Dry Falls is a popular waterfall located in western North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest. Dry Falls is not only exceptionally beautiful, but the trail takes you safely behind the 75ft waterfall allowing you to truly take in the power of its presence.

Dry Falls is located off of Hwy. 64, which has been designated as the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway, and the road does not disappoint. Hwy. 64 is a two lane road which hugs the northern side of Cullasaja Gorge, which has been carved by the Cullasaja River. Besides Dry Falls, Hwy. 64 leads you past several other waterfalls: Cullasaja Falls- which is only visible from the road; Quarry Falls- more or less a patch of glorified rapids with large boulders that are great to get out and climb on; Bridal Veil Falls- this has a small detour allowing you to drive under them.The parking lot to Dry Falls was redone in 2012, offering restrooms, a viewing platform of the falls and access to the trailhead of the short, easy hike leading down to the falls. From the parking lot, the trail descends a short distance, by way of several different sections of stairs, to the waterfall itself. The trail has several places to observe the falls and continues behind the waterfall to another area where you can see the falls from a different vantage point. Standing behind the waterfall is a truly memorable experience that allows you the humbling opportunity to be witness to the awesome power of nature.

Pack List

  • Comfortable Shoes (the trail has a tendency to be muddy)
  • Camera
  • Light Outer Layer (the falls can generate a lot of mist, causing some moisture to build on your clothes)
  • Plastic Bag for Camera (for the same reason as bringing an outer layer)
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RT Distance 0.3 Miles
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Dry Falls

Easily accessible falls off Hwy 64. The walk to the falls is very easy. One of the few falls in the area where you can actually walk behind the falls.

Incredibly scenic, equally as crowded

I was surprised at how accessible Dry Falls is. It was great to see small children and grandparents able to explore such beautiful scenery together. The combination of the beauty, accessibility, and proximity to Highlands definitely makes this a popular spot. I am all for more people exploring the outdoors and appreciating nature, but this was a bit much near the peak of Fall. I was lucky to quickly find a parking spot when I got there, but it took almost 15 minutes to get out of my spot when I left, as there was a gridlock of cars waiting to park getting in the way of cars waiting to get out. It was a mess. The waterfalls were so pretty though, I hardly even minded the madness. This is definitely a photographers waterfall, rather than a hikers waterfall. Don't go with the expectations of isolating yourself in nature, as this is not the waterfall for that.

Touristy Yet Spectacular

The short walk (all paved) makes this a popular pull over for visitors so it may be crowded with large groups/families. We went in March and the surrounding area was completely iced over so we couldn't walk underneath the falls however the view from walkway is still superb. We hiked the Rabun Bald trek in the am, this was an easy 2nd hike of the day. If you are up for a beer afterwards take the short drive into Franklin and check out Lazy Hiker Brewco


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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