Rainbow Falls Trail

MODERATE 120 reviews
#2 of 61 trails in

Rainbow Falls Trail is a 4.1 mile lightly 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
4.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
889 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
5 days ago

6 days ago

8 days ago

11 days ago

Couldn't even get to the trail from the directions on here, did end up at the amazing waterfall, but no help from the app

15 days ago

backpacking
1 month ago

Not to bad of a hike, the waterfall makes the trip worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic

1 month ago

Waterfall is amazing

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Very nice waterfall!

hiking
1 month ago

The hike elevation makes a W, so you go have to go up twice on the way out and twice on the way back and an extra time if you go down to the rocks at the base of the falls. Not for the out-of-shape. Lots of people hanging out and swimming at the bottom of Rainbow Falls.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

So, it is moderate with a lot of elevation change but is worth the trip - the fall is large and powerful with stunning views

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! This took a few hours but we had two small children and two dogs. The ending was beautiful. If you continue further you will find two more waterfalls. After you reach Rainbow falls keep walking .2 miles and you will reach a sign saying you have reached the end of the trail. This area has the last of the three waterfalls. Although the view is a bit obscured by foliage, we climbed down a bit closer to the river to get a better view. This may have been on of my favorite hikes In NC for waterfalls.

2 months ago