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

Lake Toxaway, North Carolina Map

best waterfall trails in the state...two great falls on this trail....bring your shorts so you can get a swim in at turtleback

Wonderful trail! Very rocky and wet in places, but I had fun!

We wanted to camp and swim but it rained almost the whole time we were there. The gates close at 8:30, so if you changed your mind about camping after that (because of rain) you can’t get out. Also, all but one campsite had been reserved- the vacant one had had bear sightings! The actual trail tho is very well marked and maintained. There are lots of cool mushrooms and flowers along the way and the river/falls are some of the best I’ve seen! There are signs posted that say swimming is prohibited due to dangerous currents- we even saw a memorial to a dog who’d been swept away! There are small pools to wade in, however. I want to go again when it’s not raining!

Awesome hike — I recommend going to the top of the falls and walking out on some of the bigger rocks that approach the edge. We picnicked up there and it was great! Don’t forget to bring a bathing suit for once you get to the falls, too.

easily the best hike to waterfalls in the state of NC....

Nice forest, well marked trails and two waterfalls

1 month ago

Absolutely fabulous hike! Not really difficult, but can be a little muddy and slippery at parts. I highly suggest going all the way to the turtleback waterfall. Also, try going on the rocks (dry ones) that are a little bit off-path to get really good shots. We were warned about copperheads, but did not encounter any.

Went after a heavy rain and waterfalls was amazing!!

This trail starts in Gorges State Park (but eventually leaves the park property). Drive past the Visitors Center and down the hill to the large, paved parking lot. Downhill from the trailhead the trail splits - left is the Raymond Fisher Trail and right is the Rainbow Falls Trail. Go right. On the trail there are two creek crossings. The first is a shallow and easy two stepper but the second is a deeper six stepper. I made it across without poles. Rainbow Falls has two nice viewing areas (one farther away to take in the full view and one up close to feel the mist). Turtleback Falls is where all of the swimmers go to slide down the falls. There is no formal viewing area there but the large boulders are easy to climb and navigate and afford great views. Both waterfalls are particularly picturesque.

One of my favorite hikes. Busy in the summertime, but well worth it for how short it is!

Great hike to see two amazing waterfalls, Rainbow Falls and Turtelback Falls. Moderate to strenuous 3.9 mile trail beginning at Gorges State Park. Rainbow Falls is a super beautiful fall and incredible to see, while Turtelback is a great swimming hole area and water slide for the adventurous.

Great family hike! Moderate difficulty - mostly downhill to the falls so more difficult on the return. Bring water shoes if you plan to take a dip at the base of either falls . We slid off turtleback falls (which is not for the faint of heart) - and we swam at the base of rainbow falls. Lots of hikers and swimmers today.

The Rainbow falls trail was amazing. Plenty of waterfalls to be seen, a few are found off the main trail. The actual trail is wide enough to hike in groups. There are a ton of swim holes, as long as you are down from Rainbow. The main attraction is a great waterfall with a large cliff and high walls next to it. Trees appear to have been cut down to block the trail to the top of the falls, and signs are posted for safety. Over all a great day of hiking, swimming, and picture taking.

Beautiful falls, great hike!

Great hike. Kinda busy on a hot day but I wouldn’t have considered it crowded at any time. Falls were impressive. I definitely went over the falls for a nice refreshing 55 degree cooldown lol.
Tons of places to peel off and just sit by the rapids and find your inner zen.

Excellent trail well worth the hike. Go during the week. Early morning is best. If not be prepared for large crowds of swimmers. Hiked it in about 2.5 hrs and that was with stopping for some pics. Make sure to hit both falls as the 2nd one is only a short hike from rainbow.

Great afternoon hike with a spectacular view of the falls. There are a few stop offs on the way to the base that are excellent for swimming.

Beautiful waterfalls! Lots of people...

This trail starts with a bit of a muddy and rocky decline, but soon you’ll start to hear the rapids before you come upon the AMAZING rainbow falls. Wow. What a force of nature. Go to the viewing platform to get a good misting before continuing on to Turtleback falls. These falls are also beautiful and can be fun to play in but beware! Unfortunately people have been swept away doing this. I would like to note that this is a HIKE to waterfalls. Please bring water and appropriate footwear. I saw many people without supplies and wearing flip flops on this trail and they were struggling.

Easy to moderate. Great views.

2 months ago

Out-and-back past Bearwallow Valley Overlook to Bearwallow Falls viewing platform. Overlook offers a nice south-facing vista featuring Lakes Jocasee and Keowee, but as others have said power lines do mar the view. I also agree with previous reviews that Bearwallow Falls is not as scenic as the park's other waterfalls, but it is still a worthy destination. Also, starting at the Bearwallow Picnic Area shortens the hike to the falls to only 0.4 switchbacking miles. Overall, not the park's best trail, but still a nice hike.

Love this hike. I have been on this hike numerous times. Many things to look at along the way. Took it with a group from our church. Love the falls and the water. It was great for hanging out for the day in the ENO.

On our way back to Pittsburgh from Atlanta we stopped to go hiking and swim at the falls! It was really hilly but definitely a good work out and not difficult. Sliding down the falls was so fun and the people there hiking were all so nice. The views of both falls were amazing and definitely worth the walk! Bring your bathing suit!!!

2 months ago

Really great hike, beautiful view of falls

Loved it! Go early in the day on a weekday.

Really awesome hike! Falls are incredible! Highly recommended!

Great hike awesome falls!

Beautiful falls! Great hike.

We hiked this trail days after a tremendous amount of rain fell in the area. There were several stream crossings but easily passable. Rainbow Falls was simply amazing with the enormous amount of water passing over the ledge. The spray from the falls was so thick I may as well been standing under the falls. Turtleback Falls is another can't miss. The trail is well maintained and the surroundings are unsurprisingly beautiful. Just go.

An incredible hike with an incredible view! Being from South Florida, the elevation was quite difficult to adjust to but the view was definitely worth it! Also totally recommend hiking up to slide down turtle back falls.

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