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Posts Tagged ‘Waterfalls’

Driving Tour: Stunning Waterfalls in NC That Involve No Hiking

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Want to see the great outdoors without actually hiking? Kidding Around’s Kristina loves hunting out great waterfalls. She’s created this amazing driving tour packed full of stops where you can see waterfalls without hiking. It’s a perfect day trip activity. She even included a map with all the stops. So fire up that GPS or pop open your favorite map app and get going!

Looking for more waterfalls?
đź’§Love waterfalls? Here’s our list of Waterfalls in the Southeast with great hiking in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennesse.
đź’§Also, if you happen to just love waterfalls like we do and are looking for opportunities to keep them clean and pristine, look into volunteering at any of these outdoor places.

There are few places I’d rather be on the weekends than hiking with my kids to some spectacular waterfall. I’ve done a lot of them and plan lots more. But sometimes hiking a few, or more, miles just isn’t happening. But waterfalls? Yes, I still want to see them!

So if you have the grandparents on board and can’t hike or if there is no way you are listening to kids whine for two hours in the woods or for whatever reason you aren’t hiking, we’ve put together an epic (yes, this is epic) waterfall tour in North Carolina for the ultimate day trip that will kill it on your Instagram feed.

If you need more fun in Western NC, see our big Guide to WNC!

North Carolina Waterfall Driving Tour Map

Just beyond the South Carolina/North Carolina border lies the “Land of the Waterfalls” – it’s true, there is an actual sign that says this – so this is where our epic tour takes you. And because we love our readers and want to make things super easy, we also put together a map of the tour!

I suggest you pack a lot of snacks, drinks, lunch, and some car entertainment since you will have to spend time on the road, even though the drive through the mountains is gorgeous.

You can do this tour starting at either the first or the last waterfall as it takes about the same amount of time as well.

Looking Glass Falls

This waterfall is huge and gorgeous. It’s been on my list since I saw an incredible shot of the falls frozen during the winter. I was really hoping to catch the same photo when I went but it wasn’t cold enough. However, ice did cover the stairs at the very bottom of the falls and the surrounding trees, branches and rocks. It was awesome.

You can literally see the falls from the car but park it anyways, get out and if you have people who are willing and able to walk down the stairs, you can get a close-up view. But if not, you will still get to see the falls in all their glory.

Directions

From Greenville, take 276 W to 25 N and take Exit 5 to 25 N. Take Crab Creek Road to 64 W in Brevard and then take 276 N into Pisgah National Forest. The falls will be on your right.

Sliding Rock

Right down the street from Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest is the popular summer destination of Sliding Rock. During the winter, there is no one there and you don’t have to pay to enter (during the summer season, it is $5/person).

You can see Sliding Rock from the top where the bathrooms are located and it’s a short walk down the stairs to the platform that overlooks the gigantic natural waterslide.

The pool is about eight feet deep and during the summer there are lifeguards to keep everyone safe. It’s a sight to see though!

Directions

From Looking Glass Falls, keep going on 276 into the forest and Sliding Rock is about four minutes away on the left.

Bridal Veil Falls

It’s about an hour and 20 minutes from Sliding Rock to Bridal Veil Falls in between Cashiers and Highlands but the drive along 64 is gorgeous. And you can go through Brevard if you like and grab lunch (I’d suggest Square Root for higher end cuisine or grab some delicious pastries and bread to make sandwiches at the Bracken Mountain Bakery) to space out the trip and fuel up. We also love stopping at the original O.P. Taylors toy store in downtown Brevard.

Bridal Veil Falls is literally on the side of the road. You could even stay in your car and see this beautiful 60-foot cascading waterfall but really, you should get out because it’s so pretty, especially in the winter when it freezes over occasionally and icicles drop down and make the whole scene ethereal.

You can walk behind this waterfall too, which makes it even cooler. You used to be able to drive behind it but you aren’t allowed anymore.

Directions

Take 276 back to Brevard and make a right on 64 W. Take that all the way through Cashiers and the falls will be about 11.5 from Cashiers on your right.

Dry Falls

A two-minute drive down the road will bring you to Dry Falls on the left. Park in the lot and either use the handicap accessible ramp to go to the overlook or in the warmer months head down to the falls and walk behind them and take photos to make everyone you know jealous.

These falls are huge and loud and incredible. If you are able to walk behind the falls, stay on the path and behind the railing and don’t walk out on the rocks. Waterfalls are dangerous and you don’t want to become a statistic.

If you’re hungry on your way out from Dry Falls, stop at Slabtown Pizza in Cashiers for delicious pizza.

Directions

Stay on 64 W for .8 miles and the falls and parking will be on your left.

Bonus: Lake Jocassee Overlook

I wasn’t expecting this driving to the last waterfall stop so it was a bonus for me. About three miles or so from Whitewater Falls is this overlook that will take your breath away.

You can see all of Lake Jocassee and marvel at the beauty of the gorge. Stop, take photos, have a snack. It’s worth it.  

Directions

It’s on Route 130 from Cashiers to Whitewater Falls. You can’t miss it.

Whitewater Falls

The last waterfall on our list is the biggest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains, standing at a whooping 411 feet tall, cascading down the mountainside in all it’s beautiful glory.

Whitewater Falls is just under 40 minutes from Dry Falls and is totally worth the trip. Even though I promised no hiking, don’t be mad about this quarter-mile paved trail to the falls. The sign says the falls are a half-mile from the parking lot but they mean round trip. The trail is very short and the view is amazing.

If you are ambitious and want to get out energy from the car ride, head to the stairs on the right, which will take you down to the viewing platform where you can see all of Whitewater Falls. It’s a nice little workout getting back up those 154 stairs.

Directions

From Dry Falls, go east on 64, hang a right at the center of Cashiers onto 107 South, and then make a left onto 130 North and follow signs to the falls. It’s about 25 miles total.

For other wheelchair accessible/short walk/roadside waterfalls around Western NC, see Blue Ridge Mountain Life Wheelchair Waterfalls and this list of roadside waterfalls.

For more waterfalls, see our Guide to the Southeast’s Best Waterfalls.

Find the Most Jaw-Dropping Waterfalls Near Greenville, SC

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Are you wondering where to go to find some beautiful waterfalls without traveling too far from Greenville, SC? You’re in luck because we have gathered all the information you need about finding waterfalls close to home, all in one handy place! Whether you want to take in a waterfall while enjoying a long hike or a waterfall that you can view with very little effort, local mom Kristina has all the details right here!

Waterfalls near Greenville, SC

Waterfalls can be quite magical and we have so, so many near us in the Upstate. Waterfalls are beautiful any time of year also – surrounded by wildflowers in the spring, framed by greenery over the summer and perfect for swimming, delivering fall colors in autumn, and showing off (some) frozen beauty in winter.

It is incredibly important for your own safety and for the safety of your family, EMTs, and rescuers, to never play at the top or sides of a waterfall, even for a second or to get an Insta-worthy photo. Those rocks are slippery and many people have unfortunately lost their lives at waterfalls in our area.

For important tips on recreating responsibly, please see this story on the seven Leave No Trace principles.

Below are some of our favorite waterfalls near the Upstate, SC. But, if you love waterfalls you’ll want to take a look at this list of Waterfalls of the Southeast, loaded with waterfall hikes in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

Waterfalls in & near Greenville, SC

Falls Park

You don’t have to go far to see the first waterfalls on this list. Pack a picnic, relax on the nearby swings, or take a walk through Falls Park on the Reedy River in downtown Greenville and see the beautiful waterfalls that run right through our beautiful city.

South Main Street and Camperdown Way
Greenville, SC

Distance from Greenville: 0 minutes – it is located downtown

Waterfall at Falls Park in downtown Greenville.

Raven Cliff Falls

Take the two-mile long Raven Cliff Falls trail to view the gorgeous 420-ft Raven Cliff Falls from an overlook at Caesar’s Head State Park. There are also a variety of hiking trails within that park and the surrounding Mountain Bridge Wilderness.

Or if you’re a more experienced hiker, take the Dismal Trail to get to the suspension bridge that goes over the falls. It’s a tough 8+ mile loop but worth it.

8155 Geer Hwy
Cleveland, SC

Distance from Greenville: ~hour

View of Raven Cliff Falls with fall foliage.

Jones Gap State Park

Known for its natural scenery, this 300 acre park is perfect for a relaxing day of exploration – and waterfall viewing of course. One of the more popular trails leads uphill to the stunning Rainbow Falls. It’s a strenuous trail but there are other waterfalls that are along the main trail.

This is a hugely popular park that now requires reserved parking ($5) on weekends in addition to the entrance fee.

303 Jones Gap Road
Marietta, SC

Distance from Greenville: ~an hour

Station Cove Falls

This waterfall in Oconee County near Hwy 11 is so, so stunning. It’s a big waterfall towering high dripping water from hundreds of small ledges. It’s also a very easy hike, about 1.5 miles round trip.

State Rd S-37-95
Walhalla, SC

Distance from Greenville: an hour and 10 minutes

People sitting near the base of Station Cove Falls.
Station Cove Falls

Chau Ram County Park

A little over an hour from Greenville, Chau Ram Park is called South Carolina’s “Best Kept Secret” by the Oconee County Recreation and Tourism Department. There is a 40 foot waterfall at Ramsey Creek plus the county’s longest suspension bridge here. You can also swim, hike and camp, all for only $2 per car load.

1220 Chau Ram Park Road
Westminster, SC

Distance from Greenville: an hour + 5 minutes

Table Rock State Park

Table Rock contains lots of awesome waterfalls easily accessible from the many trails that wind through this beautiful park. Trails are not stroller-friendly so be sure to either bring a baby carrier if you’ve got a little one or sturdy shoes for the younger kids. There is a fee to enter the park if you don’t have a park pass.

158 Ellison Lane
Pickens, SC

Distance from Greenville: ~45 minutes

Yellow Branch Falls

Located in Walhalla near Isaqueena Falls, Yellow Branch Falls are amazing. The falls are huge and picturesque and just a beautiful place to visit. This is a popular waterfall and trail so again, get there early if you want to experience it with less people.

2911-3023 Highlands Hwy
Walhalla, SC

Distance from Greenville: ~an hour + 10 minutes

Looking Glass Falls

This wildly popular waterfall is right on the side of the road off 276 in Pisgah Forest in Brevard. We’ve seen it in every season and our favorite has been over the winter when it’s been partially frozen. No hiking is involved but you can take the stairs and ramps down to the bottom for some great photos.

Hwy 276, Brevard, NC
Distance from Greenville:
~an hour + 20 minutes

Wildcat Wayside

This one is perfect for smaller kids to splash around in a waterfall without any of the hiking. The waterfall is literally on the side of the road on SC 11 in Cleveland, SC as you drive towards Table Rock from Greenville. There is an easy mile loop trail if you’d like to hike.

Heading north on Route 11, the trail and pull-off parking are on the right side of the road.

SC 11
Cleveland, SC

Distance from Greenville: ~38 minutes

Waterfall at wildcat Wayside.
Wildcat Wayside

Issaqueena Falls

Located in Oconee County, Issaqueena Falls is located at the end of a short walk through what is known as Stumphouse Tunnel, which was originally constructed in 1852 to connect Charleston to Knoxville but was halted because of a lack of money.

As for the waterfalls, “legend has it that the falls is named for an Indian maiden, Issaqueena, who warning the white settlers of an Indian attack, was then chased by Indians and she appeared to jump over the falls. By actually hiding behind the falls (or some legend-tellers say she hid behind a stump, hence Stumphouse Tunnel), she tricked her pursuers and survived.”

And be sure to read KAG contributor Deidre Smith’s review of Stumphouse Tunnel and Issaqeena Falls.

Hwy 28
Walhalla, SC

Distance from Greenville: an hour + 10 minutes

Wright Creek Falls

This is an extra special waterfall since you can only get there by boat. It’s on Lake Jocassee and you can access the lake through Devils Fork State Park. Here’s a map of the waterfalls at this stunning lake. There is a fee to enter the park.

161 Holcombe Circle
Salem, SC

Distance from Greenville: Devils Fork Park is an hour + 20 minutes plus another hour to 90 minutes of paddling (or take a boat through Jocassee Lake Rentals)

Spoonauger Falls

This family-friendly hike is located near Mountain Rest, SC, close to the Georgia border. The hike to the falls is an easy 0.3-mile hike, so it is perfect for families with small children. Once there, you can check out salamanders and small fish in the pools and discover the falls towering above!

Spoonauger Falls
Near Mountain Rest, SC
Ellicott Rock Wilderness

Distance from Greenville: 1 hour 55 minutes from Downtown Greenville.

Rainbow Falls at Gorges State Park

This is a different Rainbow Falls than at Jones Gap. You’ll have to travel into NC to see this beauty! If you’re lucky, you’ll get to the see the rainbow that gives it its name. The hike is a moderate 4 mile roundtrip hike.

Gorges State Park
976 Grassy Ridge Road, Sapphire, NC

Distance from Greenville: 90 minutes

Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

If you’re looking for even more waterfalls, because really, who isn’t, then head over to our article on the North Carolina no-hike waterfall tour.

Find More Waterfalls to Explore!

Our huge guide to waterfalls of the southeast tells you all about waterfalls you can hike to in the Georgia mountains, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. They make a beautiful day trip or addition to a family getaway.

Did we miss your favorite waterfall?  If so, please use the comments to share your best spot!

Take a Boat Ride on the Highest Lake East of the Mississippi River at Lake Glenville, NC

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You can explore Lake Glenville, the highest elevation lake in the Eastern US, in Jackson County, North Carolina by boat with Lake Glenville Scenic Scenic Waterfall Cruises. We did the beautiful boat tour and will tell you all you need to know to enjoy the scenic lake.
We have information about Lake Glenville, including:
What you’ll see on the waterfall tour
Tips for your boat trip
How to book your waterfall tour

Lake Glenville in Jackson County, North Carolina

Thanks to Jackson County, North Carolina for hosting us and providing the opportunity to take the boat tour.

There’s something really special about mountain lakes. Maybe it’s that crisp mountain air, the ancient hills that loom in the distance, that clear water – whatever it is, that’s where I want to be. So when I had the opportunity to take a boat tour with Captain Mark and his scenic boat cruise on Lake Glenville – the only boat tour company that operates on the lake – I was all in. We got to see waterfalls, a bald eagle nest, and enjoy the beauty of the lake. Plus, it’s only a short drive from Cashiers, so you can add it to your itinerary when visiting the area.

Man fishing on Lake Glenville
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Waterfalls of the Southeast: Waterfall Hikes for Families

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Looking for waterfalls in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee? Enjoy a hike with waterfall views as a reward, then relax by the sound of rushing water with a snack. Some waterfalls even have pools suitable for wading where you can cool off after a hot summer hike. We’ve put together a list of our favorite waterfall hikes in the southeast! Most of these hikes are great for families to do together, there are even a few that don’t require anything more than a short walk to view the falls.

Waterfalls of the southeast: Family hikes to waterfalls in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina

We split up our list of great waterfall hikes by state. Use the links below to navigate our list!

This article includes:
Waterfall Hikes Near Me: Just Right For Your Family
Waterfall Hikes in South Carolina
Waterfall Hikes in North Carolina
Waterfall Hikes in Tennessee
Waterfall Hikes in Georgia

Remember, exploring waterfalls can be dangerous with slippery rocks and drop-offs. Obey all signage and always use caution.

Rainbow at Rainbow Falls in NC.

Find the Best Waterfalls For You

No hiking waterfalls

Waterfalls to see with no hiking, NC

If you love waterfalls but need to avoid hikes, try our Waterfall Driving Tour! Many of the waterfalls can be viewed from the road, or require just a short walk down paved paths, perfect for families with small children and those with mobility concerns.

Waterfalls for families with babies and toddlers

Musgrove Mill

Not all waterfall hikes require miles of strenuous hiking. Our guide to the Best Hikes for Toddlers and Young Children includes many beautiful waterfalls like Wildcat Wayside, Pearson’s Falls, and Yellow Branch Falls.

Waterfalls for new hikers

Carrick Creek waterfall

New to hiking? There are waterfall hikes for you too! Check out the trails on our Newbie Guide to Hiking in the Upstate.

Don’t miss our Ultimate Guide to Hiking in the Upstate.

South Carolina Waterfall Hikes: Waterfalls in SC

Here’s our list of waterfalls in South Carolina. These are gorgeous spots that our families have loved to visit again and again. Pack a picnic, and throw in a beach towel. You’re not going to want to miss any of these!

Waterfalls near Greenville, SC

Greenville, SC Waterfalls: Discover Magical Waterfalls near Greenville SC in our guide. Whether you want to take in a waterfall while enjoying a long hike or a waterfall that you can view with very little effort, local mom Kristina has all the details!

Waterfalls at Laurel Fork Heritage Preserve

Sunset, SC

The beautiful Laurel Fork Heritage preserve is worth the drive, even if you never intend on getting out of the car, although I encourage you to. There are several hiking trails and roadside waterfalls. Depending on recent rainfall, one might be sufficient to splash around in. The over 1,300-acre preserve is an easy place to get away from everything.

Beech Bottom Falls

F Van Clayton Memorial Hwy
Sunset, SC

Not far from Laurel Fork H.P. and on the way to Sassafras Mountain, you’ll see the Beech Bottom Falls trailhead parking lot for the falls. This is an easy two-mile round-trip hike to an observation deck that overlooks the falls. 

Twin Falls

Water Falls Rd
Sunset, SC

This is an easy hike that is only a ÂĽ of a mile. There are places to splash in the water, but please use caution. While these falls are beautiful, they are also dangerous if you are trying to climb up on the rocks. 

Waterfalls at Twin Falls Pickens
Twin Falls in Pickens, SC

Spoonauger Falls

Burrells Ford Rd
Mountain Rest, SC

Spoonauger Falls is a 50-foot waterfall reached by just a short trail from Burrells Ford Road located in the Ellicott Rock Wilderness. At just 0.3 miles to reach the base of the waterfall, it’s a perfect excursion for a family with small children.

View of a large waterfall
Spoonauger Falls/ Photo Credit: Liene Kukainis

King Creek Falls

Long Creek
South Carolina

King Creek Falls can be accessed from the Burrells Ford campground, from the parking area on Burrells Ford Road, and also while through-hiking the Foothills Trail. If you’re staying in the campground, the hike can be as short as a one-mile round-trip. If you’re coming in from the parking area, the hike is closer to 1.5-2 miles, depending on which trail you take. But since the trail climbs steadily up towards the waterfall, even that ½ mile can be hard for shorter legs when it’s a hot summer day – which is why the pool at the base of King Creek Falls is a perfect reward.

Boys playing at the base of a waterfall at King Creek Falls
King Creek Falls / Photo Credit: Liene Kukainis

Rainbow Falls – Jones Gap State Park

303 Jones Gap Road
Marietta, SC

The trail to Rainbow Falls is around 2.5 miles one-way, mostly up in a staircase manner. Plan to spend plenty of time wading at the base of the falls with a picnic in tow. Hiking alone may take 4-5 hours depending on the ages and abilities of your kids, plus picnicking time.

While this is a strenuous hike, there are no major dangers on the trail itself (other than the falls, of course) it is simply sweat-inducing, and the falls are worth it!

Rainbow Falls at Jones Gap State Park
Rainbow Falls at Jones Gap

Jones Gap Falls – Jones Gap State Park

303 Jones Gap Road
Marietta, SC

Jones Gap Falls is a round-trip 2.6-mile hike along a river that ends at a fan waterfall splashing over a 50-foot drop, spilling over a staircase of granite ledges. Pack a picnic and plan to spend a few hours on this lovely trail with your kiddos. The trail is so beautiful that if your kids couldn’t stick it out to the falls, nothing would be lost alongside that gorgeous river.

Jones Gap Falls at Jones Gap State Park
Jones Gap Falls

Issaqueena Falls

Walhalla, SC

Issaqueena Falls is a short hike from Stumphouse Tunnel through a covered bridge to an observation deck for viewing a lower area of the falls. 

There is a path that continued past the observation deck, but parents should be aware that it isn’t a maintained trail and poses safety concerns. There have been several deaths and many accidents at this waterfall so be careful and aware of your surroundings even on the marked trails.

Horseshoe Falls – Musgrove Mill State Historic Site

Horseshoe Falls Rd
Enoree, SC

Horseshoe Falls is located at the start of the Battlefield Trail at Musgrove Mill State Historic Site. It is a very short walk from the parking lot and is accessible by wheelchair.

Hikers of the battlefield trail will continue on past the falls, where the trail is no longer paved. The battlefield trail is a 1.3-mile loop, with frequent signage that describes the backcountry’s role in the Revolutionary War.

Horseshoe Falls at Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
Horseshoe Falls at Musgrove Mill State Historic Site

Blue Wall Preserve

Landrum, SC

Blue Wall Preserve is a 575-acre preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy and has stunning views of the Blue Ridge mountains. The trails are well-defined, and at the back end of the 3.4-mile loop, you will be rewarded with a waterfall.

Blue Wall Preserve waterfall
The waterfall at Blue Wall Preserve

Raven Cliff Falls – Caesars Head State Park

8155 Geer Hwy
Cleveland, SC

Getting to Raven Cliff Falls at Caesars Head State Park is a long and arduous trek along a few different trails, but if you have the kids with you and prefer something more manageable, you still have the option to see the falls from afar. Start at the Raven Cliff Falls parking lot and take the Raven Cliff Falls trail about 2 miles out to an overlook where you can view the falls in all their glory.

Raven Cliff Falls at Caesars Head State Park
Raven Cliff Falls at Caesars Head

Carrick Creek Falls – Table Rock State Park

158 Ellison Lane
Pickens, SC

The Carrick Creek Trail at Table Rock State Park begins at the Nature Center. It starts out paved and immediately opens up to the beautiful Carrick Creek Falls where your kiddos can wade around in a cool, shallow lagoon fed by a cascading waterfall.

Beyond that, the pavement ends and the trail becomes a bit more moderate as it follows the creek for a while and then loops around back to the falls for a grand total of two miles. You and your kids will enjoy traveling alongside the creek as the rushing water drops over boulders and slides along ledges, creating an amazing backdrop for a hike.

Carrick Creek waterfall
The waterfall at Carrick Creek

Riley Moore Falls

Riley Moore Falls Trail
Westminster, SC

Riley Moore Falls is a waterfall at the end of a short trail with a small beach. It’s a beautiful place but be aware some people are careless with their trash at this location, unfortunately. The trail is about two miles and starts at the end of the forestry road.

Riley Moore Falls
Riley Moore Falls

Wildcat Wayside

US 276/SC 11
Cleveland, SC

This waterfall, swimming hole, and trail are located right off SC 11 in Cleveland. There are stone steps leading up to the trails – the Wildcat Wayside loop is an easy mile.

Heading north on Route 11, the trail and pull-off parking area are located on the right side of the road. There is a brown wooden sign that says Wildcat Wayside, but it is easy to miss. It’s about 5 miles north of the 276/11 intersection.

Waterfall at Wildcat Wayside
Wildcat Wayside

Yellow Branch Falls

Walhalla, SC

A moderate three-mile round trip hike near Walhalla with a beautiful waterfall payoff. Parking is trailside on the road. This one is fairly popular so try to get there early in the day to get a parking spot.

waterfall at Yellow Branch Falls
Yellow Branch Falls

Station Cove Falls

State Rd S-37-95
Walhalla, SC

Station Cove is an easy trail less than two miles round trip that has a huge, beautiful waterfall. It’s located at Oconee Station State Historic Site and is an easy trail perfect for little kids.

Waterfall at Station Cove Falls
Station Cove Falls

North Carolina Waterfall Hikes: Waterfalls in NC

Waterfalls in North Carolina are stunning. Wonderful family day trips have been made by these waterfalls, and we know you’ll love them, too!

Sapphire Valley, Land of the Waterfalls

Cashiers, NC

Kidding Around’s Kristina visited Sapphire Valley with her family and discovered why it is nicknamed, “Land of the Waterfalls.” She has all the details on the numerous waterfall hikes in this beautiful area in her article Sapphire Valley.

Sliding Rock
Sliding Rock

Waterfalls of DuPont State Recreational Forest

Staton Rd
Cedar Mountain, NC

With its 900 miles of hiking trails, six major waterfalls, and over 10,000 acres of forest, DuPont State Forest is a showcase of some of the most fabulous scenery in western NC, just an hour from Greenville! KAG Contributor Liene tells us all about the best waterfalls hikes in Dupont State Forest.

Waterfalls at Triple Falls, Dupont State Forest
Waterfalls at Triple Falls, Dupont State Forest

Catawba Falls [Reopens May 31, 2024]

3074 Catawba River Rd
Old Fort, NC

This trail east of Asheville is a fantastic trail for families because it’s not long and ends at a stunning waterfall. Total mileage is around 2.5 miles and it’s a fairly easy trail.

Pearson’s Falls

2748 Pearson’s Falls Rd
Saluda, NC

Located in Saluda, NC this trail to Pearson’s Falls is a moderate, .75 mile hike through a botanical preserve. Most of the trail is made up of a stone stairway going up to the falls. The falls and the pond at the base of the falls are not accessible to the public, but there are multiple wading pools among the rocks at the top of the trail that are perfect for cooling off little feet on hot days.

waterfall at pearsons falls
Waterfall at Pearsons Falls

Little Bradley Falls

Holbert Cove Road
Saluda, NC

To reach Little Bradley Falls, hikers can park at a gravel pull-off on Holbert Cove Road, which is about three miles from exit 59 on I-26. There are no signs, but the hike to Little Bradley starts on the opposite side of the road from the main parking area, across the bridge on the east side of Cove Creek.

The trail is a 2.4 mile out and back moderate hike across boulders and through streams. It ends at the 35-foot, triple-tiered waterfall that feeds into a large pool at the bottom, perfect for wading and cooling off on a hot summer day. 

Little Bradley Falls
Little Bradley Falls

Moore Cove Falls

Brevard, NC

The trailhead to the Moore Cove Falls Trail is between Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock in the Pisgah Forest on 276. If you’re coming from Brevard, the trailhead will be on your right.

To get to the falls, just cross the bridge and head up the stairs to the right. The trail is well-marked and has a few creek crossings and bridges. It is about 1.2 miles round trip and is great for families with smaller kids since you don’t need to work hard to see a beautiful sight!

Moore Cove Falls
Moore Cove Falls

Hickory Nut Falls

431 Main Street
Chimney Rock, NC

The trail to Hickory Nut Falls at Chimney Rock State Park is a 1.4-mile round trip moderate hike. The waterfall at the end is an epic 404-foot-high beauty that was featured in the film, “The Last of the Mohicans.”

Hike to the waterfall at Chimney Rock in North Carolina
Hickory Nut Falls at Chimney Rock

Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls at Gorges State Park

976 Grassy Ridge Road
Sapphire, NC

Rainbow Falls at Gorges State Park is one of my favorite waterfalls and trails in our area. The waterfall is enormous, and you can get a really good view from the overlook on the trail or you can take a smaller trail down to the bottom of the falls (just be careful). 

But if you keep going another quarter-mile from those falls, you’ll come to more waterfalls. Turtleback Falls isn’t as stunning but it’s really fun. It’s a great place to cool off and go for a swim before heading back to the trailhead. 

The trail is about four miles round trip and of moderate difficulty. The hike back is harder and more uphill than the hike to the waterfalls.

Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

Whitewater Falls

NC 281
Cashiers, NC

Cascading more than 800 feet tall, Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall in the Eastern United States – and it’s easily accessible just over the border into North Carolina and close to Gorges State Park.

The trail is a paved quarter-mile walk that gets you to the overlook of the falls. You can go down a stairway to get a closer view.

Waterfall at Whitewater Falls
Whitewater Falls

Looking Glass Falls

US-276
Brevard, NC

Right off 276 in Pisgah Forest in North Carolina, you can see this stunning waterfall from the road. It is beautiful and loud and amazing. If it’s really cold, Looking Glass Falls has iced over in the past, making it a winter wonderland.

It’s very close to Brevard, about 15 minutes away in the forest. Park on the shoulder of the road and you can walk down to the bottom on the path and stairs.

Waterfall at Looking Glass Falls
Looking Glass Falls

Mingo Falls

Eastern Cherokee Reservation
Cherokee, NC

Located in Cherokee, NC, the hike to Mingo Falls involves climbing a lot of stairs. I think it’s worth it because the waterfall is beautiful. It’s a great stop if you’re near the Great Smoky Mountains.

High Falls

358-1486 State Rd 1158
Glenville, NC

Also in North Carolina near Cashiers is High Falls. The waterfall is located below the dam of Lake Glenville and the dam releases water a few times a year which kayakers really love. The trail is of moderate difficulty and under four miles round trip.

Waterfall Keepers

Waterfall Keepers is a nonprofit that seeks to protect the natural beauty and landscape of waterfalls in Western NC. Read more about how you can help protect our waterfalls. Get your kids learning about the environment by signing them up for the Junior Waterfall Keepers program!

Tennessee Waterfall Hikes

Mouse Creek Falls

Hartford, TN

Mouse Creek Falls can be accessed via Big Creek Trail, a 4-mile moderate hike along a river. While you’re in the area, check out the gorgeous Midnight Hole Lagoon!

Cataract Falls

Sevier County, TN

In the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, there is a one-mile round trip easy nature trail you can take along a creek that goes to the small but pretty Cataract Falls. It’s perfect for families with small kids.

Georgia Waterfall Hikes: Waterfalls in GA

The mountains of Northern Georgia are full of beautiful waterfalls. Below are some of our family favorites. These are waterfalls in Georiga that you just shouldn’t miss.

Anna Ruby Falls

Helen, GA

Anna Ruby Falls is actually a spectacular double waterfall, as two waterfalls combine to form Smith Creek. The down-and-back trail to the falls is paved, with a moderate incline at times, as it follows the boulder-lined creek to the falls. It’s a very pretty trail, and though short, it’s worth a trip in and of itself. There are multiple overlooks to enjoy the falls for a while before returning back down the trail.

The trail begins at the Anna Ruby Falls visitor center where you will find restrooms and a gift shop, plus scenic picnic areas along the creek.

Don’t miss the Alpine town of Helen, GA while you are in the area. If you’re looking for more hiking, don’t miss nearby Unicoi State Park. The hike around the lake is pretty and family-friendly.

Anna Ruby Falls in Helen, GA
Anna Ruby Falls

Trahlyta Falls

Blairsville, GA

At Vogel State Park, you’ll find a scenic trail around a small lake: Trahlyta Lake. You’ll start at the visitor’s center and as you walk around the lake you’ll come to a spur at the lake’s dam. Take the short spur trail down and you’ll quickly come to Trahlyta Falls. After viewing the falls you’ll walk back up the spur trail to finish the trail around the lake. The trail around the lake is mainly gravel and flat, while the spur trail to the falls is a bit steep on the way back up.

There are lots of other fun things to do in Blairsville, GA, too!

Trahlyta Falls at Vogel State Park in Georgia
Trahlyta Falls

Long Creek Falls

Blue Ridge, GA

The trail to Long Creek Falls is an easy 1.9-mile hike. Want to say you’ve walked some of the Appalachian Trail with your family? The Long Creek Falls Trail combines with the AT and the Benton Mackaye Trail for most of the hike until it veers off to the falls. The signage to the falls is very clear, so you won’t end up hiking all the way to Maine.

The falls itself is beautiful with a nice area to relax, enjoy a snack on a rock, or even string up a hammock and enjoy the afternoon.

Note that the trailhead for Long Creek Falls is off of a gravel road. You’ll need to drive on gravel Forest Service Road 40 for about 5 miles once you turn off the main road, Doublehead Gap Road. We did this drive in a minivan. We likely would not have been able to make the drive had there been recent rain and the road was wet. 4×4 vehicles are generally recommended on the forest service roads, although we did see many 2-wheel drive cars using the service road. Go slow and watch for potholes and larger rocks in the road.

Long Creek Falls and AT trail signage
Long Creek Falls

Fall Branch Falls

Blue Ridge, GA

The trail to Fall Branch Falls is only 0.9 miles. It’s a down-and-back trail that is very heavily trafficked. It’s an easy hike for families with children, and the drive is nearly all on paved roads, with just the last tenth of a mile or so on gravel. Fall Branch Falls has several cascades and then a 30-foot drop into the pool. There is an observation deck right beside the pool. These things make the Fall Branch Falls trail pretty popular. The parking area is also a very short walk away from a pretty mountain creek you should check out before or after your hike to the falls.

The trail to Fall Branch Falls sees a lot of traffic. Please stay on the trail and notice the places where hikers have cut off parts of the switchback by going off-trail. These areas show significant erosion. Check out our article on Leave No Trace to learn about caring for trails and nature.

Fall Branch Falls
Fall Branch Falls

What is your favorite waterfall to explore?

20+ Natural Swimming Holes Near Greenville, SC: Beautiful and Refreshing

Looking for a swimming hole near Greenville, SC to cool off in the South Carolina heat? We love swimming holes because they are great for swimming, wading and splashing in nature. If you’re wondering “where are the swimming holes near me?” you’re in luck, because these lakes, rivers, and creeks are the perfect spots to get wet on a hot summer day.

Pack a few beach towels and your bathing suits and head to a nearby swimming hole to cool off!

Jump into the crystal clear water, find a hidden gem swimming beach, glide on a rope swing into a natural pool. All this and more is waiting at swimming holes near Greenville, SC.

Are swimming holes better than swimming pools? We’ll let you decide.

If you’re looking for more options, don’t miss our huge guide Where to Cool Off, Splash, and Swim in Upstate, SC. It also includes splash pads, water parks, and pools.

This article includes Swimming Holes “Great Places to Swim Near Me”:
Swimming Holes in South Carolina
Lake Keowee public access parks
Lake Jocassee public access parks
Lake Hartwell at Twelve Mile Recreation Area
Long Shoals Wayside Park
Wildcat Wayside
Cedar Shoals Creek, Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
Chau Ram County Park
Campbell’s Covered Bridge
Pleasant Ridge County Park
Lake Placid, Paris Mountain State Park
Pinnacle Lake, Table Rock State Park
Oconee State Park

Swimming Holes in North Carolina
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
Midnight Hole
Graveyard Fields
Schoolhouse Falls
Silver Run Falls
Sliding Rock in Cashiers
Gorges State Park

What? That’s not enough swimming holes for you?

If you love swimming holes and want more, here’s a great list of Swimming Holes in North Georgia. Pack a lunch and make it an awesome day trip adventure!

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King Creek Falls: Hike along the Chattooga River to a 70-foot Tiered Waterfall in South Carolina

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One of the best waterfall hikes around is King Creek Falls. SC only has a couple of accessible waterfalls that you can hike up to, so this waterfall is worth the trek. The hike to this 70-foot waterfall is 1 to 2 miles depending on your starting point. The waterfall’s reward is great for kids, with a pool fit for splashing and exploring. Find out all the details about this hike, how to find it, and where to park below.

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