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

Trail is well marked,and maintained. No water access from viewing platforms, but nice area to spash around at the bottom. The trek back to the top is most challenging, and the last leg of the trail has a bunch of tree roots. Very diverse group on the trail, everyone was fine though, moderate.

backpacking
1 day ago

Until a proper maintenance crew decides to work on the trail past the first 5 miles from the trail head, one had better prepare for one heck of a disappointment.

To begin with, every trail in the area is blazed the same color. For some reason, the crew doesn't understand that a trail more than 12 miles "should" be blazed white while spurs and intersecting trails "should" be a different color. Also, there are blazes where is's painfully obvious there is a trail but at the "balds" (which aren't) and the gaps, where the briars are head high and the trail so faint it's difficult to navigate, there are no blazes. Nada. None. There are more "Bear Sanctuary" placards than trail blazes.

Water. Bring more than you think you'll need. Then bring twice that. The water sources are few and far between. Remember, you're at the top of a ridge. To get to any water it's hundreds (more than 200) meters to a POSSIBLE water source which is downhill (way down hill) from the trail. The "map" Alltrails offers doesn't mark any of them and the "reviews" posted below are less than helpful. Seriously... bring more water than you think you'll need.

I'm not going to bother with the issue of the elevation gain and loss... it's a ridge run... it's expected (and one of the main reasons I went this week). However... due to the remoteness of the trail; IF/WHEN there is a medical emergency, lost/overdue hiker, etc you will be stuck in place with no help for over 24 hours. Or more. My hiking partner and I are both search and rescue technicians and know our jobs well. I may know what I'm talking about here.

Other hazards include wild hogs (we had a passel of them "interact" with us out around Signal Knob), trail along the sides of hills that are overgrown and not well cut (one slip in the rain and there's a strong possibility of a serious fall or an ankle injury, massive fallen trees blocking the trail and did I mention the lack of proper blazes?

Really.... unless you are a serious back-country backpacker with extremely strong navigation skills, stay off this trail. Oh, and find a better map than the one here. The actual Rim Trail leaves/reaches the ridge west of Shortoff but keep in mind that all the elevation it took you 2 days to gain is lost in less than half a day.

I give this trail 5 stars not for it's beauty but for it's difficulty. Some of the other reviewers never ran this ridge, they stayed in the valley along the river.

hiking
1 day ago

Pretty positive these pictures of the view are from the John Rock loop, which is part of this one but eventually you have to go on a different trail. Cat gap has no/limited views, and is the same distance.

Short hike to the falls. I’m used to really strenuous trails so this trail is very easy for anyone to do. The rocks are slippery so I would just be careful if your going to walk up close to the waterfall. Beautiful waterfall off of the blue ridge parkway.

on Cascades Trail

hiking
1 day ago

Combined this trail and Tompkins Knob for a nice hike that was not too strenuous. The only difficult part of this trail is the stairs down to the falls. The rock steps are uneven and the hand rail has eroded or is broken in a few places so care has to be taken. Because we have had a very wet spring this year, the falls were beautiful-much nicer than some of the pictures I have seen of them taken when it was much drier. The steps lead to two viewing areas do have a substantial rock wall. Because of the sheer steepness of the falls these are not the type you would want to even attempt to wade in areas above them.. The return trail meanders along Fall Creek is lovely.

good trail

beautiful regardless of weather. it's similar to Pacific northwest. very easy even for someone out if shape and obese like me.

hiking
1 day ago

Very easy hike in and out. Only rough part was getting down to the falls but so very worth it. One of the most beautiful falls I have ever been to. We had it all to ourselves.

easy hike well traveled trail it was no one there when we arrived but quickly became crowded so go early.

Amazing trail ! was very nicely maintained and beautiful.. can't wait to talk this trail again.

Great hike.

hiking
2 days ago

This use to be one of my favorite waterfalls but they had it roped off at the bottom of the stairs so you couldn’t walk out and chill on the rocks anymore.

hiking
2 days ago

Excellent trail. We got there early as this one seems best enjoyed before the large groups arrive. Would recommend regular shoes if you can step carefully, but plenty of beautiful spots to stop by water along the way.

Nice views of beautiful falls. More of a walk than a hike. Kind of touristy.

nice trail along the Creek for about the first two miles. Hebron rock colony - car sized boulders in the river all the way down to the valley. we had for small children with us and they did great. very scenic

I went in October with a group of friends. First trail I did after breaking my ankle and it was amazing

I went in October with a group of friends. First trail I did after breaking my ankle and it was amazing

An easy little hike with several different platforms to admire the falls. The last fall is not nearly as impressive as the first two.

This is a straight descent to the bottom of High Falls. We took the trailhead off of Pine Creek and it ended up being around a mile downhill and then back up. The lower quarter of the hike is mostly stone steps that can be slippery. It may be taxing to take a dog on this hike.

The base of the falls are spectacular and offer deep swimming holes in which one can dive and swim.

hiking
2 days ago

these directions are wrong. loafers glory is on SR 1442, not 1448.

Excellent. Hiked with my wife and sons (9.5 and 7). Both did well. Total time was just under three hours. Trail is next to water for 75% of the time. Wonderful to hear the sound of running mountain stream. Multiple crossings. After rain, these crossings could be a bit messy; prepare to get feet a bit wet. My youngest did the hike in Keen sandals and was perhaps best prepared!

Yes, as others have noted this is not exactly what I would call hiking. Path walking is more like it. All of the falls were beautiful, we walked from hooker falls parking area to triple falls to high falls to bridal falls and lastly to hooker falls before calling it a day, took us about 3.5 hours or so. We brought a picnic which we enjoyed at high falls. Great day of multiple waterfalls, just not much of a hike.

beautiful falls , not really a hike though...just walking on service roads...we hiked from hooker falls parking area past high falls over the covered bridge and down conservatory road. only disappointment was the service roads and lack of any views on it.

Great hike down to the narrows, but be ready to scramble to the bottom. Definitely at the top of my list!

My son (age 4.5), husband, and I did this trail with one modification in June. It was a great backpacking loop for us. The first day we hiked in about 1.5 miles and started to look for a campsite, which we found 0.6 miles off the loop at the intersection of cat gap bypass and cat gat loop. Not liking to back track, we hiked around cat gat loop to get back to the planned route, which we then finished as defined here. The waterfall on this trail was pretty spectacular-- when you are right up close to it to view, it is REALLY LOUD. The trail is pretty, lush, and varied, lovely for a warm weekend with a child in tow. There are no scenic views on this trail. All in all, a trip worth doing but probably not one to do multiple times unless you live close by. On the second day we hiked from 8 am to 3 pm with plenty of breaks for water play as necessary by a 4.5 year old-- his longest day yet at 7.3 miles, but that just goes to show how easy the trail is.
Trail Rating: * Miserable ** Boring ***Good Hike ****Fantastic Hike ***** National Park Worthy Hike

Awesome hike! Beautiful and easy! My husband, 3 year old son, and I completed this trail. Well worth the drive.

Very rocky. Not suitable for dogs. It was cloudy/foggy but had some amazing areas/overlook places. Overall a very amazing trail!

on Crabtree Falls Trail

3 days ago

Such a beautiful waterfall!! Picture doesn't do it's justice! Bring a hammock that you can wrap up around trees and there is perfect set of trees to tie it up on right beside waterfall! More than relaxing and refreshing. Hike back up is incline and a great workout.

walking
3 days ago

The drive in through Big Ivy is beautiful. Short hike to the falls. Looking forward to coming back in the fall because it looked like the color would be amazing.

hiking
3 days ago

Probably my favorite Umstead trail. 95% under the forest canopy, stays nice and cool even in the blazing summer heat which is wonderful for my dogs. Watch your step - lots and lots of tree roots.

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