Rainbow Falls Trail

MODERATE 64 reviews
#2 of 60 trails in

Rainbow Falls Trail is a 4.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Toxaway, NC 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.

4.1 miles 890 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

hiking

mountain biking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

no dogs

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.

hiking
4 days ago

Very clean and well-marked trail. The falls are gorgeous.

13 days ago

One of the best falls I've seen!

hiking
19 days ago

The trail was clean and marked well. Moderate is probably accurate. The falls at the end are well worth the journey.

hiking
1 month ago

Incredible views from the top and bottom of the falls (during summer and fall)! Perfect afternoon hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Challenging trail to a very beautiful falls.

hiking
1 month ago

I took my husband (who doesn't hike much) and it was the perfect distance and terrain. Great place to take a picnic!

1 month ago

Beautiful waterfalls. We let the dogs play in the river and they loved it! Saw some people setting up camp near the river . . . what a great idea! the hike itself is not bad at all. Saw lots children and people of all ages on the trail. Bring you swim gear if it's warm enough!

1 month ago

Awesome hike. Interesting trail down to a great view of the waterfall. Not hard to walk down to the river and walk along the boulders.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful hike. The falls were gorgeous and it was a really good workout. A must do!

2 months ago

Easy access, well kept and well marked trail that actually starts in Gorges State Park.... easy hike for kids and adults alike with a beautiful waterfall at the end! Well worth the effort!

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is great for tourists.. I recommend bringing some h20 and maybe some snacks if it's a warm day. This trail is a very high traffic trail,although it states otherwise on the trail description. The waterfall is well worth it,also past the waterfall ,is Turtleback Falls which is great for those who want to plunge in to the ice cold water while sliding off a giant rock. If you love waterfalls,this is a great place to be.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful fall and easy short trail. Definitely recommend. Just be careful with little one on the top of the falls.

hiking
3 months ago

Bring lots of water! The hike is a little hard if you aren't in tip-top shape, but well worth it! Slide down turtleback falls first and on the way back hit rainbow falls for swimming and jumping from the rock wall!

hiking
3 months ago

Rainbow falls is beautiful. Simple as that. The hike can be very steep in places and many were stopped long the way. Need to be in decent shape to handle the 700 or so feet of elevation change. When you come down from parking and go towards rainbow falls, you actually leave the park. Along the path are several free camp sites. Just after the rainbow falls is turtleback falls. This is where you slide down a natural rock( turtleback) and drop about 10 feet into the water. Very refreshing and a lot of fun. Many people spend all day here. About 3 miles in and 3 miles out. Incredible beautiful scenery. Absolutely loved it. Went off the falls for about 4 hours non stop. So much fun.

3 months ago

Great out and back hike! Definitely will do it again!

3 months ago

Great trail. There's a sliding rock you can slide down and a jumping rock after you get pass the beautiful waterfall and a few spots where you can swim with the water being as deep at 10 feet.

3 months ago

Pretty views, not too challenging. You can see the waterfall from several angles. Fun hike

3 months ago

Amazing hike. Moderate hike, to great waterfalls. Raging when we where there.

4 months ago

Aboustely gorgeous waterfall, hike to the waterfall is moderate, if you love waterfalls definitely a must see