Secret Falls Trail is a 1.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Highlands, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length1.3 miElevation gain255 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashKid friendlyHikingNature tripsForestRiverWaterfallWildflowersBlowdownRocky
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Reviews (195)
Photos (174)
Activities (140)
Completed (404)
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Martin Daniels
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 13, 2021
HikingGreat!

Amazing trail with a reward at the end that makes it more than worth it. Like others said, this is an easy trail on the way down with a couple of creek crossings using log bridges. The last few hundred yards down to the base of the falls was quite steep, but easy to manage. The falls are breathtaking! The way back up was quite aerobic but nothing too challenging. At the top of the steep climb from the base of the falls, we found a side trail that took us to the top of the falls, that gave great views down the falls and of the smaller cataracts upstream. Be warned that the trailhead is not marked - we found it because there were a couple of other vehicles parked there. The last mile or so to the trailhead (along Big Creek Road) is a fairly level dirt/gravel road with a couple of spots with ruts. Nothing our sedan couldn't handle, but be prepared to take it slow.

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Benjamin Sumlin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 8, 2021
Hiking

Fantastic waterfall worth the effort. Easy going down, last 1/8 mile gets more technical- rooted, wet, steeper. 2 minor creek crossings which are easy. More moderate on the return- couple of stretches will elevate your heart rate, but they are short. Apple Maps got us right to trailhead.

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Ryan Green
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Hiking

Short hike to a great view.

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Jimmy Riggs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 6, 2021
HikingGreat!

Trail was well marked, up and downs throughout hike (not bad though), last quarter mile was a little steep and could be very slippery after a rain. A two stream crossings, which were manageable without getting wet. Great trail for dogs. Falls were beautiful and well worth the hike. Road to trail head is about 1.5 miles of gravel road from main turnoff.

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Logan Green
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 6, 2021
Hiking

Great easy hike with kids. A little muddy and tricky down close to bottom. Beautiful falls with a cool beach. Would be a great little swimming spot in the summer.

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Sean Hogan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 31, 2021
HikingGreat!

This is a very easy out-and-back hike that offers a few stream crossings and a very pretty waterfall at the end as the payoff. The wooden stairs at the time I went after winter were a bit moved around from erosion, so be careful and I wouldn't fully trust them. The falls themselves are ridiculously beautiful and it was definitely worth the trip. Quick Video of our hike: https://youtu.be/SWm491dsEy4

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Vicky Hines
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Hiking

A beautiful hike! A little muddy and pitted getting out there but nothing our car couldn’t get through on a dry day. Enjoy!

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Jak Bantaum
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Hiking
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Robbie Broach
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Hiking

Nice short hike to cool waterfall

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Emily Bailey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 18, 2021
HikingMuddy

We went the day after it rained so the trail was wet and muddy, and we still had a great time. We took our time collecting rocks, taking pictures and since there was no one else at the waterfall we stayed there awhile. I liked how we could walk down alongside the waterfall, be sure to be careful though. All in all I made great memories/adventures with my 6 year old son. Childhood unplugged :)

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Bridget Grimsley Friedman
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HikingMuddy

The trail was muddy in spots, and trees had fallen across the trail in at least two places. The trail went across two streams where you have to hop on rocks or trees to get across. One you get close to the waterfall, the trail seems to go left and right, but the way down is to the right and you can see a blue trail marker on a tree. The way down has wooden blocks to step on, but muddy in between. It is not an easy trek I’d you have physical limitations. Once down at the bottom, the view is amazing and well worth the hike! If you walk down from the waterfall, then you can see where the stream leads, and if you jump down, can see more .

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Peter Fehl
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HikingMuddy
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Kimberly King
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Hiking

Fantastic quick morning hike. Beautiful falls at the end. Steep at the end and will get the heart pumping coming back up.

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Sarah-Katherine Burke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 9, 2020
HikingGreat!

so pretty! easy quick hike and nice place to bring the dogs during the summer time for a swim

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Reagan Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 6, 2020
HikingGreat!

Nice shorter hike that my boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed on this cool December morning! It does get a little steep near the end, but was manageable! Was super impressed with the waterfall, and it may have helped that there had been some rain two days before! Will definitely be back in the summertime!

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Mia Terrio
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Hiking
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Angela Adams
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Hiking
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Sarah Kyle
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HikingGreat!

Lovely hike perfect for a family (our son is 6). The end is a little steep but nothing too hard. The falls are beautiful and the water was low enough to go on the little beach. The road in was single lane switch backs and easy to miss from the main road. We thought we may have gone wrong but luckily kept on going. As long as you take the unpaved road slow and steady it will be ok. We saw a variety of vehicles once we make it to the TH.

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Sara Westhoefer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 20, 2020
HikingGreat!MuddyWashed out

This was a beautiful hike, very peaceful with beautiful reward at the end. The road that gets you to the trail head is nail biter. Up and down a windy gravel road that fits 1 car at a time. We were in a AWD Subaru Ascent and did just fine. There were two points on the trail where you had to cross streams. The first one took some maneuvering over down trees and the second one had a flat log to walk across. A couple down trees in the path along the way but nothing terrible. The stairs at the end of the trail have been washed out. You’ll need to take a bit more care climbing down. The trail is muddy in spots. With our 2 dogs it took us just over an hour there and back.

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Nicholas K
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 9, 2020
HikingGreat!

Overall quick afternoon hike, very easy and well maintained. The last section down to the base of the falls is steep as others have mentioned, but mostly dry as it hasn't rained in the last 3-4 days. The creek has subsided after Tropical Storm Zeta allowing a dry crossing, but there are still 2 trees down across the trail.

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Kristen Whitehead
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 30, 2020
HikingMuddyWashed out

Very muddy and slick with all the rain from tropical storm Zeta. Climbed over 2 downed trees and crossed running water twice as well. Socks got a bit wet! The trail is pretty washed out between the "steps". The waterfall was definitely worth the trek and was raging today. Overall, a fun but slippery hike.

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Todd Dixon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 24, 2020
HikingMuddy

Beautiful trail. Middle aged, overweight, and out of shape, I was able to complete this one relatively easily.

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Nicholas Hower
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 8, 2020
HikingGreat!MuddyRocky

Not a long hike, but might present some difficulty for older folks. Can’t wait to do it again.

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Jonathan Krueger
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Hiking
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Richard Pogin
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HikingFlooded

9/18/20 great experience but extremely difficult for older folks. The trail was in very bad shape. From the lower falls back took us and our. Trail was badly washed out in numerous places and was very muddy. I fell once and almost went down twice more.Had to Ford two streams. It was a good adventure and we took the rest of the day off.

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