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DuPont State Forest (Waterfall Hikes and More of the Best Things to Do!)

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on December 15, 2023.

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DuPont State Forest (officially known as DuPont State Recreational Forest) is a beautiful slice of North Carolina and home to some of our best hiking trails, especially near Asheville (and Brevard!).

It’s also home to some famous waterfalls, worthy of featuring in some pretty famous movies.

Inside our guide, we will highlight all of this, including the best hiking trails, how to reach four of the best waterfalls near Asheville in one hike, and other things you can do inside DuPont State Forest.

Read on, and you’ll see why we featured DuPont State Forest among our favorite things to do in North Carolina and inside our NC Bucket List book!

If you’re searching for something specific in this guide to DuPont State Forest, we’ve organized things into the following sections:

  • Tips for Visiting
  • Location
  • Background
  • Famous DuPont State Forest Waterfalls
  • Things to Do at DuPont State Forest
  • Three-Waterfall Hike (Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls)
  • Parking Info for the Three-Waterfall Hike
  • Bridal Veil Falls Waterfall Hike
  • More DuPont State Forest Hiking Trails
  • Mountain Biking Trails
  • Equestrian Trails
  • Where to Stay (Airbnbs and More)
  • Nearby Things to Do

Read More: 75+ Fun Day Trips from Asheville (Within a 2-Hour Drive)

Tips for Visiting DuPont State Forest

This park is wonderful throughout the year, but especially if you visit during the hotter summer months. That’s because the trees that line this path make it pretty well-shaded.

However, that adds to the popularity of this hike, and it does get crowded during the weekends, Because the path is so wide, overcrowding isn’t as much of an issue as other parks that quickly fill up.

Here are some more quick tips for visiting DuPont State Forest:

  • There are restrooms at both the Hooker Falls Access Area and the DuPont State Forest Visitor Center.
  • Picnic areas are available for free use, and picnic shelters can be rented.
  • Dogs on leashes are allowed in the Park.
  • Visiting DuPont State Forest is free, but the parking lots can get full quickly. Please arrive early and be mindful of those around you.
  • Leave NO trace. Pack out what you pack in, and do not leave trash at the park. Please leave North Carolina more beautiful than when you arrived, and consider picking up any trash you see.

Read More: Colorful Fall Hikes in North Carolina (+ 20 Beautiful Places to Explore!)


The park is located in both Henderson and Transylvania counties, only 40 miles from downtown Asheville, 14 miles from the mountain town of Hendersonville, and 12 miles from Brevard.

If you are visiting during the Fall, we think combining a visit to DuPont State Forest with some apple picking is the ticket to an incredible weekend!

Both activities are very popular so we suggest planning your visit in advance and arriving as early as possible to avoid crowds.

Read More: 80+ Great Things to Do in Asheville (The Asheville Bucket List)

Background Info

With over 10,000 acres and 86 miles of trails, DuPont State Forest has become one of the most popular places to go hiking near Asheville, especially for its waterfalls, among North Carolina’s best.

However, as you’ll see, many folks also come here for mountain biking and other fun activities.

Interestingly, some of the DuPont Forest waterfalls (Triple Falls and High Falls) were not part of the original conservation plans when they were saved from real estate development.

The developer who originally won the bid on the land planned to build an upscale gated residential community with waterfalls as the main attraction.

With the efforts of grassroots organizations and leaders, then-Governor Jim Hunt and the Council of State voted to invoke eminent domain on the land and it was open to the public in 2000.

Read More: 50+ Great Things to Do With Kids in Asheville (and Nearby!)

Famous Waterfalls

Triple Falls among the forest on a foggy day in North Carolina

DuPont State Forest is home to some impeccable waterfalls, which caught the eye of Hollywood filmmakers over the years.

Both Triple Falls and Bridal Veil Falls were used for the 2012 movie The Hunger Games. Bridal Veil is where Katniss Everdeen ran for safety after being burned. Rocks next to it are where the other tributes chased after her during one scene.

In the film, Katniss ran across Triple Falls, but most of it was Hollywood magic. Wooden planks were laid down, and she wore safety wires if she slipped. Nerding out on these things made us appreciate the park even more.

The rock overhang of Bridal Veil Falls was also used for The Last of the Mohicans, though the cave that is portrayed behind it doesn’t exist. That was a constructed set.

DuPont State Forest is a wonderful backdrop, but even more movies are filmed in North Carolina!

Things to Do at DuPont State Forest

Now that you have some background and understand why we think DuPont State Forest is so special, and some of the best DuPont State Forest trails to check out!

The Three-Waterfall Hike

a trail among towering tress in DuPont State Forest

The most popular hike within DuPont State Forest will take you 3 miles round trip to three waterfalls: Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls.

The trails to reach these falls are moderate, with a few hills on a gravel well-maintained path. We think that this is the perfect hike for people of all fitness levels, as it has moderate inclines.

Our toddler walked a lot of this trail, too, so it is definitely great for young children! Just be mindful, since there is a drop-off at the base of Triple Falls.

Read More: Hiking in Hendersonville (30+ Great Trails Within 1 Hour)

Parking Info

To enjoy the three-waterfall hike without moving your car, we recommend parking at the Hooker Falls access area. You’ll then embark on a three-mile hike from there.

You can also park at the Visitor Center parking lot if there isn’t parking available, and that will make Hooker Falls your last waterfall before turning back.

Personally, the way back to the Hooker Falls lot is more downhill than the other way around, and a big part of why we recommend starting from the former.

Hooker Falls

our little girl in a purple shirt and blue skirt looking at Hooker Falls

From the Hooker Falls Access parking area, walk the road to the right until you see a sign and a well-maintained path to the left. It is a short walk from here to the base of the 12-foot falls, which is popular for swimming.

There are plenty of rocks to sit on and enjoy the view, and the water is shallow enough for kids to swim.

Before continuing toward Triple and High Falls, you will first need to hike back to the Hooker Falls Parking Lot.

Read More: 20+ Kid-Friendly Waterfalls In NC (Easy Hikes And Swimming Holes!)

Triple Falls

Once you return to the Hooker Falls parking area, take the marked trail to the left. You’ll first cross a newly constructed pedestrian bridge with a beautiful upstream scene.

Triple Falls from the overlook before reaching the upper falls area

Continue uphill for a half-mile, and you will reach an overlook for Triple Falls. This waterfall streams over three cascades (hence the name) for a 120-foot drop in total.

the few from the base of Triple Falls in DuPont Forest NC

For a closer look, continue past the overlook and look for the trail that leads down to the left and to the base of the falls.

NOTE: Please be careful at the base and adhere to the ropes. The drops are steep and can be dangerous.

High Falls

The view of 150-foot High Falls from the trail leading to the base of the falls

Continue on the main trail to reach your final waterfall at DuPont State Forest. High Falls is another half-mile from Triple Falls and is the largest in the park.

Violently crashing down 150 feet, the up-close view of High Falls is one of the most breathtaking you’ll find in North Carolina.

Looking down at High Falls from the trail.

You can also see it from a distance on the trail, but you can head down to the base of the falls. This spur trail is much narrower, and once you reach the base, you will need to do some careful walking to get a great view.

We chose not to take our toddler down, and she enjoyed it from the top while one of us ventured down.

a gushing waterfall during high water season. there's a small tree in the center of the falls.
The water is definitely not low here.

If the water level is low, you can make your way to the big boulders in front of High Falls. Please remember that climbing rocks near waterfalls can be dangerous.

From High Falls, you can continue to the Covered Bridge or return to the parking lot. Alternatively, if you started from the High Falls Parking Lot, you would have started by crossing the covered bridge.

Bridal Veil Falls Waterfall Hike

Christina and out daughter admiring Bridal Veil Falls in DuPont State Forest

A bonus waterfall hike inside DuPont State Forest is the one that leads to the 120-foot Bridal Veil Falls. Many of The Last of the Mohicans scenes were filmed at this waterfall, which is an added incentive to reach it.

A moderate 4.4-mile round-trip hike is required to reach Bridal Veil Falls, and you’ll start from the Visitor Center lot. There’s a gate past the High Falls Loop entrance, which you’ll follow to the covered bridge.

You can ride a bike to Bridal Veil Falls instead of hiking, cutting your travel time in half. While the riding distance is short, there are a handful of tough hills to climb.

Read More: 25 of the Most Amazing Winter Hikes in North Carolina

More DuPont State Forest Hiking Trails

Beyond the big names, some of the best hikes in DuPont State Forest are off-th-beaten-path.

Wintergreen Falls

a small waterfall among the trees at Guion Farm Access Area. It falls into a small pool below

To access Wintergreen Falls, you’ll park at the Guion Farm Access Area (Sky Valley Rd), which we’ll also cover in the “Equestrian” section below.

The hike is a 3-mile round trip, starting with a descent and a slight uphill return to the parking lot. The 20-foot falls are a nice reward for the walk, which is moderate at most.

Grassy Creek Falls

There are a few ways to reach Grassy Creek Falls, a cascade not to be confused with the falls near Little Switzerland. The shortest route is from the High Falls Access Area, which is a 1.5-mile hike.

Additional DuPont State Forest hiking trails include the park’s highest point at Stone Mountain (another not to be confused with a more popular State Park) and the gorgeous Lake Julia.

Mountain Biking Trails

Several DuPont State trails we’ve mentioned also allow mountain biking, but here are some specific ones for cyclists.

The 7-mile Ridgeline Trail is a very popular loop that finishes with a great downhill section. Additional DuPont State Forest mountain biking trails include Cedar Rock Mountain and Corn Mill Shoals, both accessible to hikers.

Equestrian Trails

The trails at DuPont State Forest are also popular for equestrians. However, you should prepare your horse for crowds and hikers who may not know proper trail etiquette.

Parking for horseback riders is available at the Guion Farm Access Area on Sky Valley Road and the Lake Imaging Access Area on Staton Road.

Note: Both the Triple Falls Trail and the Hooker Falls Access Area Pedestrian Bridge do not allow horses or mountain bikes.

Where to Stay Near DuPont State Forest

the view out the window of our room at Pines Country Inn. There are some jars and sauces on the windowsill

If you haven’t booked a place to visit DuPont State Forest, we have a few ideas for you. There’s no camping near DuPont State Forest, so we suggest staying in Hendersonville or Brevard as your closest option.

Hendersonville is filled with adorable mountain rentals and some of the coolest Airbnbs in North Carolina. We’re also big fans of the restaurants in and around town.

If Brevard is more your style, we also enjoyed a stay at the Pines Country Inn, about 10 minutes away in Pisgah Forest.

You can also check out some of these fun Airbnbs near Asheville and see if those would be a great fit for your trip!

Ready to Explore DuPont State Forest?

With over 10,000 acres of protected land, DuPont State Forest is home to so many beautiful spots. You can easily spend a day (or more) hiking, chasing waterfalls, biking, and riding your horse here.

The Triple Falls Hike may be the most popular, but there isn’t a bad trail in the park! So, lace up your boots, pack your things in (and out), and prepare for a wonderful experience at DuPont State Forest!

Have you ever visited DuPont State Forest? We’d love to know what you did and what you thought of this place.

Let us know in the comments below or by email. Don’t forget to share your DuPont State Forest adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group!

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