scenic area to visit as part of your North Carolina stay.
Rainbow Falls, Sapphire, Transylvania County
Rainbow Falls in Gorges State Park provides one of the best Western North Carolina waterfall hikes, with views over the Horsepasture River that thunders down a 38-metre drop, spraying up mist that creates rainbows that sparkle in the sunlight. This hike takes approximately 30 minutes each way and an additional ten minutes if you would also like to check out Turtleback Falls.
Whitewater Falls, Cashiers
is a 125-metre waterfall and is the highest in the eastern United States. No other waterfall in the east beats its water height, volume, and visibility. Due to the rugged surrounding terrain, visitors are advised to stay on the established trails, and a lower outlook is located at the bottom of 154 wooden steps. Wildflowers and salamanders are in abundance in the cool, moist shade of the steep slopes and rock cliffs. You will also find a rich array of ferns, mosses and fungi in this area.