High Shoals Falls Loop Trail

MODERATE 68 reviews

High Shoals Falls Loop Trail is a 4.1 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.

DISTANCE
4.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
994 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

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
1 hour ago

One of my all time favorites! The falls are beautiful and this particular trail, whether you choose to head to the top or just do the loop, is wonderful. I personally prefer taking on the steps first for a bit more of an uphill workout.

hiking
7 days ago

We took the smaller 2.7 mile loop in the morning, it was a great hike. There is a bit of walking across rocks so if your balance is unstable you may want to grab a walking stick or trekking poles. The stairs can get steep but most of the way has a railing and there are plenty of benches or spots to stop for a rest. Little dogs might need a lift to get up or down some stairs.
It's an educational trail with a lot of signs about the types of rocks and different Flora and fauna on the mountain. The Visitor Center is nice and has a little educational exhibit too.

Overall it's a very pretty hike, with plenty of areas to relax and have lunch by the creek. I would say it's easier than the main trails at Crowder's Mountain as well.

8 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Great trail for the family. My six year old did great on the stairs. Nice falls and places to get in the water along the way. We did the 2.7 mile loop.

16 days ago

Good for young kids that are sure footed. Some good places to stop and give their short legs a break.

17 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

With the recent rain, the falls were roaring and absolutely gorgeous! The platform at the base is the perfect spot to take it in, as well as to catch your breath from the short but nice workout hiking up through the cascades. Be sure to include the easy Hemlock Nature Trail either at the beginning or the end of the loop for the interpretive signs and pretty views of the river.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! Pretty easy until you get to the falls, where the stairs take you up the rest of the way. Great nature walk for the whole family with streams, wildlife, and plenty of shade from the trees. I didn't do the whole loop, just to the falls and back, but it's still a good workout. The falls were very nice!

hiking
1 month ago

it was cool day but great for a hike up to the falls.

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

walking
2 months ago

Great workout and pretty views

hiking
2 months ago

The trail has several steps leading to an overlook and I accessed it via the Hemlock Nature Trail. I kept going up and crossed the river and made a left away from the parking lot. I then got on the Upper Falls Trail that led me back to the river, which I crossed on a tree over the water. Then I came to another intersection where I made a right on the Raven Rock Trail. I then came to the a fork in the trail and I took the left which was the Saddleback Trail. This took me back to the road where I made a left and then crossed the road onto the Turkey Ridge Trail. I then took the Little River Trail that led me back to the parking lot. Overall I managed to hike 9.29 miles according to the Fitbit.
As you can tell, I hiked all of over the place. The trails are really well-kept even if you share most of them with horses. You can tell that they take pride in keeping everything, including trails and bathrooms, in great condition. There are not lots of blazes on the trails but there are enough to keep you abreast as to which trail you are on. I recommend getting a map at the visitor's center, or better yet, print one off of their website so you can see the color of the blazes. I give the park a 5 star rating but I cannot give the views a high rating.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice 4.9mi. Loop. I went right after a heavy rain so the falls were really roaring. The hike to the to of the falls was strenuous with all the steps but well worth it. After crossing the creek at the very top the walk back to the parking area was mostly uninspiring roadbed, so next time I'll just do an out and back to the top of the falls.

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago