Waterfall Safety 101

Looking Glass Falls near Asheville, NC

How to safely view the best waterfalls near Asheville, N.C.

The Asheville area is home to hundreds of waterfalls, including some of the most picturesque waterfalls in the country. Exploring these natural wonders can be one of the most exciting and memorable experiences you have during your visit!

But, we at Explore Asheville want you to make sure it’s a memorable experience for all the right reasons. While waterfalls are beautiful, they are also powerful and pose hidden dangers to those who are unprepared and who do not follow basic safety measures.Outdoor fun near Asheville, NC

Waterfall Safety Tips

People are injured or killed at area waterfalls each year. In nearly every case, those accidents have occurred when people ignored posted warnings. We encourage you to join us in promoting waterfall safety with the help of the following tips:

Stay on Designated Trails

Never Jump Off a Waterfall

Watch for Slick Rocks

Follow All Posted Instructions

Watch Children and Pets Carefully

Don't Climb Rocks Above Waist Height

Be Mindful of Your Surrounds
When Taking Photos

Do Not Climb on Top of Waterfall

Waterfall Safety 101
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Waterfall Safety 101

Take your time and enjoy the serenity of Asheville's rushing waterfalls by walking slowly and watching your step. Learn from an Asheville hiking guide on how to best explore some of Western North Carolina's most treasured gems.


Learn More About Waterfall Safety

  • Stay on designated trails and do not stray from observation decks and platforms.
  • Follow all posted instructions and warnings. Many trails have signage to tell you where you should be to safely enjoy the falls.
  • Never climb on or around waterfalls. Even rocks that appear dry can be slippery especially rocks covered with algae.
  • Do not climb on top of a waterfall. The top of the waterfall is the most dangerous place of all. Also, do not play in the water in the creek or river above a waterfall.
  • Never jump off a waterfall into a pool below. You have no way of knowing what rocks or other objects are just below the surface. Further, currents in the pool below a waterfall can drag you and keep you under water.
  • Be overly cautious. Watch your footing and take it slow.

Waterfall in Fall

  • When taking photos, be especially careful and aware of your surroundings. Make sure you are in a solid, safe location on the designated trail before snapping a picture.
  • Watch children and pets carefully. They can easily underestimate the slickness of rock or the flow of water.
  • Wear appropriate footwear. When exploring waterfalls, wear hiking shoes with good grip. Do not wear flip flops or sandals.
  • To ensure your safety, never hike or visit a waterfall alone. Many waterfalls are in areas with little or no cell service so it’s important to have a companion who can seek out help in the event of an emergency.
  • As with any hike, be sure to carry a backpack with a map, water, food and other essentials.

Hiker sitting in front of Silver Run Falls waterfall

Top photo of Looking Glass Falls by Jared Kay. Photo of Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields by Luke Sutton. Silver Run Falls photo by Nathaniel Flowers.

Updated May 6, 2024