Nature August 17, 2017
8 Easy Waterfalls Hikes In North Carolina You’re Guaranteed To Love
While those old song lyrics say, ‘don’t go chasing waterfalls,’ in North Carolina, it’s best to ignore this bit of advice and DO go chasing waterfalls. North Carolina has no shortage of waterfalls and amazing hikes to go along with them, ranging from falls that reach hundreds of feet to mild and temperate cascades with gentle swimming holes.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Linville Falls
Just recently we covered the beautiful Linville Falls and the two popular hiking options; one taking you to the base of the fall and the other to Erwin's View. While both hikes total four miles together, the most popular option is hiking the Erwin's View Trail just 1.6-miles from the Visitor's Center to the most-photographed perspective of the eighty foot Linville Falls.
For more information on the hike or other things to see and do at Linville Falls,
read our guide here.
2. Lower Cascade Falls, Hanging Rock State Park
Less than a half mile hike on the Lower Cascades Trail takes you to the stunning Lower Cascades Fall at Hanging Rock State Park. The waterfall is encompassed within a unique rock formation and the pool of the fall is actually perfect for wading or little swimmers to play and splash. After your hike, if you feel so daring, climb to the top of Hanging Rock for stunning views of the Piedmont. It will be hard to believe you're actually not in the mountains for this one.
3. Crabtree Falls
The Crabtree Falls Loop Trail has made several of our lists, including
11 incredible hikes in under five miles.
The 2.5-mile loop hike can be strenuous at parts but continuously rewards you with beauty, including the stunning Crabtree Falls that cascades a total of 70 feet. The hike weaves you through growths of birch and hemlock while you're treated to rocky outcrops offering Blue Ridge views and quit, scenic vistas perfect for a stop. Take time to enjoy Crabtree Falls and sit on the bench on the bridge, or pack a lunch to eat on the rocks. It's a great day hike perfect for mixed levels.
4. Hickory Nut Falls
The stunning Hickory Nut Falls is easily accessed by a 1.5-mile hike that's safe and accessible for the whole family. Part of Chimney Rock State Park, Hickory Nut falls a total of 404-feet against a towering rock wall.
For more information on what to see and do at Chimney Rock State Park, read
our comprehensive guide here.
5. Mingo Falls
A hidden gem hiding in the Smokies, the beautiful Mingo Falls is accessed by a short and brisk 0.4-mile hike inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Cherokee Indian Reservation (Qualla Boundary). The 120-foot fall is always impressive, but especially after a large rainfall which causes the cascade to flow in full force.
6. Skinny Dip Falls
You can leave your clothes on at skinny dip falls, but be sure to bring your bathing suit as this waterfall also doubles as a swimming hole. Different rocky outcrops make for perfect jump-off spots while a deep pool allows for actual swimming (after you get used to the chilly water). You'll find Skinny Dip Falls off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Park at the Looking Glass Rock overlook, cross the street, and a 2.0-mile downward hike takes you to Skinny Dip. Once there, it feels as if you've discovered a utopia hiding in the woods.
7. DuPont State Forest
In DuPont State Forest you can hike to not only one waterfall, but three. While this is indeed the longest hike on the list, the constant rewards and scenery make you forget you're even trekking three miles. The most popular trail option leads you to Hooker, Triple, and High Falls. Hooker Falls is another great swimming hole, perhaps the most popular in the state, but you might want to save the swim for when you hike back.
For a comprehensive guide on what trails to take and sights to see at DuPont State Forest,
read our guide here.
8. Midnight Hole
By now you might've caught on to the fact that a lot of these waterfalls double as swimming holes. While Midnight Hole might have the smallest fall (if it can even really be considered a waterfall) the gentle cascades flow into a crystal-clear pool perfect for a chilly mountain dip. Located in the Big Creek area of the Smoky Mountains, a 1.5-mile hike down Big Creek Trail will lead you to this hidden oasis. Keep your eyes peeled though, as there are no clear cut signs indicating you've arrived. This is a popular weekend spot for both hiking and swimming, so you might hear some fellow splashers or hikers that will help guide you there.
For more information on this super secret swimming spot and how to find it,
read our guide here.
What awesome hikes to take in North Carolina! Which ones will you try first? Have you done any before?