Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on January 23, 2024.
Our map shares some of the best waterfalls in Western NC that we’ve seen so far, but check back as we do plan to update this one for many years to come! To help you navigate, we’ve broken this guide into the following sections:
- Map of Waterfalls in Western NC (Opens in Google Maps)
- Map of Waterfalls in Western NC List
- Waterfall Hikes
You can skip ahead to the lists or scroll down to the next section, which is our map of waterfalls in Western NC!
Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in Western NC and are wondering, “What are the best waterfalls near me?” we think this NC travel guide will help you out!
Map of Waterfalls in Western NC
You can search this map of waterfalls in Western NC, peruse a specific area, and click for directions (and links to our articles).
For people asking, “How many waterfalls are in North Carolina?” there are hundreds of waterfalls to check out, from roadside waterfalls to short waterfall hikes and relatively unknown waterfalls deep in Nantahala National Forest!
Read More: The NC Tripping North Carolina Travel Map
Map of Waterfalls in Western NC List (Roadside)
We’ve listed everything found on our western North Carolina waterfalls map, along with distinctions between roadside waterfalls and those that require a hike. This first section is dedicated to roadside waterfalls.
- Big Creek Falls: This roadside waterfall is in the northwestern reaches of Yancey County about 30 minutes from Burnsville. As with other roadsides we’ll mention, you can see it from the road (barely), but descend down a rock stairway and you’ll have a much better look.
- Bridal Veil Falls near Highlands: This Bridal Veil Falls is a roadside waterfall between Highlands and Franklin on the Waterfall Byway section of US 64.
- Bust Your Butt Falls: Like Bridal Veil Falls, Bust Your Butt Falls is also visible from the road and there’s space for you to pull over to make the short walk over.
- Cullasaja Falls: The epic Cullasaja Falls is where the gorge ends (or begins), depending which direction you’re traveling on US-64, aka the Waterfall Byway. You can see it from the road, especially during winter months. However, a tricky hike down to the base will get you an epic look. Tread carefully here.
- French Broad Falls (Mill Shoals) and Bird Rock Falls: French Broad Falls is a set of twin waterfalls near Asheville, closest to Brevard and off the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. A second waterfall (Bird Rock Falls or Cathedral Falls) is reachable within a half-mile roundtrip hike.
- Green Mountain Creek Falls near Blowing Rock (Roadside): This 20-foot waterfall sits about eight miles from Blowing Rock. It’s along the section of Highway 221 that is known as the Little Parkway.
- Key Falls: A truly hidden gem, Key Falls is only 4 miles from Downtown Brevard! Located on private property at the Key Falls Inn, this little cascade is absolutely beautiful.
- Looking Glass Falls: Looking Glass Falls offers easily accessible and incredible views. You can take a short walk down some stairs from the parking lot to reach an even closer view of this 60-foot waterfall near Brevard.
- Moravian Falls: Located at the Moravian Falls Campground, this roadside North Carolina waterfall is absolutely beautiful. To see the falls, you do need to ask permission from the campground. A cabin for paying guests is located at the base of the falls.
- Silvervale Falls: Silvervale Falls is another High Country roadside waterfall and definitely worth a visit. This 70-foot waterfall flows slowly and gently.
- Slick Rock Falls: Slick Rock Falls might be tucked away on a separate road from some of the other awesome waterfalls near Brevard, but this one is still pretty popular. You can see it from your car but get out for a much closer look.
- Sunburst Falls: Sunburst Falls is within an easy day trip from Asheville but is closest to Waynesville in Haywood County. This roadside waterfall is beautiful throughout the year, especially in the fall.
- Waterfalls Park: Located in Newland, Waterfalls Park is an awesome double cascade falls you can mostly see from the road, or the bridge that sits in front of it.
Map of Waterfalls in Western NC List (Waterfall Hikes)
For the waterfall hikes, we’ve included the hiking trails’ distance, either from the trailhead or the total distance if part of a loop.
- Bridal Veil Falls inside DuPont State Recreational Forest (2.2 miles from the trailhead): From the Visitor Center parking lot that starts the High Falls Loop, you can take a 4.4-mile roundtrip hike or ride a bicycle to Bridal Veil Falls. You can also add it onto the High Falls Loop to make it about a 7-mile hike.
- Carter Falls in Elkin (0.5 miles from the trailhead): Thanks to the well-connected trail system in Elkin, there are actually a few ways you can reach Carter Falls. However, the shortest hike is from the Carter Falls Trailhead, a half-mile from the waterfall.
- Cascade Falls at EB Jeffress Park (0.5 miles from the trailhead): Located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 272), the Cascades is a 35-footer and one of the coolest waterfalls near Boone. And when you see it, you’ll agree that this one is absolutely worth the short hike to reach it!
- Catawba Falls (trail closed until 2023): Catawba Falls is a three-tiered waterfall in Old Fort, McDowell County. Construction efforts to improve the trail and make it safer have closed it until 2023.
- Courthouse Falls (0.25 miles from the trailhead or 3.25 miles if the lead-in road is closed): If Forest Service Road 140 isn’t closed, a rough three-mile drive on will typically lead you to the Summey Cove Trailhead. From there, a quarter-mile hike leads to the 45-foot Courthouse Falls.
- Crab Orchard Falls (0.5 miles from the trailhead): A slow and gentle flow makes Crab Orchard Falls a serene waterfall to stare at. It’s only five minutes away from the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, and the trail to Crab Orchard Falls starts at the Valle Crucis Conference Center.
- Crabtree Falls (1.6 miles from the trailhead): We have a lot of favorite Blue Ridge Parkway sections and the area around Crabtree Falls (MP 339) is one of them. Seeing the gorgeous 70-foot waterfall requires a 2.5-mile round trip hike through hardwoods and rhododendron-covered paths.
- Daniel Ridge Falls (4-mile loop): Also known as Tom Spring Falls, Daniel Ridge Falls is a 150-foot waterfall that can be reached by a 4-mile loop. As we mentioned, this is one of a few waterfalls between the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway’s two main roads.
- Deep Creek Trail: Deep Creek Trail inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park will take you to three waterfalls near Bryson City—Indian Creek Falls, Tom Branch Falls, and Juney Whank Falls).
- Dry Falls (0.2 miles from the trailhead): Dry Falls is a quarter-mile kid-friendly trail that is truly one of a kind! It’s also one of the few waterfalls in North Carolina that you can walk behind!
- Elk River Falls (1/3 mile from the trailhead): Probably one of the most photogenic waterfalls is Elk River Falls, about 25 minutes from Banner Elk. This 85-foot plunging waterfall is absolutely beautiful!
- Glen Burney Trail (1.6 miles from the trailhead): Glen Burney Trail sits right off Main Street in Blowing Rock. The trail takes you away from everything toward three beautiful falls—Glen Burney, Cascades, and Glen Mary.
- Glen Falls (0.5 miles from the trailhead): There are so many waterfalls near Highlands and Glen Falls is another one we need to share with you. It sits east of the Macon County town and is viewable from an observation platform about a half-mile from the parking lot.
- Graveyard Fields Trail to Lower and Upper Falls (3.3-mile loop): Just down the road from Skinny Dip Falls is Graveyard Fields, one of the most popular Blue Ridge Parkway hikes. Gorgeous scenery, two waterfalls, and boardwalk views are a few of the things bringing so many people to this spot.
- Hebron Falls aka Boone Fork Falls (1.9 miles into a 5-mile loop): Boone Fork Trail is an almost 5-mile loop that starts at Julian Price Memorial Park, about 25 minutes away from Boone. It takes you through diverse terrain, crossing its namesake Boone Fork River at many turns. Hebron Falls (Boone Fork Falls) is about 1.5 miles into the hike and is one of our favorites to watch!
- Hickory Nut Falls inside Chimney Rock State Park (1.4 miles from the trailhead): At 404 feet tall, it’s hard to believe that Hickory Nut Falls is not the tallest of waterfalls in North Carolina.
- High Falls Loop inside DuPont State Recreational Forest (2-mile loop): Triple Falls and High Falls are a moderate hike away, and you might recognize them from both The Hunger Games and the Last of the Mohicans. Those falls are a big part of why those two movies were filmed in North Carolina.
- High Shoals Falls inside South Mountains State Park (2.7-mile loop): Many Burke County visitors will know about Linville Falls but if you’ve been to this area more than a few times, you’ll know that High Shoals Falls is pretty nice, too. This 80-foot waterfall is reachable after a mostly steady hike, though it gets pretty steep near the end.
- Hooker Falls inside DuPont State Recreational Forest (0.5 miles from the trailhead): Hooker Falls is regarded as one of this area’s best swimming holes, and it’s reachable after a short half-mile hike from the parking lot. The most popular hike within DuPont State Forest will take you three miles round trip to three waterfalls—Hooker Falls and the aforementioned Triple Falls and High Falls.
- Laurel Creek Falls aka Trashcan Falls (0.15 miles round trip): Ask an App State student or alum, and they’ll probably refer to this one near Boone as Trash Can Falls. That’s because a dumpster used to mark the trailhead.
- Linville Falls (0.8 miles from the Visitor Center): The tallest waterfalls in the area can be found nearest to Banner Elk, but just over an hour from Asheville. Linville Falls are among the most popular things to do in Burke County and they’re a major part of the “Grand Canyon of the Southern Appalachians,” also known as Linville Gorge Wilderness.
- Lower Cascade Falls inside Hanging Rock State Park (0.4 miles one way): We usually start our days by visiting Lower Cascades Falls before moving on to hike the Hanging Rock Trail or others around the park.
- Mingo Falls (160 stairs from the trailhead): Mingo Falls is the most popular waterfall near Cherokee. For starters, the epic falls are reachable after climbing a steep set of 160 stairs on the Pigeon Creek Trail.
- Moore Cove Falls (0.75 miles from the trailhead): Another Brevard-area waterfall reachable via a short hike is Moore Cove Falls. While it isn’t nearly as popular as Looking Glass Falls, it is just up the road and is a spectacular 50-foot drop.
- Otter Falls (0.6 miles from the trailhead): We’d be letting you down if we didn’t include Otter Falls, one of our favorite waterfalls near Banner Elk, still within a short drive from Boone and Blowing Rock. You’ll get to admire these falls in between a strenuous 1.2-mile round trip hike.
- Pearson’s Falls (0.2 miles from the trailhead): Pearson’s Falls sits south of Asheville in Polk County, near the mountain towns of Saluda and Tryon. Its officially managed by the Tryon Garden Club and surrounded by a beautiful forest (known as a Glen), spring-fed streams, and a short hike that leads to the gorgeous namesake 90-foot waterfall.
- Rainbow Falls Trail to Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls (1.75 miles from the trailhead): The Rainbow Falls Trail takes you outside Gorges State Park‘s boundaries into Pisgah National Forest. Rainbow Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina.
- Roaring Fork Falls (0.5 miles from the trailhead): Roaring Fork Falls is one of a few wonderful waterfalls near Burnsville, north of Asheville.
- Schoolhouse Falls (1.25 miles from the trailhead): The valley holds about 30 miles of well-connected trails and of the waterfalls here, Schoolhouse Falls is the most popular. You can reach it from the Cold Mountain Gap Trailhead, near Lake Toxaway. Greenland Creek Falls and Mac’s Falls are two other popular waterfalls in this area.
- Secret Falls aka Big Shoals Falls (0.75 miles from the trailhead): This waterfall goes by two names just like the one before it. You can call it Secret Falls or Big Shoals Falls but either way, this 50-foot waterfall outside Highlands leads to an awesome swimming hole.
- Setrock Creek Falls (0.5 miles from the trailhead): As we mentioned, Setrock Creek Falls is just down South Toe River Road from Roaring Fork Falls. The 75-foot waterfall is also reachable via an easy hike.
- Silver Run Falls (0.2 miles from the trailhead): Silver Run Falls isn’t too far from Panthertown Valley, but closest to Cashiers and Upper Whitewater Falls. Not to be overshadowed by its neighbors, this is one of the most beautiful waterfalls near Asheville, especially on sunny days when you can see the mica shining on its sandy floor.
- Skinny Dip Falls (n/a): This popular waterfall is still recovering from damage received from Tropical Storm Fred in 2021. We are hopeful it will make a comeback, but for the time being, it is inaccessible and dangerous to visit.
- Sliding Rock (a few hundred feet from the parking lot): Sliding Rock, like its neighbor Looking Glass Falls, is one the most popular waterfalls near Asheville. This 60-foot smooth waterfall draws people from all over to slide down, especially in the summer.
- Soco Falls (0.1 miles from the trailhead): Soco Falls is an intersection of two waterfalls in Cherokee that create an incredible scene. You can view them from a platform above or take a trickier scramble down to see the falls smash together.
- Stone Mountain Falls inside Stone Mountain State Park (0.2 miles from the upper trailhead): If you start from the Upper Trailhead Parking you’ll begin near the top of the amazing 200-foot Stone Mountain Falls. You’ll meet a fork soon after starting, marked by an old stone chimney.
- Tom’s Creek Falls in Marion (0.5 miles from the trailhead): Tom’s Creek Falls in Marion is a very kid-friendly hike and is within an hour of Mount Mitchell State Park. This is also the farthest east of our favorite waterfalls near Asheville.
- Upper Creek Falls (1.6-mile loop): Upper Creek Falls is a great swimming hole waterfall near Banner Elk. This one is a cascading waterfall that drops 80 feet over a gradual slope.
- Upper Whitewater Falls (0.25 miles from the trailhead): Upper Whitewater Falls in Jackson and Transylvania counties is (fun fact alert!) part of the tallest waterfall you’ll find in the Eastern US. One vantage point of Upper Whitewater Falls is accessible and another can be reached by 150-plus stairs to a viewing platform.
- Widow’s Creek Falls inside Stone Mountain State Park (a few hundred feet from the parking lot): While you cannot swim at Stone Mountain Falls (you can wade your toes in the bottom), Widow’s Creek Falls is a nice swimming hole with a natural waterslide that’s smaller but reminiscent of Sliding Rock.
- Wintergreen Falls is a beautiful 20-foot waterfall inside DuPont State Forest, reachable after a 1.5-mile hike.
Help Us Build This Map of Waterfalls in Western NC
Do you think we should add any awesome places to this map of waterfalls in NC? We’re always open to input and look forward to hearing from you.
Also, if you have any amazing waterfalls pics to share, please feel free to do so in our Facebook Group!
Waterfalls North Carolina Guides and Mentions
Here are some more NC waterfalls travel guides that we’ve created:
- The Best Waterfalls in North Carolina
- Waterfalls near Asheville
- Waterfalls near Brevard
- Waterfalls near Boone