7 Best North Carolina Waterfalls

7 Best North Carolina Waterfalls | Always A Foreigner

Caren and Cazzie

Hi, We're Caren and Cazzie and we're Always A Foreigner. Welcome to our travel blog! We hope you find it useful. We love waterfalls, street eats, and anything to do with travel and adventure. We met while volunteering in India, and since then have made it our goal to travel to as many places as we can. Join us on our journey!

Enter your email address to receive updates and newsletters from the blog directly to your email!

7 Best North Carolina Waterfalls

Western North Carolina can also be described as the “Land of Waterfalls,” due to the 250+ waterfalls that grace it’s landscape. We’re huge waterfall chasers, and we spend most of our free time plotting our next waterfall adventure. Lucky for us, there’s plenty to choose from. Here’s a list of the 7 best North Carolina waterfalls.

 

1. Looking Glass Falls

This easily accessible waterfall is located in the Pisgah National Forest outside of Brevard. And by easily accessible,  it’s right off the side off the road! This makes it the perfect place for picnics, families, and summer time hanging out. The summer in the south can get hot, so cool off with a swim in the waterfall’s splash pool. It can get crowded, but there are plenty of waterfalls in the area that require a hike if you prefer less people.

2. Crabtree Falls

This wonderful waterfall requires a bit of a hike, but is worth the effort. The hike is not too strenuous or long, but can be turned into a loop to add about 1.5 miles onto it. The trail meanders its way downhill through a wonderful forest until reaching the waterfall base, at which you can continue across the base on the bridge for the loop trail. I personally love the way the water looks cascading down the rock wall, as it isn’t a full steady stream but rather breaks into many tiny streams due to the uneven rock face before meeting again at the base. The trail head can be found off the Blue Ridge Parkway, 41 miles north of Asheville. This is truly one of the best North Carolina waterfalls, and it’s proximity to Asheville makes it easy to get to.

3. Linville Falls

Linville Falls is maybe one of the best known in the area, and is a great day trip from many different areas in the state. Better yet, after the hike the gorgeous Linville Falls Winery is a 5 minute drive away. Linville Falls has a couple of different options for hiking, and there’s about 4-4.5 miles of trail in the park. There’s five different view of the falls: the top of the falls, the base of the falls, two upper views of the falls, and view of the plunge basin on the opposite side of the base trail. Watch out for Parkway closures which will make getting to the falls difficult, but head to the National Forest Parking Area in the event the Visitor Center lot is closed. Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 316.4, it’s an easy drive from Asheville, or Morganton.

4. Mingo Falls

This waterfall is similar in look to Crabtree, but is a little bit of a trip to get to from most major cities. Located on the Cherokee preservation and a 15 minute drive from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s a wonderful addition to any trip to the area. The trail is well maintained and there are actual stairs to climb the entire time rather than raw trail. After a quick 10 minute hike you reach a wooden platform at the base of the waterfall. The area that the waterfall is in is owned by the Cherokee Native Americans, so if you’re looking for activities before or after your trip to the waterfall, there is a museum, tourist shops, or a massive casino nearby. And then there’s the obvious one, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park which has free admission 100% of the time.

Sadly I don’t have a picture of this one, because it was pouring rain and we decided to sprint from the car to the lookout.

5. High Shoals Falls

This is a personal favorite of Cazzie and I’s, mostly because we live 25 minutes from the South Mountain State Park where the falls are located. The entire park is very well maintained and the High Shoals Falls hike is extremely well built and preserved. There are stairs that will take you up the steep sections, but the climb can get intense due to the steady increase of the trail. There will be a set of mini falls before you reach the actual waterfall, but these are gorgeous as well. Once you reach the falls, there’s a wooden viewing platform and swimming is not allowed. Continue up the stairs just a little farther to get to the loop or more trails.

South Mountain suffered from some pretty severe forest fires last fall, and effects of these fires can be seen in the forested areas of some trails, with some trails still being closed. Just a friendly reminder to always put out your campfires. 🙂

 

6. North Harper Creek Falls

Located in Wilson’s Creek of the Pisgah National Forest Grandfather Ranger District, this waterfall requires an easy 1.2 mile hike to the falls. The hike is a beautiful representation of Pisgah, with rhododendron forming arching walkways and the sun peeking through the dense forests. The trails in Wilson’s creek can be combined to make a much longer hike, a back country camping trip, or simply just a day full of waterfall chasing. There are at least 7 waterfalls located in Wilson’s Creek area, so exploring here will definitely keep anyone entertained. If you would like more information about Wilson’s Creek area, check out our adventures here.

7. Catawba Upper/Lower Falls

Another short but sweet hike will lead you to the Lower Catawba Falls. This waterfall is best enjoyed after a nice rain because the water will be flowing and everything will be lush. The hike is mostly level but climbs in elevation as you lead up to the lower falls. You’ll have to scramble up some fallen rocks in the path as well! To get to the Upper Falls, it’ll be quite the trek up hill. Be extremely careful, most of the rocks are covered in moss and are very slippery!

best north carolina waterfalls

 

DISCLAIMER: We haven’t been to every waterfall that’s out there. We will update this list as we see fit! There’s still so much exploring to do, and we are still working our way through the state. If you want more waterfall information, Romantic Asheville has an amazing collection!

Written by

9 Comments

Tell Us What You Think!

Follow Us!
  • Thanksgiving week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It's the time of year that everyone stops, takes a look around, and remembers what they have to be thankful for in life. 
It can be easy to forget those things throughout the hustle and stresses of every day life...but this week it's easy to remember. 
I'm thankful for so many things. I'm thankful for these mountains, and even more so for Cazzie, who is willing to drop everything every weekend to explore them with me. I'm thankful for friends and family, and for the kilbasa and sauerkraut that will be in abundance at my family's Thanksgiving feast. And last but not least, I'm thankful that we live in a crazy beautiful world. 
Even though thanksgiving isn't until Thursday, I think it's important to drag this feeling of thankfulness out as long as possible...because who ever said a little bit of joy inserted into our daily lives was a bad thing? .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#ashevilletrails #asheville #gooutside #optoutside #trailful #dronestagram #artofvisuals #aerialphotography #dronephotography #dronesdaily #hiking #hikingadventures #visitasheville #wildernessculture #howiaccess #liveoutdoors #liveauthentic #welivetoexplore #exploretocreate #beautifulplaces #travelgram #roamtheplanet #explorer #wildernessbabes #mountains #mountainscape #natureaddict #naturelovers #djimavicpro #droneoftheday
  • Summit tea time ☕️ .
•
If anyone is curious about the Looking Glass Rock hike, check out the link in my bio! .
.
.
.
.
.
#mountains #gooutside #takeahike #hiking #summit #northcarolina #ashevilletrails #pisgahnationalforest #optoutside #mountaintop #mountaingirls #womenwhohike #howiaccess #theview #natureaddict #naturelovers #blueridgemountains #hikingadventures #stayandwander #wildernessculture #wildernessbabes #cutecouple #adventurecouple #hikers #travelawesome #liveoutdoors #outdoorslife #mountainlife #hike #backcountry
  • I have absolutely no idea what made me book a flight to India. I didn't know one thing about the country. 
But without that flight, I never would have known Cazzie. And without Cazzie, I might never have been sitting in these mountains. 
So whatever that reason was....I'm beyond glad it happened. .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#liveauthentic #optoutside #sheisnotlost #andshesdopetoo #gooutside #gooutsideandplay #letsgooutside #wildernessbabes #mountaingirls #mountainscape #asheville #ashevilletrails #howiaccess #roamtheplanet #nomad #nomadlife #girlswhohike #hikingadventures #wildernessculture #wnc #blueridgemoments #blueridgemountains #womenwhohike #likeamountaingirl #beautifulplaces #wildernessculture #liveoutdoors #forceofnature #werehikers #allaboutadventures #keepitwild
  • Hanging on to that last little bit of fall 🍂 .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#liveauthentic #fallcolors #waterfallwednesday #autumn #waterfall #waterfalls #asheville #ashevilletrails #trailful #brevard #ourwild #gooutside #optoutside #wildernessculture #wilderness #wildandfree #wanderlust #explorer #liveintrepid #adventurethatislife #artofvisuals #travellife #placesaroundearth #chasingwaterfalls #meetthemoment #exploreeverything #pisgah #wnc #appalachianmountains #blueridgemountains
  • I'm not sure how we became hikers. Slowly, we went from casual encounters with mountains to spending all our free time planning the next outdoor excursion. 
The thing that's great about hiking is the amount of opportunity it holds. We're consumed every day by planning dream trips to Canada's Rockies...or Utah's canyons...or the Pacific Northwest's Cascades....or really anywhere with a beautiful landscape. 
And even with being in North Carolina for over a year, we've barely touched the tip of the iceberg on what this state alone holds. 
It's exciting to think about. Being in a world as big and as beautiful as ours. There's never going to be that moment when we stop and say "wow, we really have seen it all." I have a funny feeling we won't ever stop trying though.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#hiking #mountain #mountains #mountainman #hike #hikemore #optoutside #gooutside #getoutstayout #stayandwander #ashevilletrails #asheville #wildernessculture #travelawesome #takeahike #mountaintop #mountainscape #howiaccess #blueridgemountains #blueridgemoments #roamtheplanet #trailful #skyporn  #northcarolina #pisgahnationalforest #trailtuesday #liveoutdoors #liveauthentic #livethelife #thegreatoutdoors
  • When we first met, one of our first things that we did together was hike to a waterfall in India. 
It wasn't a date or anything like that, seeing as how there were 6 other people with us at the time. But ever since that first waterfall, it's been a thing of ours. 
When we first moved to North Carolina, I was feeling homesick and Cazzie took me to Linville Falls to cheer me up. I think he was trying to prove to me that North Carolina wasn't all that bad...and it worked. It's safe to say that was the start of my love affair with this state. 
This last weekend, we saw this waterfall off the side of a road and pulled over immediately to explore. 
It was raining, we were tired from camping for 2 nights, and it was cold. But even still, we ran up the trail excited. 
There's a lot of reasons North Carolina is fantastic...but roadside waterfalls are pretty dang hard to beat. .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#ashevilletrails #ashevillenc #pisgahnationalforest #optoutside #liveauthentic #gooutside #getoutstayout #adventurethatislife #thegreatoutdoors #waterfall #waterfalls #visitnc #wnc #trailful #liveoutdoors #hiking #hikemore #andshesdopetoo #likeamountaingirl #hikingadventures #outdooradventurephotos #outdoorslife #hikenc #exploretocreate #explorer #roamtheplanet #roamearth  #nature #natureaddict #gopro