North Carolina Waterfalls: Explore These Hidden Gems

There are hundreds of amazing waterfalls around the world. However, little know, North Carolina is a magnificent state with so much beauty to take in that you don’t have to travel too far to find your next vacation destination. 

From pristine beaches and busy cities to mountaintop views and cabins in the woods, North Carolina has it all. If you are looking for a new and exciting adventure, take a trip to discover the hidden gems of the state – waterfalls. 

North Carolina’s waterfalls and beautiful scenery can sometimes be off the beaten path, so make sure you have the proper know what to do if your car breaks down!

But not all of North Carolina’s waterfalls require a 4WD vehicle to get to them. With over 250 waterfalls in the state, you can plan a hiking day trip or a week-long getaway that the whole family will enjoy. 

Plan your next adventure to include a beautiful trip through the forests of North Carolina. With so many scenic spots to choose from, make it a road trip and pack the camping gear. No need to purchase travel insurance for this trip. Just pack your tent and save money by communing with nature in one of the many spectacular campgrounds located close to some of the water sites.  

Let’s look at a dozen of the best N.C. waterfall destinations to add to your travel itinerary.

Sliding Rock

Located in the Pisgah National Forest, this is a family favorite destination. With an entry fee of $3, Sliding Rock has a 60-foot natural rock slide that ends in a seven-foot deep pool of cool mountain water. 

There are lifeguards on duty at this natural attraction and observation decks for those not daring enough to take the plunge.

Triple Falls

This gem is found in Brevard County. The name tells it all. Triple Falls cascades into three falls. This is a great hiking and picnic destination with other smaller waterfalls along the same path. 

Bridal Veil Falls

Located close to Highlands, North Carolina in the Nantahala National Forest, this unique 60-foot waterfall is the only one that falls over an old roadway that is now a hiking path. Hikers and nature enthusiasts can now stand under the falls safely, as it isn’t a hard rush of cascading water but rather a slow run. 

Glen Falls

Also located near Highlands, North Carolina in the Nantahala National Forest, this triple falls beauty is just a short easy hike away. With three separate falls, you will want to see all three and will find the most beautiful photo opportunities at the two highest falls. 

There are safe observation decks located at the top two falls. You can venture out onto the rocks if the water level is down, but for safety, simply enjoy them from the observation decks. 

Crabtree Falls

It’s about a three-mile round trip hike to Crabtree Falls located on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just north of Asheville, this beauty boasts a 70-foot cascading waterfall surrounded by beautiful hiking paths and scenery that will blow your mind. 

There is a bridge in front of the waterfall that gives great views and a perfect photo-op. There are picnic areas and campgrounds close by whether you want to plan a day, overnight, or weekend trip. 

Grassy Creek Falls

This multi-tiered waterfall is located in Little Switzerland, North Carolina. This two-mile round trip hike is shrouded in quiet serenity. 

Upper Creek Falls

Now this one offers much more than beautiful photos and a hike. Located close to Jonas Ridge in the Pisgah National Forest, Upper Creek Falls offers choices for adventure. 

The loop trail will take you past a few cascades on your way up to the main fall. It does require some occasional trekking through the creeks and rocks unless you choose to just return the way you came down.

Venture off to the swimming hole with a rope swing to cool off in the heat of the summer. There are smaller additional trails leading to great picnic spots.

Tom’s Creek Falls

Here’s one for the non-hikers. This one-mile round trip hike will lead you to this multi-cascading wonder. Tom’s Creek Falls is located in the Pisgah National Forest close to Marion, North Carolina. Enjoy the views safely from the observation deck.

Catawba Falls

Located close to Old Fort in the Pisgah National Forest, this three-mile round trip hike passes several small falls on the way to the main fall. On the way up you will pass by an old dam that is no longer in use. 

The upper falls can be quite dangerous to attempt unless you are a skilled hiker. But the lower falls are just as breathtaking for those who don’t want to attempt the trek to the upper falls.

Looking Glass Falls

This beauty is a favorite among waterfall enthusiasts. Located in Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest, this hidden gem is one of few waterfalls that is visible from the road. This fall is great for people who are unable to hike or climb. 

Cullasaja Falls & Bust Your Butt Falls

Located just nine miles west of Highlands, North Carolina in the beautiful Nantahala National Forest, Cullasaja Falls is located on the side of a narrow highway but has a small pull-off to stop for a better look. There isn’t much room, but the view is gorgeous. 

From there, follow the Cullasaja River to Bust Your Butt Falls. Yes, you read that correctly. Bust Your Butt Falls is a popular watering hole with slippery rock slides and jump off points that plunge you into the deep cool pool of water. There is more parking available at Bust Your Butt than at Cullasaja.

Dry Falls

Nantahala National Forest is home to another popular waterfall, Dry Falls. This wonder of nature cascades over a cliff, giving visitors the opportunity to walk under the cascade of water from the Cullasaja River and still come out dry. 

During the cold months, the water freezes creating breathtaking formations that create an amazing canopy for visitors to walk behind. The large observation deck makes a great place for photos with the family. 

Get Out and Explore the Falls

If you have an adventurous spirit and enjoy backpacking, a journey through waterfall country is the perfect trip. There are dozens of other waterfalls to visit in North Carolina. So plan your next vacation and come enjoy a little nature in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. 

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