Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on July 18, 2023.
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.
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
- Famous 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
Tips for Visiting DuPont State Forest
This park is wonderful throughout the year but especially if you visit during 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.
Both activities are very popular so we suggest planning your visit in advance and arriving as early as possible to avoid crowds.
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 that are among the best in North Carolina.
However, as you’ll see, many folks also come here for mountain biking and other fun activities.
Interestingly enough, a couple of the waterfalls (Triple Falls and High Falls) were not part of the original conservation plans when it was saved from real estate development.
The developer who originally won the bid on the land planned to build an upscale gated residential community with the 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.
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 a lot of it was Hollywood magic. Wooden planks were laid down and she wore safety wires in case 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 there are even more movies filmed in North Carolina!
Things to Do at DuPont State Forest
Now that you have a bit of background and understand why we think DuPont State Forest is so special, here are all the things to do here.
The Three-Waterfall Hike
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 when at the base of Triple Falls as there is a drop off.
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.
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 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.
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 that has a beautiful scene upstream.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 either continue on to the Covered Bridge or turn back to the parking lot. Alternatively, if you started from the High Falls Parking Lot you would have started with crossing the covered bridge.
Bridal Veil Falls Waterfall Hike
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, which will cut your travel time in half. While the riding distance is short, there are a handful of tough hills to climb.
More DuPont State Forest Hiking Trails
Beyond the big names at DuPont State Forest, there are more hikes and even waterfalls to explore.
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 3 miles round trip and starts with a descent, with 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
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.
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 Guion Farm Access Area on Sky Valley Road and 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
In case you haven’t booked a place for your visit to DuPont State Forest, we have a few ideas for you. There’s no camping at DuPont State Forest, so we suggest staying in Hendersonville or Brevard as your closest option.
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.