Upper Creek Falls Loop Trail

MODERATE 162 reviews
#4 of 29 trails in

Upper Creek Falls Loop Trail is a 1.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Newland, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

1.5 miles
426 feet

dog friendly



nature trips


bird watching





wild flowers



Great waterfalls, huge boulders and pools, and a large overhanging rock. There are two ways you can start out. Either the Upper Falls trail or the Lower Falls trail. If you start out on one you can come back on the other and make a complete loop. The Upper Falls trail is much steeper. So it is a good one to take down to the falls, cross the creek and go down the trail to the lower crossing and then come back up the Lower Falls trail. As soon as you leave the parking lot, the trails starts to decend rather quickly and very steeply down. The closer you get to the creek and falls, the down slope gets steeper. After you cross the creek using rocks sticking up out of the creek, the trail still goes in a down slope to the lower crossing. The trail crossings are very well marked with signs. This is a state maintained park. The upper falls crossing has a set of man made wooden steps and "bridge" to help you from the falls up to the Upper Falls trail or vis versa, to help you down to the creek side and top of falls. There is one scenic view on the Upper Falls trail to stop and see a swimming hole in the creek above the falls. The view is far above looking very far down onto the creek and small set of the falls above the main falls. There is a rope swing, used by many to swing out and drop off into the "pool", very deep water pooled in the creek. The water stays ice cold year around. You can also use the smaller falls as a slide down into the "pool". There is a spectacular view of the lower valley below the falls from atop the main falls edge. You can see for miles down the river valley. Very pretty during the summer months, green trees lining the mountains for miles down the valley. During the winter months can see snow covered mountains for miles. There are quite a few picturesque views to take. This trail is not for the elderly or weak at heart. Several strenious stretchs of the trail. The Lower Falls trail is not as steep but still down slopeing at points. There is a small area after crossing the creek on the Upper Falls trail above the main waterfall, that some use as a camping or gathering spot. Leveled and cleared out spot in the forest. With a campfire area and large enough area for a large tent. They do allow swimming and camping here. There is a small trail that goes up to the swimming hole and points north of the main falls after you cross the creek into the "camping" area. Turn left and go up the rarely used trail. If you wish to go to the swimming hole area, you can also walk the large boulders before crossing the creek on Upper Falls trail,along the creek side up to the large boulders surrounding the "pool" swimming hole.

washed out
2 days ago

13 days ago

Beautiful, well-kept, and would be ideal when the weather is warmer!

25 days ago

I have completed this hike multiple times throughout my life, it’s a favorite of our camping group. Lots of memories here!

1 month ago

Very fun! To complete the loop you have to cross the river twice! It would be better on a warm day, we went in the freezing cold, but it made for some great memories

3 months ago

A favorite! A natural slip and slide. Pack a lunch and extra clothes for splashing around in the summer and stay a while.

4 months ago

Went early on a Sunday morning, enjoyed the peace and quiet of the fairly short hike to the upper falls where I watched the sunrise. Hell of a way to start the day!

5 months ago

If you do the full loop you must cross the river twice and you will get wet. Lots of tree roots but a nice hike with great views of falls. I have dogs that enjoy the water and there were a couple of places for them to get in.

6 months ago

Great hike. we took the upper falls trail side to start (which is much easier section than the lower falls trail that starts on the other side of the parking lot) Once you get to the upper falls section you need to cross the water and go up to the next pool up for the rope swing and rock slide. we had a blast sliding down the rocks and using the rope swing. Then we took the trail the rest of the way down to the lower falls where there is a much longer rock slide. the second half of the loop back to the parking lot from the lower falls are switch backs the whole way (or you can take the many short cuts that go straight up if you want) Definitely a must see.

6 months ago

First real trail we’ve hiked since moving to North Carolina. It’s definitely our new favorite hobby. We went down the lower trail first and somehow found out way back to the upper for a complete loop. It took us right about an hour. Beautiful views

6 months ago

A beautiful trail and destination! the view of the mountains from the upper falls and the water slide at the lower falls makes for an amazing hike.

6 months ago

Steep and lots of roots. Beautiful scenery.

7 months ago

My wife and I are experienced hikers and do several hikes a year. That said I would rate this as a moderate to almost difficult trail. It is very poorly marked. We walked to the upper falls route going in and didn't see a blaze until we were almost down to the river. On the way out blazes were sporadic at best and many that were there were very faded. That said it was a great waterfall hike with a lot of off shoot trails that take you to several swimming holes. This is a good hike for everyone including families that are looking for some cool water swimming. We'll certainly return with our swimwear.

7 months ago

Water was high when we were there. Great hike . Really enjoyed the views and falls .

7 months ago

So much fun!

7 months ago

Loved it! a beautiful trail and water. fairly rugged for us who are not regular hikers, but great fun.

8 months ago

Was a little too much water to do falls with kids today but would try again

9 months ago

Another short and sweet hike to a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole. Popular spot, always busy. nice little loop

10 months ago

Great hike. Will definitely do again when the water is lower.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Sunday, November 12, 2017

It was not the hardest hike I've ever done but will be one of my favorites. The falls were beautiful. The hike to the falls was easy to follow and there were many little trails around the falls to explore the falls in more detail. Once we crossed over to continue on the trail it became difficult to follow. We did a lot of bushwacking and stayed close to the trail only because of the alltrails map. With this being said, it was a lot of fun. We were determined to find a place to cross back once we saw the trail continuing on the other side. We did have to get creative and had to go below the trail to find a place to cross. We walked, climbed,scooted across a couple fallen logs with the water rushing under our feet and then jump across another rock. We thought it was a blast but might would be too difficult for someone older or without good balance. Once we reached the other side the trail was easy to follow the rest of the way with a gradual incline. This will definitely become a regular hike and possible camping spot.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Nice short hike and falls can seen from 3 separate vantage points. The scenery makes it well worth it

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Great waterfalls. Unusually swift water made crossing the trail challenging today. Terrain can be slick so proper footwear is a plus.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I did this hike early morning and really enjoyed it. You can hear the traffic on 181 when you first start out but you diverge from the highway soon. There is lots to explore on the rocks along the river. The hike down is easy and the climb back up isn't too strenuous, but there are lots of rocks and roots along the way. Some people have been making their own trail straight up the mountain causing erosion, try to stay to the switchbacks.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Short, beautiful trail through the woods to the falls and back- lots of roots, a little steep, but so worth it. Swimming and boulder climbing opportunities. Huge area of flattish, smooth rock to relax on at Lower Falls. Beautiful view off the top of the fall at Upper Falls. Half way between Upper Falls and Lower Falls, you can find another spot with a cascade and boulders. Trail isn't marked well there. Will go back!

Friday, September 08, 2017

nice gradual hike...but the gorge hike is worth the extra effort.

Monday, September 04, 2017

You cross the river twice if you do both the upper and lower falls. Great Hike, bring water shoes! Me and my daughter loved it!

Monday, August 21, 2017

We did this hike with kids ranging from 8-12. Great time. I wanted to note that the first set of pools, just after a wood set of stairs, is the upper falls. We missed it and had to double back. The swimming area is just above there.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Upper Falls trail leads to a great swimming hole complete with rope swing and sliding rock. Excellent in every way! I will be revisiting this one. Lowe Falls trail is also nice, but more difficult and not as easy to follow.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Enjoyed the Falls and scenery. Upper Falls trail was moderate but if you choose to go out via lower Falls trail it is a little more difficult.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Great Hike, Great Reward.
with 7 year old and 10 year old.

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