Rainbow Falls Trail

MODERATE 187 reviews
#1 of 63 trails in

Rainbow Falls Trail is a 3.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Toxaway, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
869 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

hiking

mountain biking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

no dogs

This short hike along the Horsepasture River features outstanding views of 4 large waterfalls and good camping. Start the trail by descending on a moderate grade downhill. After about 1/2 mile you can hear the rushing water of Turtleback Falls, before proceeding to this waterfall, go right, down a rhododendron enshrouded side trail. This side trail is a 1/4 mile and dead ends at a US Forest Service blockade. This is private property, but the 40 foot Bust-yo-butt Falls (?) can be viewed from this point. Backtrack and continue on to Turtleback Falls and the thundering Rainbow Falls. Turtleback Falls is a great place for a summer swim, Just a few hundred yards down stream is the impressive Rainbow Falls. When viewing the falls from the top, extreme caution should be used, as every year or so, someone is seriously hurt or killed in this area. Continue down the river trail. The trail is not marked, but as long as you keep the river on your right, you're ok. At the 1.25 mile mark is a very nice clearing for tenting. Just downstream is Stair Step Falls. Backtrack back to the parking lot.

hiking
3 hours ago

Absolutely stunning scenery! The entire trail was lush and green. A majority of the trail is next to the rushing river and offers a few places to stop and swim. The waterfall itself is huge! And the area surrounding it is fun to explore. I will definitely return to this trail!

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

Light to moderate. Good for kids and dogs.

hiking
11 days ago

16 days ago

17 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

Such a magical place to visit during the warmer times of year! Beautiful wooded trail with two spectacular waterfalls at the end. Rainbow Falls is magnificent and Turtleback Falls is a great spot for a day of swimming and sliding into the water. Very trafficked trail while I was out there but highly recommended.

hiking
19 days ago

Double the fun with turtleback falls just upriver by two more clicks. Another falls (Drift falls) is further up by another few clicks on private property but visible.

hiking
22 days ago

It's beautiful. The beauty of it all took my breath away. Pictures can't do it justice. Thanks to fellow hikers, we went to the top of the falls and there is 2 waterfalls in one trip. Great day spent!!

hiking
25 days ago

hiking
25 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail. Suitable for all ages. Both sets of falls are gorgeous. Bring your suit...lots of swimming opportunities both adventuresome and mild.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Distance is reported wrong. It's 1.5 to Rainbow Falls and another .2 to Turlteback Falls. Total round trip is 3.4 not 4.1 like this is saying.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago