The Ultimate Bucket List For Anyone In North Carolina Who Loves Waterfall Hikes
North Carolina is filled with exciting attractions, from theme parks to seashores that are home to wild horses. But oftentimes the best adventures are found in the woods, sometimes deep in the woods. Let’s take a look at the ultimate bucket list for waterfall chasing in the Tar Heel State, which are, by the way, among the
best hikes in North Carolina!
1. Catawba Falls Trail - near Old Fort
One of the most popular trails in the Pisgah National Forest leads to this breathtaking waterfall. The trail is rated moderate, is wooded, and follows a river. And as a bonus, you'll see more than one waterfall on the way to
2. Triple Falls Trail - in Pisgah Forest
Triple Falls Trail
loop is an easy hike into this massive spectacle in the middle of the woods. See the above photo for scale: there are tiny little people at the base of the waterfall!
3. Crabtree Falls Trail - off the Blue Ridge Parkway
Known for the spectacular views found along the trail, as well as the beautiful Crabtree Falls, the
Crabtree Falls Trail
2.7-mile loop trail offers a variety of sights along the way. It's accessible year-round and you can even bring your dog as long as he/she is leashed. This is definitely one of the most spectacular waterfall hikes in North Carolina.
4. Rainbow Falls and Turtle Back Falls - near Lake Toxaway
A 3.7-mile hike into the
Natanhala National Forest
yields views of four great waterfalls on this out-and-back hike. When you reach the towering Rainbow Falls, use extreme caution when viewing them from the top. Many people have fallen from this waterfall so take a look but don't lean over (eek!).
5. Linville Falls Trail - near Newland
One of the greatest waterfalls in North Carolina is the
Linville Falls Trail
, located in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. It's also one of the most heavily trafficked waterfall hikes. You can take the trail to the viewing platform at the top of the falls, or head down the hill to falls at the base.
6. High Shoals Falls Trail - near Connellys Spring
The 5.4-mile loop to along the
High Shoals Falls Trail
is not for the faint of heart. It has a staircase that can make you think twice about your decision to trek off into the woods. But the pay off is a gorgeous hike, which is also one of the most scenic hikes in North Carolina, through an old forest with some long-range views.
7. Moore Cove Falls Trail - in Pisgah Forest
The best 1.2-mile hike you can hike is the
Moore Cove Falls Trail
. It's easy, beautiful, and short. Arrive at your destination only to be awed by the massive spray of water over a cliff that offers a walk-behind waterfall experience, if you're brave enough to leave the viewing platform.
8. Hooker Falls Trail - near Hendersonville
Hooker Falls Trail
to this beautiful waterfall is short, sweet, and mostly flat. It's a mere .06-mile from the parking area and can get a little (okay, a LOT) crowded in the summer months. But the waterfall is so pretty, it's worth it.
9. Skinny Dip Falls Trail - near Canton (along the BPR)
One of the most popular trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC, is the one that leads to
Skinny Dip Falls Trail
. The entire loop trail is only .08-mile and not only dishes up a great waterfall, but also has a fun swimming hole at the bottom of the falls. Be forewarned if you're going to swim: it can be crowded in the warmer months.
10. Elk River Falls Trail - Elk Park
Elk River Falls Trail
that goes down a hill to the foot of this waterfall is worth the effort. If it's a warm day, be prepared to share your slice of paradise with others, and even consider bringing swimming gear to join in the fun.
11. Looking Glass Waterfalls - near Brevard
Looking Glass Waterfalls
are close to the road that once you discover it, you may find it hard not to pull over each time you're nearby! A short .03-mile hike down to the foot of Looking Glass brings you to a beautiful spot with a swimming hole and plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the spectacle.
No matter the season, chasing waterfalls is a great family activity. Have you been to any of these great spots? If so, we’d love to see your photos and hear about your experiences.
For more outdoor adventures in North Carolina,
here’s the top outdoor attraction in the state – and you’ll want to do it!
Address: Catawba Falls Parkway, Catawba Falls Pkwy, North Carolina 28711, USA Address: Triple Falls, Triple Falls Trail, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768, USA Address: Meadows Lane Crabtree Falls Parking Area/Crabtree Falls Trail/Crabtree Falls Meadows/.5 Appalachian Trail Access, Parking lot, Tyro, VA 22976, USA Address: Linville Falls Highway, Linville Falls Hwy, North Carolina, USA Address: High Shoals Falls, South Mountains State Park, 3001 S Mountain Park, Connelly Springs, NC 28612, USA Address: Moore Cove Falls Trail, US-276, Brevard, NC 28712, USA Address: Triple Falls Trail, North Carolina, USA Address: Skinny Dip Falls Trailhead, Blue Ridge Pkwy, Canton, NC 28716, USA Address: Elk River Falls, Elk River Rd, Elk Park, NC 28622, USA Address: Looking Glass Falls, US-276, Brevard, NC 28712, USA Address: Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Trailhead, Lake Toxaway, NC 28747, USA
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