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The Best Waterfalls in Western North Carolina

Explore some of the best waterfalls in Western North Carolina

By: Jared Beeler + Save to a List

The southern North Carolina that I am writing about is only 3 counties which are Translyvania, Jackson, and Macon county. However, there are a ton of waterfalls in these counties because of the numerous rivers. The most waterfalls are in Translyvania county in 2 parks and other large rivers. One of the best areas in Transylvania county is called Dupont State Forest. In Dupont state forest there are 3 really nice waterfalls to go to. The best for a very short day hike called Hooker Falls. The hike to Hooker Falls is only about half a mile and has some great places for kids to swim and play in the river and to fish for trout in the river. Another hike at Dupont State Forest is the hike to High Falls and Triple Falls this hike is a bit longer but the waterfall is a lot taller than Hooker Falls but you can not get to the river at High Falls and Triple Falls both have to enjoyed from a distant there are some beautiful places to have a picnic or a rest. Another really nice place in Transylvania County is Gorges State Park Located on the border of South Carolina and North Carolina. In the state park there are a few nice small water falls but one of my personal favorites and one of the most action packed hikes is Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls. Rainbow falls is a beautiful cascading waterfall that offers some areas for cliff jumping if you are experienced and brave enough. Turtleback falls is just a few hundred yards beyond Rainbow Falls and definitely worth checking out, it offers a 20 foot slide along moss covered rocks then a 20 foot drop in to cold river water. Turlteback is not an area where kids can roam free because of the strong current. There are a few more waterfall hikes located a road called US 276 near Brevard. There are two really big attractions here one is Looking Glass Falls. Looking Glass Falls is a roadside waterfall that is about 50 feet tall and has some great places to take pictures. The other big attraction is Sliding Rock it offers amazing swimming and rock sliding, it is very kid friendly and they even have lifeguards on duty in the summer from 10-6. One other bit longer hike along 276 is Moore Cove Falls.

Waterfalls in Jackson County

There are not as many waterfalls as Transylvania county but they are still very much worth visiting. One of my personal favorites is Silver Run Falls it offers great swimming and photography and is less than a half mile hike. Another great waterfall in the area is Cashiers Sliding Rock which is great for swimming and offers an area to slide down the rock. One hike thats good for a bit longer hike is School house falls which is 3 miles long. Another waterfall nearby to Schoolhouse is Toxaway River Falls. Toxaway is good for fishing for trout, swimming and photography.  

Waterfalls in Macon County

The waterfalls in Macon County that are most popular are along one road and are a few miles apart. The first one along this road is Bridal Veil Falls it is right off of the road and offers a great place to take pictures under the waterfall. The second waterfalls along this road is Dry Falls. Dry falls offers an amazing spot that offers great family areas as well as beautiful photography and a few areas to picnic at. The third waterfall is a few miles up the road from Dry Falls and because of its location it is hard to get too and not a good idea to try to go down to the waterfall but can be enjoyed while driving past and stopping on the shoulder of the road. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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