Rainbow Falls Trail is a 4.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Toxaway, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This short hike along the Horsepasture River features outstanding views of 4 large waterfalls and good camping. Start the trail by descending on a moderate grade downhill. After about 1/2 mile you can hear the rushing water of Turtleback Falls, before proceeding to this waterfall, go right, down a rhododendron enshrouded side trail. This side trail is a 1/4 mile and dead ends at a US Forest Service blockade. This is private property, but the 40 foot Bust-yo-butt Falls (?) can be viewed from this point. Backtrack and continue on to Turtleback Falls and the thundering Rainbow Falls. Turtleback Falls is a great place for a summer swim, Just a few hundred yards down stream is the impressive Rainbow Falls. When viewing the falls from the top, extreme caution should be used, as every year or so, someone is seriously hurt or killed in this area. Continue down the river trail. The trail is not marked, but as long as you keep the river on your right, you're ok. At the 1.25 mile mark is a very nice clearing for tenting. Just downstream is Stair Step Falls. Backtrack back to the parking lot.
Really awesome hike! The drive to Gorges State Park is a little tedious but the hike is super fun and pretty short. Make sure to continue on after Rainbow Falls to turtle falls which is .25 beyond Rainbow. Well worth your time!
Great hike - Beautiful Falls!
Very clean and well-marked trail. The falls are gorgeous.
One of the best falls I've seen!
The trail was clean and marked well. Moderate is probably accurate. The falls at the end are well worth the journey.
Incredible views from the top and bottom of the falls (during summer and fall)! Perfect afternoon hike.
Challenging trail to a very beautiful falls.
I took my husband (who doesn't hike much) and it was the perfect distance and terrain. Great place to take a picnic!