Bearwallow Falls via Bearwallow Valley Trail

Bearwallow Falls via Bearwallow Valley Trail

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Gorges State Park

Bearwallow Falls via Bearwallow Valley Trail is a 1.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Toxaway, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length1.9 miElevation gain465 ftRoute typeOut & back
Kid friendlyWalkingDog friendlyForestViewsWaterfallWildlife
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Getting There
Gorges State Park is one of North Carolina's newest state parks, and the property was recently purchased by the state from Duke Energy Corporation. The transaction created a 2,900-acre gameland managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and a 7,100-acre state park with plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unique species in the eastern United States. The hike to Bearwallow Falls is easy and terminates at a large viewing platform that overlooks Bearwallow Creek.
Gorges State Park, (828) 966-9099
PARKING: (NC 281) - Gorges State Park is located in Transylvania County and joins the North Carolina/South Carolina state line. The park is approximately 45 miles southwest of Asheville, and the interim park office is located in the same building as the Sapphire Post Office on US 64, just east of NC 281 South. From Atlanta, we took I-85 to SC 11 and followed it for 32.1 miles to SC 130. From there, turn left onto SC 130 and follow it for 10.3 miles. SC 130 crosses the South Carolina/North Carolina state line and becomes NC 281 near Whitewater Falls. At the border continue another 8.3 miles to the parking area on NC 281. You will turn right into a gravel parking area (which is currently a temporary lot.) The Gorges State Park trailhead is located just off NC 281, but a permanent facility is under construction (and may be complete upon your arrival.) The temporary parking area is marked with trail signs, and has portable toilets and a picnic area. The ranger t
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Reviews (136)
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136 Reviews
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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 4, 2021
Hiking

Mostly downhill from the visitors center. The overlook deck was nice except for the power lines. Continued al the way down to the Bear Wallow Falls. Pretty falls. Tight overlook area. The trek back to the visitors center was all uphill. Good workout but not a repeat hike for us.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2021
Hiking

Beautiful trail with a scenic overlook on route to the falls, although impeded by some power lines and towers. Easy hike on the way down. Challenging on the way back. We parked at the visitor center.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 22, 2021
Hiking

Perfect day!

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 19, 2021
Hiking

Easy trail down and a little workout on the way back up- but not bad at all. Waterfall view is pretty, but not spectacular. Also nice Mountain View’s before the waterfall, tho they are obstructed by Duke Energy towers.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 5, 2021
Walking

Super easy. Down Hill all the way there and up hill all the way back. Just like you expect for a waterfall trail. The view is great. So many beautiful mountain laurel blooming today.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 5, 2021
HikingGreat!

Well maintained. Clearly marked. Good parking. Nice view at the end. Definitely a good experience. Although dog-friendly, much of the trail is gravel, which can be hard on the paws of smaller dogs.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 30, 2021
HikingGreat!

Great Conditions , wish you could walk up closer to the falls - be prepared for a long walk uphill back

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 30, 2021
HikingGreat!

Nice downhill hill hike there and uphill hike back, works up a sweat! Overlook is a nice view.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarDecember 12, 2020
Hiking

Hike starts at visitors center and makes its way down to Bearwallow Falls. While some of the fauna may be interesting, the sight of the waterfall is underwhelming. Average hike but fine to do if want to tack on an extra hike while in Gorges.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 6, 2020
Hiking

If my over-weight basset hound can do it, anyone can. Great family hike.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2020
Hiking

Easy hike but beware of roots on the trail. Pretty fall colors.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 18, 2020
Hiking

well marked and great facilities. view was nothing spectacular but if you need a quick, easy hike this is a good one!

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2020
Hiking

Nice dry, easy trail.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2020
Hiking

Great

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 29, 2020
Hiking

Good short hike. Good exercise.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 26, 2020
Hiking

Trail was beautiful and not crowded. Very much a downhill trip in and and a uphill trip out. Ends at a pretty observation deck of the falls.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 5, 2020
Hiking

Decently strenuous but not too long. Pretty scenery and much vegetational variety.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 9, 2020
Hiking

Nice , dry and well maintained trail. Not busy on a week day.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 24, 2020

follow signs that say BearWallow picnic (red trail) the to bearwallow shelter (red/white trail) then to bear wallow trail (blue). I almost took the observation trail back around. I started behind the main office which I got almost a mile. tge trail is downhill to the falls but uphill on the way back. there are benches strategically maked for that reason. this trail has observation deck overlooking the powerlines going into the valley. mostly shaded...the first 1/3 is full sun.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 27, 2019
Hiking

Good trail down. Approximately 1 mile to the overlook of the falls. The falls are pretty far away so don't think you are putting your feet in the water or gonna cool off. Nice little warm up.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2019
Hiking

For an easy hike, simply stop when you arrive at the viewing platform. We have done this hike a few times in April before new foliage obscures any view from platform. As any often used trails, if it is wet it is slippery due to many roots on the trail.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2019
Hiking

The platform view of the upper falls is ok, but if you feel like an adventure, the scramble down the right side of the platform will take you to the lower portion of the falls which is pretty awesome. Exercise caution! Video of Upper & Lower Falls: https://youtu.be/D1M9wEp3xO8

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 3, 2019
Hiking

Took a 2.5 and 5 year old, they did great. Good hike for younger kids, very short. Pretty waterfall at the end.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 23, 2019
Hiking

To get close to the base of the falls you have to follow the steep unmarked “trail” to the right of the viewing platform. Very steep and very overgrown in some places but is well worth the view from the bottom. Otherwise, it is still a beautiful walk in the woods on a very well marked trail to a nice viewing platform.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 28, 2019

not a hard hike at all. nice overlook. you can't get near the falls.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 2, 2019
Hiking

Hike to Bearwallow Falls in Gorges State Park from the Visitor Center.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 8, 2018

Marginal at best.......not the greatest or the most beautiful falls but easy for all family members to accomplish. The trail is marked well.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 21, 2018
Hiking

The reason I only gave this hike 3 stars is because I enjoy being close to the waterfalls instead of seeing them far away.. It’s not a long hike but it is downhill the whole way and then you have to hike back up. I wouldn’t do this one again.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 12, 2018
Hiking

We opted to get include the additional 1 mile from Visitors Center. It’s all downhill going there which means it’s all uphill coming back! Strenuous but good workout! Waterfall is viewed from a platform off in the distance.

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Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 27, 2018
Hiking

Out-and-back past Bearwallow Valley Overlook to Bearwallow Falls viewing platform. Overlook offers a nice south-facing vista featuring Lakes Jocasee and Keowee, but as others have said power lines do mar the view. I also agree with previous reviews that Bearwallow Falls is not as scenic as the park's other waterfalls, but it is still a worthy destination. Also, starting at the Bearwallow Picnic Area shortens the hike to the falls to only 0.4 switchbacking miles. Overall, not the park's best trail, but still a nice hike.

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