Stairway Falls is a 2.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Sapphire, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length2.4 miElevation gain508 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashkid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingForestRiverViewsWaterfallwild-flowersWildlifeScramble
Description
Waypoints (2)

If you wish to extend your hike, you can continue onto Rainbow Falls, and Turtleback Falls.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (45)
Photos (157)
Recordings (35)
Completed (1,379)
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Ali Cole
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Hiking
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Claus Fey
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Hiking

Stairway Waterfalls isn’t actually a waterfall. It’s more like rapids. But nice and easy to find. Just don’t miss the point where you need to leave the trail to Rainbow falls.

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Betsy Pearl
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Hiking
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Logan A
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Hiking

Amazing trail, gets a little sketchy and steep going down it but once you get to the bottom, everything is blissful. Enjoy !

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Jon Winchester
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Hiking

Very busy for dogs. A bit muddy but very nice falls.

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Heather Huston
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Hiking
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Pat Bisson
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Hiking

Good trail but very wet and slick!

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Chris Armenti
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Hiking
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Brian Eshenbaugh
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Hiking

Great trail well marked and easy to follow, just follow the crowds. It was heavily used the day we were there. Waterfall was beautiful and heavy due to recent rains. There are two falls past rainbow that adds about a mile total to the hike but worth it.

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Rachel S
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Hiking

I really liked this trail! It starts off of Rainbow Falls trail where the river starts bending south. We were able to spot it because we saw people coming up, but I imagine it could be a little tricky to spot otherwise. The trail goes down towards a clearing on the river, and then veers left onto a pretty narrow trail. There was a bit of overgrowth and tricky spots to place your feet, so be careful going down. However, I felt the view at the end was worth it! Beautiful falls with absolutely no one around, so we got to enjoy it all to ourselves on an early Saturday morning.

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mallory teal
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Hiking
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Анна Белащенко
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Hiking
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Kevin Pearson
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Hiking
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Michael Humphries
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dave smith
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Off trail
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Bob Wilson
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We got down to the river and it was beautiful, but inside of 3 minutes saw two water moccasins. We were not prepared for that as we were not wearing boots or long pants, so we did not go to the falls.

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Tom K
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Hiking

Day 9 trip to Southeast. Did not go to this waterfall, main goal was Rainbow and Turtleback. Side spur trial is not marked.

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Chris Armenti
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Hiking

The hike starts at the overcrowded Rainbow Falls trailhead in Gorges State Park and follows the same route as Rainbow Falls for 1.1 miles. At this point a spur trail heads left and stars to descend toward the Horsepasture River. From the split to the base of Stairway Falls is 0.3 of a mile. At first the trail will come to a large clearing on the shore of the river before following the river downstream. In places the trail is narrow and eroded so use caution. It comes out below this amazing multi-tiered waterfall.

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Tim Thomas
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HikingMuddy
First to Review

Nice, well hiked trail. Easy trail with moderate inclines at times. Views were great at the falls and all the little areas to go off trail slightly.

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Scott Densmore
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Hiking

A short spur trail off the Rainbow Falls Trail takes you to Stairway Falls. I picked a memorable time to hike to these very popular waterfalls...the day of the Great American Solar Eclipse. And because nearly everyone was camped out and waiting by the visitor center, I had the scenic trail almost to myself!

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Greg Schuler
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Seth Hirsch
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Marie LePage
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Matt Warnick
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George Panasuk
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Jennifer Rigney
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Hiking
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Kelly R
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Hiking
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Josh Brandsdorfer
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Hiking
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Katya Corbin
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Alex Cerwin
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