Explore the most popular birding trails near Highlands with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I live up here and this is my favorite hike to take especially when fall hits.

Really great hike. Good trail for beginners as there are not many difficult parts to it, but one is still rewarded with breathtaking views. I suggest going around noon or in the afternoon as in the morning the views are a little limited.

I must see what an adventure

This trail offers a steep hike through a nice forest to a series of beautiful waterfalls. However, there is very limited space available for viewing these falls, and the crowds detract from any possibility of a wilderness experience. The falls are very popular and located just outside of the Highlands city limits. If you hike this trail and want a chance to enjoy the falls, get there very early.

Great hike especially with younger hikers. Awesome views and a real sense of you made it to the top for the young ones.

hiking
8 days ago

Recent monsoons have made the flow twice the normal flow!

Started at upper parking area not as shown.

hiking
8 days ago

Down hill is easy. Uphill is hard. A series of falls with limited viewing.

Clockwise is the easier route.

Good shady trail. Good amount of flowing water at various points along the trail. The falls are great and a nice cool break before finishing up the hike.

peaceful and very well maintained trail.

Heavily shaded. Took about 1.5 hrs counterclockwise.
Stopped to read trail markers and enjoy ranger falls.

on Dry Falls Trail

walking
13 days ago

If you are in the area, this is a must stop! There are steps down to the falls but it is so worth it. My 8 year old loved it and said it was his favorite of all the falls we have visited. Being able to walk behind it, is definitely fun. The recent rains made it very full and beautiful. I’m sure it’s that way even without the rain and would highly recommend this stop.

walking
13 days ago

Hardly any walk, well defined, and beautiful scenery!

The parking lot is big but fills quickly so arrive early. There is a short hike up switchbacks and stairs to get to the top quickly or a long gravel road to get there more easily but takes longer. I'm 60 and found the switchbacks to be easy and the best route. I went on an overcast day and found that visibility was 0 feet when I got to the many viewing areas along the SE face of the mountain. However, after lingering for 15 minutes the haze lifted and visibility stretched to the horizon after about 30 minutes. The main trail is well guarded by safety fences but the side trails are not so watch children. I'm posting the hazy pictures but also some unique photos of the mountain taken off-trail. There are many gated communities in the area but the shot of the mountain over the lake was taken on Whiteside Cove Road at 35* 04.035'N and 083* 07.194'W. The clear and sunny shots were taken at a place called "The Spa" along SR-64 between Cashiers and Sapphire. (It is a beautiful place that is not gated and the people were friendly.)

hiking
14 days ago

Dry Falls is located along SR-64 / Highland Road just NW of Highlands, NC. I was VERY impressed by this trail. there was ample paved parking, facilities, a cement trail with guardrails down to and behind the falls, an amazingly pretty waterfall, and no admission. From car to falls is about 10 minutes and the views along the trail of the falls are breathtaking. I went just after a rain so the falls had more flow but I suspect that this waterfall is beautiful year 'round.

Great exercise. Limited viewpoints was only negative

Good, quick loop. The falls are worth the trip and the diversity of trees along the way made for a pretty enjoyable time. We went right at the loop junction, and we were glad that we did. Either way, this is a good loop.

What a great day hike. I agree with the other posts about the directions. The trail head is not hard to find, but I was glad that we followed the directions posted by others on this site.

We took the Jones Gap side trail and we were glad that we did. The views are spectacular. There is significant diversity of trees and flowers on the trail and the hike is not too strenuous that our entire family - 18, 15, & 9 year olds included- did it have fun. At White Rock Gap, we dropped down to Stephens Creek and were really impressed by the trees along the way.

Overall, this is a great day hike and we will be back.

100% worth the stop on the side of the road

Nice family hike with our 15, 10 and 2 year old. A lot of hikers for A Friday morning. Easy hike up the gravel trail. Great views along the ridge line and nice hike down the other side. Once you reach the top, make sure you follow the trail to see the views along the ridge even if you come back down the gravel, easy trail.

Great short trail. We walked up via the gravel trail then back by way of the tougher trail. Gorgeous views! Definitely walk around Highlands and drive a short way (.5 miles) to see Dry Falls. Beautiful falls on the side of the road.

Great Short Distant hike! Beautiful views!! Read the informative signs. Very Cool!!

Beautiful forest walk for the first 1.7 miles. The final 1.1 miles wind through a wildflower packed field. We parked in the flat mountain lot which made this hike a 2.8 mile loop. Saw a few others on the trail on a Saturday.

Total of 91 steps each way. Beautiful gorge and falls. fun to walk behind

91 steps down, 91 steps up. Beautiful gorge and falls. Fun to walk behind.

Great short hike with beautiful views!

This is a great trail with so much to see and so many places to explore. Our family of five with two teenagers and a standard poodle had a great time but we managed to get off the trail by half a mile by taking a fork in that appeared to be the correct direction but wasn’t. Still a beautiful, fun hike.

We absolutely LOVED this hike. Very lush, several waterfalls and great exercise coming back up.

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