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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.

Distance: 1.3 miles Elevation Gain: 255 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

forest

river

waterfall

wild flowers

blowdown

rocky

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike with my 3 young boys. Even walked up to the waterfall and got wet. We had a blast. Make sure to follow the directions on previous comments.

hiking
muddy
scramble
washed out
1 month ago

Beautiful falls! I would agree with those that give advice about finding it. It was a little tricky, but their comments helped. Also was thankful for my walking sticks. They were a big help! The walk to the falls felt moderate to me (49, pretty out of shape, but able to manage), but I would say it felt more strenuous on the way out due to all the up hill sections of washed out trail. That said, we loved it and would definitely go again. Gorgeous falls and we only saw one other group on the trail. Oh, no yellow jacket sightings thanks to the cold snap.

hiking
muddy
washed out
1 month ago

Good trail. Little washed out in areas but not too bad. My wife and I did it with kids in backpack carriers with not a lot of difficulty. And the waterfall view was definitely worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

Yellow jackets everywhere! Be careful

hiking
muddy
scramble
3 months ago

Gorgeous waterfalls! The trail is filled with roots, some places are washed, and the pathway to the bottom of the falls is a slow-go. Crossing two small creeks was easy on downed trees. It is well worth it! The trail divides near the falls. Go to the right to reach the amazing view and the pool. Go to the left to see a smaller set of falls and the overlook of Secret Falls. Trekking poles were a big help on this trail. Others who posted about directions are good to follow. Someone posted a sign about yellow jackets at the trail ahead. There is a narrow path around them. I saw some buzzing yesterday so be careful.

3 months ago

Fairly easy hike with great waterfall at the end. Plenty of kids and older folks on the trail. Nice day to take the shoes off and get in the water. Very refreshing. A little tough to get to but follow the road all the way. Type the name into google don’t use the gps coordinates from the app. They take you a different way which won’t get you there.

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

This is a great hike, but definitely should not be qualified as easy!! Moderate is much more fitting as there are many areas where you have to scramble over or around roots, cross streams on a fallen log, and navigate steep, washed out steps, etc. Also, it can be very muddy in the rainy season. Don’t wear flip flops! We saw some people pretty miserable in flip flops on the trail, and it’s unsafe. If you want to play in the water at the bottom, wear hiking water shoes or bring another pair of shoes. With all that said, this is a great, quick hike with a nice sized waterfall at the end. Don’t miss seeing the falls from both the top and bottom. My kids have been doing this hike since ages 5 and 7, and they love it. Younger kids will need some close supervision, especially at the top of the falls. A note about getting there: Walkingstick Rd is a one lane gravel road. Go slow as you will need to stop and navigate how to allow another car to pass if you meet one. This directions through this app don’t take you all the way to the trailhead. Keep going past where it tells you and then turn right at the next available turn. Keep going and you will see cars parked and the trailhead.

hiking
5 months ago

Fun Trail! We will definitely do this one again!

hiking
6 months ago

Absolutely beautiful falls! While it was a rainy day, it was perfect day to hike. No crowds no bugs! The trail is very easy, just a slight incline on your way back to the trailhead. The directions to the trailhead are just slightly off, at least on my GPS. If you're are as well, make a right turn where the directions end and travel less than half a mile, the trailhead and a few parking spaces will be on your left. Enjoy!

hiking
9 months ago

This used to be one of our favorite hikes, when it was a real secret. Now, expect to see many people and families. The hike is relatively flat until the end when you go down a hill to the falls. There are viewing points from the top and bottom. We used to swim in the swimming hole of the waterfall and spend a whole day here. We were sad when it became known but it is absolutely stunning and worth sharing with all the tourists! Just don't try skinny dipping anymore! ;)

hiking
10 months ago

I’m not sure how to review this since we only made it to the trail head. We drove 45 miles on a 30 degree day and two kids for there to be a locked gate. We parked at the top of the gate and walked 2 miles down a road until we hit the trail head. By this time the kids were exhausted and we had to turn around and walk the two miles back up the road to leave. With those four miles we could have been around the whole actual trail.

hiking
10 months ago

Amazing views and a fun hike! Not to hard but being short the steps are almost half the length of my legs! Made for good cardio!!! The gate at the beginning was closed..... no biggie we parked at the bottom and walked the extra to the parking lot where you see the head of the trail. Don’t walk up the road! We took our pups and they had a blast crossing the streams and drinking fresh water.

hiking
Sat Nov 24 2018

Follow the trail markers as there are a couple of off shoot trails that appear to be well enough maintained. The little beach by the falls and ability to get up right close to them is very nice.

hiking
Wed Oct 31 2018

hike is great. waterfall and water area are amazing. parts of the trail are washed out but still passable.

Thu Oct 18 2018

Beautiful waterfalls, the hike is moderate.

Mon Oct 08 2018

Great spot to swim!

hiking
Thu Oct 04 2018

Beautiful falls.

Wed Oct 03 2018

Overall a great hike. Kid friendly, a few washed out spots, beautiful waterfall!

hiking
Sat Sep 29 2018

Beautiful falls at the end of the trail. Some roots and washed out trail along the way, but that is typical around here and even with that it was a nice walk. We had no problem on the gravel roads. Would love to do it again in peak leaf season!

Tue Sep 04 2018

Probably my favorite short hike near Highlands. We went today, Labor Day, thinking that it might be crowded but it was completely empty and never once saw another hiker. The waterfall is a perfect ending to this relatively easy hike. I highly recommend it.

hiking
Mon Aug 27 2018

I absolutely loved this trail. Now, first off let me say there were lots of trees down but...It was a beautiful trail with lots of rare flowers. The waterfall was spectacular and there was not a single person the whole hike ( which I loved). Easy to Moderate is what I would rate this one. I do wish they would remove all the downed trees but a beautiful hike nonetheless.

hiking
Tue Aug 07 2018

Hiked 5 days before today and after 3 days of intense rain. Easy hike to enjoy the pool at the base of the falls.

Tue Aug 07 2018

Relatively short hike, rocky near the water, but well worth it

Wed Jul 11 2018

This was a nice quick hike but the service road is easy to miss. Falls were pretty and a great spot to swim and have lunch.

hiking
Wed May 16 2018

I would say this was a moderate to hard hike in rain. Elevation wasn't a huge deal, pretty average considering you're going down to a waterfall and back up to the trailhead. The rain though had washed out some chunks of the trail. Also, it wasn't cleared out very well in some spots. Had to weave through some downed trees. Well worth the trek though. I came in via Walkingstick Rd. I don't have fourwheel drive and was slipping on the loose gravel. Definitely need an SUV or truck if you come that way. Supposedly you can also come down from 28 and it's a lot better road.

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