10 Waterfalls You Want to Find Now
Waterfalls for All Occasions
With hundreds of beautiful cascades near Asheville, where do you begin? Here’s a quick sampler to get you started. These 10 locations represent a diverse range of options, so there’s something for everyone.
Tallest: Upper Whitewater Falls
Walk a quarter-mile paved trail (accessible for wheelchairs or scooters) to see the mighty Upper Whitewater Falls across the valley, plummeting 411 feet. Also, take a staircase down to a second overlook. It’s located in the Nantahala National Forest, about 60 miles from Asheville.
Easy Roadside: Looking Glass Falls
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the mountains is also the easiest to experience. Just 45 minutes from downtown Asheville, this 75-foot waterfall is located along the very scenic US 276 in Pisgah National Forest. Admire it from the roadside observation deck or take the stairs down for a closer look. When the water level is low, it’s a great place to wade and splash.
Get Wet: Skinny Dip Falls
This stunning swimming hole is a short hike from the Blue Ridge Parkway (at MP 417, about 25 miles from Asheville). Take a half-mile trail to an idyllic setting of multiple cascades with several pools for diving or soaking in the refreshing mountain waters.
Bike Trip: DuPont State Forest
See several waterfalls on a network of trails great for both mountain bikers and hikers. A seven-mile ride takes you to three impressive waterfalls, Triple Falls, High Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Old logging roads are perfect for beginner bikers. Or take a connecting trail for a more technical trek.
Fall Color: Graveyard Fields
This popular stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway is always one of the first and the most brilliant areas for the turning fall leaves in early October. Second Falls is a short walk from the Parkway. Or take the four-mile loop through the colorful meadow along the river to Upper Falls.
Walk Behind: Moore Cove Falls
There are only a few waterfalls that you can safely walk behind, and this one is the easiest to reach from Asheville. Located near Looking Glass Falls, the 50-foot waterfall cascades gently over an arching cliff. It’s a great one to take the kids to, since the ¾-mile hiking trail is not difficult.
Bring the Dog: Catawba Falls
Your dog is guaranteed to enjoy this 3-mile roundtrip hike through the woodlands of Pisgah National Forest. The trail to the waterfall follows a cascading stream with plenty of spots for a quick splash in the water. And it’s a great winter hike since this area seldom receives snow. It’s conveniently located a few miles from I-40, about 25 miles east of Asheville. Remember to keep your dog leashed for their protection.
Best of Parkway: Crabtree Falls
This waterfall along the Blue Ridge Parkway is absolutely beautiful. And the three-mile loop hike is a showcase of wildflowers. A bridge that crosses the creek below the falls has a bench for front row seating for the best show around. It’s located at MP 339.5, about 45 miles from Asheville.
Smoky Mountain Triple Play: Deep Creek Waterfalls
Hike a loop trail to see three waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During the summer, tube down Deep Creek from Indian Falls to Tom’s Branch Falls, a very popular tradition for many families with great fun for all ages.
Two-for-One: Soco Falls
See a rare twin waterfall just a few steps from Highway 19 between Maggie Valley and Cherokee (and just 1.5 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway). A short trail takes you to an observation deck, so it’s another location that everyone can easily enjoy.
In the Movies: Hickory Nut Falls
This majestic 404-foot waterfall in Chimney Rock State Park was featured in the movie blockbuster The Last of the Mohicans, with the climatic fight scene occurring at the top of the falls. A ¾ mile trail takes you to the base of the waterfall. Also, when you are down in the village of Chimney Rock, remember to look up for a very dramatic view of the falls.