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Otter Falls Trail is a 1.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Banner Elk, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 1.1 miles Elevation Gain: 259 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

waterfall

This trail is moderate/easy and in good condition. You get to view a beautiful waterfall for very little effort. A wonderful trail for all! The sign out front says ""strenuous"" which is incorrect; whoever did the sign has never hiked a strenuous trail.

hiking
2 days ago

We took a bunch of kids with us including a 4 year old and had no issues other than feeling a little old on the way back up . The falls were very pretty and we were able to get in the water and play for a bit. The paths were not marked well at all

hiking
muddy
3 days ago

Really nice hike but directions are very confusing. There is a down tree on part of the trail which makes it really hard to know where you’re going. Overall very nice hike and beautiful waterfall.

hiking
14 days ago

This is a tricky trail! I even took a picture of the map at the trailhead and had a AllTrails pulled up. When you get to the fork and want to go straight to the falls go straight. If you want a longer hike go left or right, but I’m warning you if you go left there are very few trail markers and you could end up on the very treacherous downhill and uphill behind the neighborhood. We realize walking back but if we are taking the metal trail we would’ve ended up right there. But it was amazing exercise! The falls are worth it!

hiking
rocky
14 days ago

16 days ago

Falls are gorgeous, but trails aren't marked very well. Overall, it's well worth a visit!

hiking
17 days ago

Trail itself is not very hard at all, should be rated as easy. It is also not very clearly marked, but if you keep walking and follow the sound of water the falls is easy to find. But the falls is pretty cool so definitely would recommend.

hiking
23 days ago

Sehr schöner Trail, teilweise sind die 3 möglichen Wege etwas verwirrend, aber der Wasserfall ist ein tolles Highlight und im Sommer sicherlich gut zum plantschen geeignet.

hiking
24 days ago

Great little well-kept trail. The falls are so pretty, and lots of people were taking advantage of the swimming pools at the bottom, as did our puppy! There were plenty of people there this Sunday morning, but we were able to snag a parking spot at 10 am. Our only suggestion would be better signage on the trails, as some others also noted.

hiking
29 days ago

The falls are beautiful and worth the trip. But the trail is not marked very clearly.

1 month ago

Very pretty! Trail was a bit confusing but we just followed the sound of water and kids playing. We found a quiet spot above the falls to relax.

1 month ago

Awesome falls. Easy on the way down, coming back was all up hill. My 4 & 11 year kids loved it. If you're ok with a little more challenging and climbing some rocks, you can follow the river and several pools the kids could wade in. I agree the trails could have been better marked, but we followed the water and the sounds of the falls and didn't have a problem.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful falls at the end of a fairly steep trail. Not too bad because it doesn’t last long. Family of 4 (dad, mom, 10yr boy, 8yr girl). Went right after a week of hard rain. Falls and water were up to make for a better experience. All the gobbledygook at the bottom of trail is me not pausing recording and is playing around the falls area. Trail is poorly marked. It’s funny because they spent all their money on the trailhead/intro sign, which is nice and actually “asks” for money, but skipped marking the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Heavily trafficked with a small parking lot. Steep, but short trek down to a nice falls. Trail along the edge, so you can walk along the water. Not well marked.

hiking
1 month ago

Trailhead parking is well marked. The hike to Otter Falls is short and not difficult, though there is some elevation gain. I personally found the trail map and signs confusing. But I could hear and see the falls pretty soon after starting so I took all the turns that led in the falls direction. The waterfall is pretty. Great reward to effort ratio with this hike.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

1 month ago

great trail! slightly confusing for the trail markers but we had fun walking around. the trail is marked situnous on the sign but I would say it's moderate

hiking
2 months ago

Lovely quick hike for families of all ages. The falls are beautiful.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a great trail that is downhill all the way to the falls. On the downside it is uphill the entire way back with a pretty steep incline. There are a few benches on the way back up for people that need to rest. Once down at the falls it cascade for quite a ways with lots of rocks to climb on and explore different views. I would highly recommend this trail and overall is a quick trip or you can hang out and just relax. Definitely need hiking boots, your feet are likely to get wet!!!!!

hiking
2 months ago

Meandering downhill trail to waterfalls with plenty of shallow pools for wading and cooling off. Great for preschool (as long as they can walk it) to elementary aged. If you stay to play, make sure you leave your kiddos enough energy to walk back up to parking area. Only two couples (because of quarantine) when I went but could be busy in the summer.

hiking
2 months ago

Loop hike down to falls and river. Trail is unremarkable walk to very scenic waterfall with boardwalk overlook. Popular. Good for kids.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. Have completed numerous times and great for the dog tinplate in the stream.

3 months ago

This was my first time going there and I brought a friend with me who enjoyed it so much. we brought our own lunch with us and each had a cup of wine to enjoy our little picnic and just layed down on the rock soaking up the beautiful rays of sunshine for some natural Viamin D . this was our meditation for the day listening to the beautiful falls beside us enjoying the trees and sun above us..providing is with sanity of the mind to still enjoy life in these uncertain times . I highly reccomend this hike . nice ride up to park and also down the mountain

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

amazing beautiful hike very energizing and meditative to lay on a rock to listen to the trickles of water and the whooshing sound of the bigger falls ..absolutely worth going down . shirt but steep hike..must wear proper hiking shoes so you wont slip. was able to get close to the falls n enjoy the fresh cool air of the water fall.

muddy
3 months ago

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

This was a fun little hike. Paved parking lot at trailhead, then time to head down. Trail is easy to walk, but muddy in places. once down at the fall, just wonderful! and easy to walk to the edge of the fall.

hiking
3 months ago

Went on this trail in March. Nice trail, steep on the way back up! Not too long. Nice falls, the water would really be nice in summer months.

hiking
3 months ago

It’s a steep and winding road to get up here but the falls at the bottom of the ravine make this worthwhile. It’s actually a series of falls with plenty of spots to sit in the water on a hot summer day.

hiking
muddy
off trail
3 months ago

Great trail! The falls themselves are awesome and gentle enough to step in with the right shoes

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