Upper Whitewater Falls Trail is a 1.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sapphire, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and trail running and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Cashiers, NC: Travel south on SR 107 9.3 miles to SR 413 (SC) and a sign for Whitewater Falls. Turn left and continue 2.3 miles to the intersection with SR 130 (SC). Make another left and drive north on SR 130 (SC), which becomes SR 281 (NC) at the state line. Just beyond the state line is a sign for Whitewater Falls. (If you are coming from Toxaway (easterly direction), start at US 64 and SR 281 and drive south 8.6 miles to the Whitewater Falls parking area.
Fee parking lot, paved access to overlook and then stairs to a wooden landing. Great view. Some alternate trails, e.g. the lower Whitewater Falls trail which takes you away from the view. If you are near Cashiers worth a trip.
Easy access. Paved and steps to overlook.
Very pretty, falls were slow but loved the setting. Nice little pave road up to the falls and take the stairs to get an even closer view. Falls with the colors was quite relaxing, quite a few people on Sunday mid-morning.
The Whitewater Falls Trail hugs the Sumter and Nantahala National Forests as a part of the larger Foothills Trail for around two miles out and back. The trail here is well maintained, and there are plenty of obstacles to make a fairly short section of the Foothills Trail feel more intense than the distance might suggest. My daughter was able to handle even the toughest parts of the hike with little help.
We started our hike from the Sumter National Forest side, since parking there was free. After a short downhill, we steadily dropped in elevation over the next mile or so as we made our way to the river below.
The rock outcrops here are gorgeous, and the river is wild. Despite the rapids, there were plenty of places to wade into the water and relax our tired feet in the cool water. We ran into a handful of hikers along the trail here, and only two Foothills Trail thru hikers, but there was a nice crowd of day hikers at the river below.
The hike took about four hours, including quite a bit of time lounging around the river, exploring the boulders, snacking and conversing with fellow hikers.
The trail was very clean and well maintained. I had a fantastic time and highly recommend this hike to anyone in the area with a few hours to fill. I only wish it were longer!
Very beautiful trail! We did end up taking the gravel road back to the parking area however due to the weather that day!
The short walk to an upper viewing area is handicap accessible but could be difficult to push due to slight incline, there is also a viewing deck down a ways accessible by stairs. The trail on down the mountain is strenuous but a nice hike if you aren't only looking for a better view of the falls, you won't see much from down there. Unless you just enjoy the challenge, enjoy the view from the top side.