The mountains of North Carolina are home to hundreds of waterfalls.With so many choices, where to begin? Here are some must-see waterfalls near Asheville in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, divided into five regional areas:
Blue Ridge Parkway
- Linville Falls: The most photographed waterfall in North Carolina is on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take a 1.6-mile hike with four overlooks to enjoy a variety of views of the falls and Linville Gorge.
- Crabtree Falls: This beautiful 70-foot waterfall, near Linville Falls, is along a 2.5-mile loop woodland hiking trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Skinny Dip Falls: This refreshing swimming hole on the Blue Ridge Parkway has several cascades, perfect for a hot summer day dip. And it's a beautiful setting any time of the year.
- Graveyard Fields: The highland meadow on the Blue Ridge Parkway features trails to two waterfalls. Second Falls is just a third of a mile from the parking area. Upper Falls requires a four mile hike.
Nantahala National Forest
- Dry Falls: Located in Highlands, this 75-foot roadside waterfall allows the rare treat of walking behind it. Nearby, drive behind Bridal Veil Falls.
- Glen Falls: This beautiful waterfall deep in the forest has two separate falls, accessed via a 2.5-mile roundtrip hike.
- Rainbow Falls: This powerful 150-foot waterfall is accessed by a hiking trail in Gorges State Park. Enjoy the falls from the base, side and the top. Swim at nearby Turtleback Falls.
- Upper Whitewater Falls: The highest waterfall east of the Mississippi plunges 411 feet and is viewed across the valley by walking a short paved trail.
Great Smoky Mountains
- Soco Falls: Located along busy US Highway 19 between Maggie Valley and Cherokee, the roadside twin waterfall is a beauty (photo at top).
- Deep Creek Smoky Mountains Waterfalls: See three waterfalls (Tom Branch Falls, Indian Creek Falls and Juney Whank Falls) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a loop hike near Bryson City. During the summer, go tubing down Deep Creek.
- Mingo Falls: Located near Cherokee, this 200-foot waterfall is a short walk from the parking area.
- Hickory Nut Falls: his 404-foot waterfall in Chimney Rock State Park was featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans.
- Pearson’s Falls: This 90-foot waterfall in a beautiful glen is located between Saluda and Tryon, convenient to Interstate 26.
- DuPont State Forest: A three-mile easy hike takes you to the base of three waterfalls: High Falls, Triple Falls and Hooker Falls.
Pisgah National Forest
- Catawba Falls: Hike 1.5 miles to the lower falls, a 100-foot cascade with best views in the winter since leaves hide the top of the falls.
- Looking Glass Falls: You don't have to get out of your car to see this 60-foot roadside waterfall, located on the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway.
- Moore Cove Falls: An easy 1.5-mile roundtrip hike takes you to this 50-foot tall waterfall that you can walk behind.
- Sliding Rock: During the summer, cool off as you slide down this 60-foot cascade.