High Shoals Falls Loop Trail

MODERATE 158 reviews

High Shoals Falls Loop Trail is a 2.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Connellys Springs, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
2.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
557 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Wonderful creek, 80 ft waterfall, mountain vista, nice woodland walk This is probably the most popular hike at South Mountains State Park. Hike during the week to avoid the crowds. First, pick up a trail map from the ranger station. Follow either the Hemlock or HQ trail away from the parking area and upstream. After about half a mile you will see signs for High Shoals Falls. Approximately one mile from the parking area and after climbing a lot of stairs you will reach the veiwing platform for the falls. Continue ascending stairs to the top of the falls. Be sure and stay on the marked trail. There have been several deaths here. Continue following the trail until it intersects with Upper Falls Trail. Turn right on Upper Falls. After ascending a moderate grade look for an opening to the left. Here you will have nice views to the South. Continue on Upper Falls Trail until you come to a junction with HQ trail. Turn right on HQ trail and descend to Shinny Creek campsites. Follow HQ trail back to the Jacob Fork Parking Area.

hiking
8 days ago

Great trail, beautiful waterfall, stairs were a little tough, only downside really was the amount of people—a LOT

hiking
15 days ago

One of our favorite hikes. It starts out from the paved parking area and moves right before the main bridge over the river. The path begins super easy as a flat path with fine, loose aggregate along the river with tons of paths to the water as well as a few slightly hidden viewing decks over the water (we saw a beautiful doe and fawn in the river from one of these overlooks yesterday). At one point the trail forks - stay left to stick to the river. It starts getting a little more difficult as you progress with rocks, tree roots and stone steps. There’s an area where it might be difficult for some - a rock slide from Hurricane Hugo in the late 80’s brought down slabs of granite and you have to traverse it to continue. Don’t worry! It’s not terrible. Just keep it in mind as it could be slick with the wrong shoes. As you get to the areas where you are getting closer to the falls you’ll cross the river on wooden bridges and almost all steep wooden steps or box steps filled with soil, to the falls and upper falls. Take it slow if you have bad knees because the hike is so worth it at the top. At the top of the falls you can come back the way you came if you want to stick to the river or continue on the loop back to the fork in the trail. The loop portion is all forest and fairly smooth hiking but it is uphill a good bit. The downhill is much appreciated. At one point there’s a natural spring trickling down beside the path. The only water you’ll see along that part. You’ll end back at the fork where you originally stayed left. The treck back to the parking lot is back on the same flat, fine aggregate path along the river. Enjoy this hike and take tons of pictures. It’s beautiful!

hiking
27 days ago

Depending on the way you decide to go on the loop from the crossroads go left for a strenuous stair case going up right beside the whole water fall or go right to climb 3/4 foot high natural staircases. it's a good hike bring plenty of water and be prepared to get exhausted. when you reach the top of the falls you are met with a stunning view of the falls.

hiking
1 month ago

Wonderful view and well kept trails

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful waterfall and worth the hike up to see it! Gives your legs a hard workout.

2 months ago

Glorified Crowders Mountain.

3 months ago

Park has this listed as strenuous, but found it to be a nice little loop. flat wide level trails, but yes there are 80-90 steps. Wooden steps with handrails and multiple platforms with benches to stop and enjoy the views. take the learning trail along the river for the views and wildlife instead of going straight out the road.

hiking
3 months ago

Best trail in the park.

3 months ago

I took my 8 year daughter on this adventure. We had a great time and very minimal complaining from her. She was scared when we got to Hugo Rockslide, but the majestic view of the fall made up for it. We got a little winded in some places but overall very fun. We didn't take our dog, but plenty of areas for dogs to get some water and placed to dispose trash and dog poo. Parking area was nice and had a couple picnic areas throughout. I believe I spotted a couple grills, so next time we might grill out instead of bringing sandwiches.

5 months ago

great safe trail even in the rain

hiking
6 months ago

Loved this trail. Many things to see and take in. I cannot wait to plan more trips to the other trails around.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike. Some of the waters along the falls and creek were still frozen which made it quite beautiful. Started at 9am and only saw a couple other hikers. Very quiet and peaceful.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful in the snow!

hiking
7 months ago

Moderate. Probably about 150 steps to reach the waterfall. Good views of the river and surrounding mountainside. Climbed over the fence at the top of the waterfall.

hiking
8 months ago

Did this hike today, a few days after the first snow. It was my first snow hike and it was the most beautiful experience. Even though the first snow was about 3 days ago, it all looked fresh and it was such a treat. The trail itself was not bad... even with the ice and snow. It was a quite slippery with the ice.... so if you are going during winter, make sure you have hiking boots.
The waterfalls were beautiful and it wasn't too busy.

10 months ago

this is great hiking trail! I'm from San Diego, Ca. I'm on vacation and staying in Charlotte. This is excalty what I wanted out of hiking experience being in North Carolina. the only hard part was the walking up the stairs but thats about 15 to 20 minuted of walking up the stairs. take a break and take in the beautiful views. no rush on the stairs!

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful hike. Lots of rocks for kids, and adults to hop around on!

11 months ago

Awesome place to spend the day.

hiking
Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Nice easy hike to overlook of falls. After that the assent on stairs to the top of the falls and again on the backside trail is tough. I would rate as high moderate in difficulty. Most likely the falls side will be crowded.

hiking
Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Pretty sure the park map rates this one as strenuous instead of moderate, but nonetheless it was a great hike and the falls was very rewarding!

hiking
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I came to North Carolina to visit my uncle. He took me hiking on High Shoals Falls Loop this morning. It was great! Not too long of a hike but will leave you feeling like you've hiked half a day. Everyone we passed on the trails were really friendly. The trails are clearly marked and the majority of the trail was cool and shaded. This is definitely one of my favorite trails I've hiked!

hiking
Monday, July 17, 2017

Great hike! We did the High Shoals Loop and camped at the Upper Falls campground..strenuous backpacking up, but worth the effort. Enjoy!

hiking
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The morning started off with thick fog, but we saved the falls for the end of the hike. By the time we had added the Chestnut Knob, Horseridge, Possum, Shinny and HQ sections, the fog lifted enough to give us a great view of this impressive falls. The air is misty down through the ravine, and there is a cool cave right next to the falls. The highlight of South Mountains, High Shoals can get pretty crowded, but well worth a hike. If you want to get away from the crowds, do some of the other trails which take you to high knobs or across stream crossings. Enjoy!

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

This is a scenic hike with pretty river views, many cascades and of course the 80 foot waterfall that most everyone comes to see. It was flowing fast on a recent visit in early June. The trail makes you work some to climb up through the cascades and falls (lots of steps), continuing with a more moderate rise in elevation until the loop splits with the Upper Falls Trail. I will definitely be back to enjoy it with the rest of the family at some point.

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

Beautiful and fun hike! Amazing views and multiple spots for waterfall swimming! Would definitely recommend

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

Beautiful and fun hike! Amazing views and multiple spots for waterfall swimming! Would definitely recommend

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

Beautiful and fun hike! Amazing views and multiple spots for waterfall swimming! Would definitely recommend

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

Beautiful and fun hike! Amazing views and multiple spots for waterfall swimming! Would definitely recommend

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

Beautiful and fun hike! Amazing views and multiple spots for waterfall swimming! Would definitely recommend

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

Beautiful and fun hike! Amazing views and multiple spots for waterfall swimming! Would definitely recommend

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