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Awesome day hiking Rainbow Falls and Turtle Back today. Very cold temp dropping down to below 20 degrees; however, we managed to get some good shot(s) of the falls as well as the rainbow! Good times.

Huge waterfall, the largest East of the Rockies. Easy paved path to the falls top viewing and then nice stairs to the lower viewing deck . Not really a hike. It was very popular with children and families today. I only went down to the lower viewing deck bc you can’t see the falls if you go any further.

Beautiful trail. Many streams and small waterfalls along with the large waterfall at the end. It is a hard ascent but it isn't technical- all trails have stairs or bridges when needed. Get there early for parking. Lots of people and dogs were out enjoying the day even on a cold winter day.

The trail is relatively short and not too challenging, and has a lot of great views of the waterfall, which was much bigger in person than I expected. Be sure to keep an eye out for trail offshoots that lead closer to the falls for even better views (we found one that put us literally right next to it).

off trail
1 day ago

This trail is not lightly trafficked nor would I rate it easy. I would say it’s more heavily trafficked and moderate. Well worth the hike down though!

1 day ago

Strenuous hike with an excellent pay off!

Great hike. Road in good condition. Chattooga River was super high, waterfall was raging. Uphill basically the entire way back to the car but totally worth it. Nice well-maintained trail.

Due to the Government shutdown, we had to park on 215 and walk a mile on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the trail head. This was a blessing (to be explained later). As explained by others, the trail is paved. The view is amazing. Being January we had the place to ourselves. On the way back we took the trail leading to the Mountain to Sea Trail. This was the blessing. The MST back to 215 was great going through various forest, by a few creeks and is mostly downhill. I highly recommend this route. Total time was approximately 3 hours.

3 days ago

It’s a hard hike but it’s so beautiful! Just show how early cause there is normally a hour wait time just to get into the park.

Lots of switchbacks but still pretty steep. Fairly difficult but the view is worth it.

4 days ago

Pretty winter hike. Trees and shrubs at higher elevations were dusted with ice crystals. As others have said, the trail is quite steep and rocky for a little over two miles. After the turn to the Pinnacle the trail gets much easier and your legs get a nice break. Great views at the Pinnacle - be sure to follow the small trail through the underbrush to reach the Pinnacle at the very end. I had a Raven circling right over my head at the top, calling. The steep downhill on the way back takes a toll on your legs. I’d recommend extending trekking poles on the way back. If you’re finishing in the dark, like I did, be sure and take a headlamp. The rocks on the trail look like they’d make great ankle-turners.

4 days ago

This was a tough trail due to the incline going up. Lots of nice openings where you catch a glimpse of small town Sylva. Once you get to the “top” where you break off and go toward the pinnacle (1.4miles I believe) it’s cake. Every drop of sweat was worth it when you walk out of the clearing for the view. It was amazing. Brought my jet boil and had some lunch and tea and made my way down. It was cold (35) but that was nice while hiking up. Definitely doing it again in the spring!

I usually do this loop with the Dismal climb at the end. I take my 45lb dog and he loves it. Yes, I have to help him up and down the ladders, but it’s worth it to have him with me. We’ve never had any major trouble. It’s a great workout with a variety of scenery, suspension bridge, & plenty of technical aspects to keep it interesting. Don’t forget to take the spur on Raven Cliff trail to the overlook at the end. It’s cool to see where you just were.

good for kids would be great in summer

I did this trail in January. It was 7 miles for me. The National Forest Road was closed (because of the shutdown I guess) so I parked off of 215 and hiked up the park road. It was a nice hike and beautiful out so I’m actually glad I couldn’t drive it. There are some inclines near the end, if you hike the road but they aren’t bad. Bring water and snacks and spend some time at the falls before you head back if you do the 7 miles. If you do drive, the road is well maintained. I don’t think there is any reason a standard car couldn’t get up the road, maybe if there was snow perhaps it would be harder. There were lots of limbs in the road when I went however. The falls were a little harder to find. The guy below who mentions the trailhead after the 4th bridge is correct. It’s harder to miss if you’re hiking, but if you’re driving, keep an eye out for the 4th bridge. The app gave me directions down to the falls which was super steep and didn’t look safe. It appears there are a few ways down to the falls people have attempted from the trails they have left. The safest way, continue on the trail, following the red marks on the trees. At the tree with the 2 red painted marks (they look like a pause button) there is a small trail to the left that leads you down to the falls, over an old, worn, short wooden boardwalk that leads to the steps people have mentioned. I didn’t think it was steep at all but I hike often. I attempted one of the other ways down I saw initially, but abandoned it bc it was way too steep to do alone. The trail by the red marks is way safer and obviously the way I was supposed to go. You’re going to see the falls and think it’s time to descend but keep going just a little farther until you see the red marks and go down and backtrack just a little to the falls. The falls are gorgeous! Also, I met a couple of other hikers who had come across a few harmless snakes on their hike in through the Cove trail. Yes, snakes in January.

I did this trail in December and mostly had it to myself on a rare sunny day in the middle of the week. The falls are huge and breathtaking. The trail is well maintained with some small inclines. There was a little ice on the inclines when I went which made it a little slippery in spots but not bad. The stairs down to the falls are worth the effort. A good short little hike and workout.

I did this little trail in December before the snowstorm forced its closure. It’s a nice, easy trail and great place to enjoy the fresh air and just get outside. The boardwalks would make a great scene for a photo shoot in the fall. There were remnants of fall color when I went and I bet it’s stunning in the peak of fall. The falls are small and several people have attempted to climb them and fallen off and died...

I took this little trail in December. I had it all to myself. It’s a nice little waterfall and peaceful place to be outside. Good for families with children.

I had this little gem all to myself one sunny January day in the middle of the week. Jill F below gives a perfect explanation on how to find the trail. It’s not very clear from the parking lot or even the trailhead map. Her directions are right on. I do consider this an easy hike. I’m not sure why people think the end was harder. I will post pics of the trail and which way to go for people curious. The falls were beautiful and peaceful, especially having them all to myself.

Great hike. You will cross streams to wear waterproof shoes

9 days ago

Not strenuous at all, but a nice wide, relatively flat walk along the riverside with smaller falls appearing first and then a beautiful high set of falls at the end of mile. Take your mom.

9 days ago

Nice walk. It is a steady,gentle, uphill walk up to Sunset Rock. There were some icy patches on the road up so use caution in the winter. Pretty view of nearby mountains and the town below.

Beautiful trail with amazing sites

It was a bit rainy when we went but that just made the waterfall look even more spectacular. Great view of Rainbow Falls, didn't go all the way to Turtleback because we had the dogs with us and they weren't really behaving well that day but would love to go back!

11 days ago

Great trail with a beautiful waterfall at the end.

A fun hike. A bit muddy but we enjoyed it. Kids did better than myself who slipped a few times. There's a small river to go through...seemed a lot didn't realize this. Wear proper hiking shoes or an extra set.

Waterfall was really nice and tucked away. A bit crowded for a few moments. Overall a cool hike.

nice hike , be prepared to pay entry fee to State Park

Beautiful waterfall! Highly recommend!

It was an easy hike to a beautiful waterfall! We took our 7 year old here for his first hike and now he’s extremely excited to do it again! We did go after it rained and the ground was pretty wet.

Worth the visit. Very well kept and friendly folks around. Waterfalls are amazing. Would definitely come back for another run.

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