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Finest Waterfall Hikes Close to Asheville


Recognized for its artsy vibe, craft beer and the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a dream vacation spot for journey lovers. Chasing waterfalls is among the finest methods to discover the areas surrounding this iconic mountain city. From the Blue Ridge Parkway to cities like Brevard (aka the Land of Waterfalls), you’ll discover an abundance of lovely and numerous cascades.

Don’t write off chasing waterfalls on overcast days and even wet ones. The paths are usually much less crowded, and plenty of waterfalls turn into extra highly effective when it rains. Pack a great rain jacket (together with different day-hike necessities) and hit the paths! Rocks, stairs, boardwalks, and many others. will be slippery when moist, so be cautious and put on waterproof sneakers with good traction. 

Listed here are a few of our favourite waterfall hikes close to Asheville. Know that this checklist is just the start—there are a whole bunch of waterfalls within the space! Additionally, verify native climbing occasions with REI for extra alternatives to get exterior and join with different hikers. 
 

  • Location: Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 339.5, 50 miles northeast of Asheville 
  • Size: 2.6-mile loop 
  • Issue: Reasonable 
  • Canine: Leashed 

Please be aware: Test for street closures alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway in case you plan to do that hike in the course of the cooler months (significantly November–March).  

A visit to Asheville wouldn’t be full with out visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway, and also you may as nicely hike to certainly one of North Carolina’s most stunning waterfalls whereas there. Crabtree Falls is a surprising 70-foot-tall cascading waterfall that deserves a spot on the high of your North Carolina waterfall bucket checklist. The falls are tucked deep within the forest, which makes this already picturesque spot even higher for photographers because the dense forest blocks direct daylight from hitting the water all through many of the day.  

Situated at milepost 339.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the path begins on the Crabtree Falls Campground. Essential Disclaimer: Looking “Crabtree Falls” in Google Maps gained’t take you to the right location. Double-check that your instructions finish at milepost 339.5 on the parkway—you must see the campground close by on the map. Service on the parkway tends to be spotty, so affirm this earlier than heading out or obtain maps to make use of offline. 

The path is steep, rocky and will be slippery in some areas, so take your time. Trekking poles turn out to be useful for this sort of terrain. Because it’s a loop, you may go clockwise or counterclockwise. Both approach, you’ll hike all the way down to the waterfall and end by going uphill. Going counterclockwise (beginning at Loop A and ending at Loop B) leads to a steeper downhill descent and a extra gradual uphill climb again to the trailhead. Additionally, it’s price noting that this can be a standard hike alongside the parkway. Go early in case you want to keep away from crowds. 
 

  • Location: Pisgah Nationwide Forest, 35 miles southwest of Asheville 
  • Size: 0.3-mile round-trip out-and-back 
  • Issue: Straightforward 
  • Canine: Leashed 

You may’ve observed that a number of waterfalls on this checklist are in Pisgah Nationwide Forest, which encompasses over 500,000 acres and is a superb vacation spot for exploring waterfalls. Wanting Glass Waterfalls is maybe probably the most well-known within the nationwide forest. This 60-foot-waterfall is roadside, making it a great possibility for all ages. There’s an statement deck by the street, or you may take the steps all the way down to the decrease statement deck to get a better look. Because of its reputation, discovering parking is usually a problem. Nonetheless, parking turnover needs to be excessive as it’s a temporary stroll all the way down to the waterfall. 

Whilst you’re within the space, cease by the Cradle of Forestry simply up the street, the place you may admire historic buildings and be taught concerning the historical past and evolution of forestry. If you wish to hit one other waterfall close by, try Moore Cove Falls (subsequent on this checklist). Hike the Wanting Glass Rock Path or John Rock Path Loop (each are shut by) for spectacular mountain views. Any of those choices mixed with Wanting Glass Waterfalls makes for the proper day journey to Brevard. 
 

  • Location: Pisgah Nationwide Forest, 35 miles southwest of Asheville 
  • Size: 1.2-mile round-trip out-and-back 
  • Issue: Straightforward 
  • Canine: Leashed 

Not too removed from Wanting Glass Waterfalls, you’ll discover the trailhead for Moore Cove Falls alongside U.S. Freeway 276. At simply 1.2 miles spherical journey, this can be a nice possibility for climbing with children. The truth that you may stroll behind this 50-foot waterfall makes it much more attractive. 

To entry the trailhead, park by the street within the designated space alongside U.S. Freeway 276. The informational signal and footbridge are two markers that point out you’re on the trailhead. To begin the hike, cross over the footbridge and proceed alongside the path. You’ll stroll by way of the forest on mild terrain for 0.6 miles to achieve the waterfall. The path is well-marked and properly maintained. 

Moore Cove Falls is most spectacular after it rains, as a result of it considerably will increase its water circulate. This waterfall is a superb possibility for low season climbing when a lot of the Blue Ridge Parkway tends to be closed. Once more, the Wanting Glass Rock Path or John Rock Path Loop are nice close by choices for tacking on further mileage and reaching gorgeous mountain vistas. 
 

  • Location: Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 418.8, 35 miles southwest of Asheville 
  • Size: 3.2-mile loop 
  • Issue: Reasonable 
  • Canine: Leashed 

Please be aware: Test for street closures alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway in case you plan to do that hike in the course of the cooler months (significantly November–March).  

Graveyard Fields is one other must-see spot alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway. Don’t let the identify idiot you—it’s certainly a waterfall hike. In actual fact, there are two scenic waterfalls on this space: Second/Decrease Falls and Higher Falls.  

To finish the Graveyard Fields Loop Path, find the wood path signal by the car parking zone and take the steps to the paved path. After strolling by way of a dense patch of rhododendron for a couple of minutes, you’ll discover that the path opens up. There are just a few footbridges that take you over Yellowstone Prong—the stream that feeds each waterfalls. Proceed straight alongside the boardwalk till you attain an intersection. Take a proper to get to the bottom of Second/Decrease Falls, which you’ll attain after climbing simply one-third of a mile. There are fairly just a few stairs, but it surely’s price it.  

After having fun with this waterfall, retrace your steps again to the intersection and take the path towards Graveyard Fields/Higher Falls to achieve Higher Falls: This places you on the northern part of the Graveyard Fields Loop. The path to Higher Falls isn’t well-marked, and there are a number of intersections, so it’s a good suggestion to familiarize your self with the loop earlier than climbing. Be looking out for blueberries as you head from Second/Decrease Falls to Higher Falls in case you go in mid to late August! In your approach again to the car parking zone from Higher Falls, flip proper to return through the decrease part of the Graveyard Fields Loop Path. 

If you wish to spend the day exploring this area of the Blue Ridge Mountains, add Black Balsam Knob and Satan’s Courthouse to your itinerary. These two quick hikes supply breathtaking mountain views proper down the street from Graveyard Fields. In case you don’t thoughts crowds (finest averted by visiting early and on weekdays), early October is a superb time to go to for an opportunity to catch some unbelievable fall colours.  
 

  • Location: Pisgah Nationwide Forest, 41 miles northeast of Asheville 
  • Size: 0.7-mile round-trip out-and-back 
  • Issue: Straightforward 
  • Canine: Leashed 

This quick but rewarding hike leads you to a formidable 80-foot-tall waterfall. To get to the trailhead, drive 1.3 miles after turning off U.S. Route 221 onto Huskins Department Street. You’ll discover a small car parking zone and bulletin board. Take the trail from the parking space, which parallels the creek to the waterfall. The path is extensive, and the dense forest will shield you from the solar within the hotter months. 

You may admire this magnificence from an statement deck or veer to the proper earlier than reaching the statement deck to get a better look. There’s a shallow pool on the base of the waterfall, which is ideal for youths and pets. Pack a picnic and a few water sneakers if you wish to loosen up and dangle round for some time.  

There are a number of different spectacular falls close by, making this space the proper place for a day journey. Choices from this checklist embody Roaring Fork Falls, Linville Falls and Crabtree Falls
 

  • Location: Pisgah Nationwide Forest, 47 miles northeast of Asheville 
  • Size: 1.4-mile round-trip out-and-back 
  • Issue: Straightforward 
  • Canine: Leashed 

Simply 45 minutes from Toms Creek Falls, you discover Roaring Fork Falls—one other family-friendly hike in Pisgah Nationwide Forest. This one isn’t fairly as standard or well-known as a number of the choices alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it surely nonetheless will get an honest quantity of site visitors. Parking is restricted, so go early to safe a spot.  

A short hike alongside a largely flat gravel path will take you to the bottom of this 50-foot-tall cascading waterfall. Images don’t do it justice: You must go in particular person to completely admire the size and water speeding alongside the 100-foot cascade. The pool on the backside isn’t deep sufficient for swimming, however you may definitely get your toes moist. 

There’s one other waterfall hike not included on this checklist about 10 minutes from Roaring Fork Falls known as Setrock Creek Falls. In case you’re up for it, you may as well go to Mount Mitchell State Park and drive to the highest of the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River, Mount Mitchell.  
 

  • Location: Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 316.4, 59 miles northeast of Asheville 
  • Size: 1.7-mile round-trip out-and-back 
  • Issue: Reasonable/Troublesome 
  • Canine: Leashed 

There are a number of methods to entry Linville Falls. Whilst you can’t go flawed regardless of which you select, the Plunge Basin Path presents a number of distinctive viewpoints of this iconic waterfall and tends to be much less crowded than the options.  

You’ll discover the Linville Falls customer middle and restrooms by the trailhead. To begin the hike, take the trail to the left of the restroom amenities. (Don’t stroll by way of the customer middle and cross the bridge, which is the extra apparent path.) The path splits round a 3rd of a mile in, at which level you must veer proper to entry the Plunge Basin Overlook for a fowl’s-eye view of the waterfall. Then, return to the primary path and proceed your descent to the bottom. The hike is brief however has steep sections, in addition to a lot of roots and fallen timber. The path additionally tends to get muddy after rain, so waterproof climbing boots with ankle assist and good traction will turn out to be useful. Please be aware that swimming just isn’t permitted at Linville Falls. If a day journey isn’t sufficient for you, try Linville Falls Campground to spend much more time exploring this part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Linville Gorge. 
 

  • Location: DuPont State Forest, 35 miles southwest of Asheville 
  • Size: 3.3-mile loop 
  • Issue: Reasonable 
  • Canine: Leashed 

With a wide range of hikes for all ages and expertise ranges, DuPont State Leisure Forest is among the finest locations for a day journey from Asheville. Excessive Falls and Triple Falls are two of six waterfalls inside DuPont State Leisure Forest and will be reached through a loop path from the Excessive Falls parking space. The path system in DuPont will be complicated as a result of there are such a lot of trails and intersections, so be sure that to seize a map from the customer middle earlier than heading out in your hike. (They preserve paper maps on the porch.) You may also use the restroom right here and refill your water bottle.   

By following the path clockwise from the Excessive Falls parking space, you’ll first hike to Triple Falls and go Excessive Falls as you end the loop. There may be some elevation achieve when you attain Triple Falls (after a couple of mile), and then you definitely’ll stroll alongside the river till you attain Excessive Falls. Many of the path is shaded. When it comes to terrain, anticipate extensive gravel pathways and packed-down filth. The out-and-back portion to the bottom of Excessive Falls is extra rugged than the remainder of the path, but it surely’s price it to face on the base of the 125-foot-tall waterfall.   

Deal with three waterfalls in someday by including Hooker Falls (named after Edmund Hooker, the person who operated the mill slightly below the falls within the 1800s) to your itinerary. As with many different places on this checklist, parking fills up shortly. Goal to reach earlier than 9am on weekends, if potential. 
 

  • Location: Pisgah Nationwide Forest, 27 miles east of Asheville 
  • Size: 2.3-mile round-trip out-and-back 
  • Issue: Reasonable 
  • Canine: Leashed 

Please be aware: Path is quickly closed till Spring 2023 for path upkeep and updates.    

Catawba Falls is a well-loved and simply accessible waterfall simply half-hour east of Asheville. This can be a nice hike for newbies, children and households. One of many causes this waterfall is so heavily-traversed is its proximity to I-40. You solely should drive for about 10 minutes to get to the trailhead after getting off the interstate. This waterfall is accessible year-round, making it an important possibility throughout wintertime when the crowds die down.  

The hike is well-marked and simple to observe. A number of bridges will take you throughout the Catawba River, which the trail parallels all through the hike. Whereas there may be some elevation achieve (round 350 toes), the hike stays comparatively gradual all through. After a bit of greater than a mile, you’ll attain a 100-foot-tall cascading waterfall—an incredible payoff for such a brief hike. The hike ends extraordinarily near the bottom of the waterfall the place there’s a shallow pool. There are many rocks on the base the place you may sit and loosen up, take pictures or get pleasure from a picnic lunch.

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