Last Updated on September 15, 2020
Last Updated on September 15, 2020
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We know there are hundreds of waterfalls near Asheville, Brevard, and Cherokee and wish you all the best if you want to see them all. But let’s be real. Unless you live in the area or pride yourself as a super adrenaline junkie, it’s going to take some time for you to pull off that awesome feat.
So in the meantime, we condensed things down a bit and want to share a few of our favorites. Here are 35 amazing waterfalls within a two-hour drive of these three amazing places in Western North Carolina.
For those ready to get out there NOW, check out our map of Waterfalls near Asheville, Brevard, and Cherokee that includes all of these places.
These unique places to stay near Asheville will make the perfect base for your waterfall adventures!
Waterfalls near Asheville, Brevard, and Cherokee
For the purposes of this article, waterfalls have been grouped alphabetically and on their own. However, we grouped together those that can be found on the same hike or protected area.
Note: Travel times vary according to when you decide to visit these places, due to weather, traffic congestion, and other factors.
Safety Note: This is something we’ll always stress, but again, please stay on the path. Failing to do so can result in serious injury.
Bird Rock Falls/French Broad Falls/Mill Shoals Falls
- Asheville to Bird Rock Falls/French Broad Falls/Mill Shoals Falls: 51 miles (1 hour 9 minutes)
- Brevard to Bird Rock Falls/French Broad Falls/Mill Shoals Falls: 17 miles (25 minutes)
- Cherokee to Bird Rock Falls/French Broad Falls/Mill Shoals Falls: 56 miles (1 hour 16 minutes)
Bird Rock Falls, French Broad Falls, and Mill Shoals Falls are grouped together because of how close they are to each other. The latter two of these waterfalls near Brevard are literally attached to each other. Bird Rock Falls is reachable within a half-mile hike.
Keep in mind that these falls sit on the Living Waters Ministry’s property. Since they are kind enough to let you in, please leave no trace. Of course, that should be the case for all these waterfalls.
Bridal Veil Falls
- Asheville to Bridal Veil Falls: 82 miles (1 hour 34 minutes)
- Brevard to Bridal Veil Falls: 39 miles (1 hour 2 minutes)
- Cherokee to Bridal Veil Falls: 46 miles (59 minutes)
This is the first of two Bridal Veil waterfalls near Asheville, Brevard, and Cherokee that we’ll mention. The other one is inside Dupont Recreational State Forest and this one is a roadside waterfall between Highlands and Franklin on US 64.
All you have to do is pull off, get out of your car, and admire this Bridal Veil. When the road is in service, you can even drive behind the falls.
Bust Your Butt Falls
- Asheville to Bust Your Butt Falls: 79 miles (1 hour 26 minutes)
- Brevard to Bust Your Butt Falls: 44 miles (1 hour 9 minutes)
- Cherokee to Bust Your Butt Falls: 42 miles (51 minutes)
Bust Your Butt Falls is a really cool roadside falls that we stumbled upon when driving between Cullasaja and Dry Falls. And when you get a look at it, you’ll see this one fits the name.
This popular swimming hole and natural slide even has a rope for swinging! But if you’d like to stand back and take photos, you can do that, too!
The stretch of road where you’ll find the first Bridal Veil Falls, Bust Your Butt Falls, and others are known as the Waterfall Byway. Keep reading for more along this route.
- Asheville to Catawba Falls: 27 miles (31 minutes)
- Brevard to Catawba Falls: 58 miles (1 hour 8 minutes)
- Cherokee to Catawba Falls: 76 miles (1 hour 28 minutes)
Catawba Falls is a three-tiered waterfall on the eastern end of our guide, but absolutely breathtaking and worthy of a spot here! This 100-foot waterfall is reachable after a 1.5-mile trek through moss-covered, shady forest.
Stone foundation remnants of a former power dam serve as additional highlights along the hike. We find these beautiful falls a cool escape from the heat of summer, but the falls are wonderful throughout much of the year.
Catawba Falls is the first of a few in this guide that we also featured among our favorite waterfalls near Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk.
- Asheville to Crabtree Falls: 50 miles (1 hour 12 minutes)
- Brevard to Crabtree Falls: 81 miles (1 hour 48 minutes)
- Cherokee to Crabtree Falls: 99 miles (2 hours 8 minutes)
We have a lot of favorite Blue Ridge Parkway sections and the area that includes Crabtree Falls (MP 339) is one of them. Seeing the gorgeous 70-foot waterfall requires a 2.5-mile hike through hardwoods and rhododendron-covered paths.
On its own, a view of the falls from the wooden bridge that crosses over the creek is worthy of the drive and hike.
- Asheville to Courthouse Falls: 57 miles (1 hour 23 minutes)
- Brevard to Courthouse Falls: 22 miles (39 minutes)
- Cherokee to Courthouse Falls: 56 miles (1 hour 23 minutes)
A rough three-mile drive on the gravel Forest Service Road 140 (low cars not recommended) will lead you to the Summey Cove trailhead. After 1/4 mile, you’ll reach the 45-foot Courthouse Falls.
The road leading to Courthouse Falls is often closed through winter and much of spring. If that’s the case, there’s a trailhead about a half-mile north of FR 140. From there, the hike is about 3 miles to Courthouse Falls.
- Asheville to Cullasaja Falls: 76 miles (1 hour 23 minutes)
- Brevard to Cullasaja Falls: 46 miles (1 hour 13 minutes)
- Cherokee to Cullasaja Falls: 39 miles (47 minutes)
Cullasaja Falls is another roadside waterfall along the Byway and more viewable when the greenery that surrounds it has faded back a bit. You can descend down a tricky 0.2-mile path along rocks and ropeway but practice caution if you decide upon this way.
There are no signs to indicate you’ve arrived and cars fly on this section of the road. It’ll be easiest if you’re traveling from Franklin, as the pull-off will be on the right. Coming from Highlands, you’ll have to make a slow turn into one the few available spots with traffic possibly coming from around the sharp curve just beyond.
Deep Creek Loop (3)
- Asheville to Deep Creek Waterfalls Hike: 68 miles (1 hour 15 minutes)
- Brevard to Deep Creek Waterfalls Hike: 92 miles (1 hour 43 miles)
- Cherokee to Deep Creek Waterfalls Hike: 9 miles (18 minutes)
Deep Creek inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park will take you to three waterfalls (Indian Creek Falls, Tom Branch Falls, and Juney Whank Falls). This hike near Bryson City and not too far from Cherokee follows Deep Creek upstream, with some incline during the first couple of miles.
The majority of the trip is either flat or downhill, with wildflower and rhododendron-dominated paths throughout.
- Asheville to Dry Falls: 82 miles (1 hour 33 minutes)
- Brevard to Dry Falls: 40 miles (1 hour 3 minutes)
- Cherokee to Dry Falls: 45 miles (57 minutes)
Dry Falls is viewable from an accessible platform but also an easy and kid-friendly hike. This amazing 65-foot waterfall is just a few miles outside of Highlands.
Another awesome thing about this waterfall is that its waters gush over a cliff, creating an overflow that allows people to walk underneath. And the “dry” part of the name comes from the fact that you can remain dry as you walk behind it.
Dupont State Forest (4)
- Asheville to Dupont State Forest: 37 miles (48 minutes)
- Brevard to Dupont State Forest: 12 miles (19 minutes)
- Cherokee to Dupont State Forest: 77 miles (1 hour 37 minutes)
Dupont State Recreational Forest wins the title for most waterfalls near Asheville, Brevard, and Cherokee. It’s a popular place to hike and for films, based on the fact that The Hunger Games and Last of the Mohicans were shot here.
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. A much longer 7-mile hike will take you by the other three inside the park (High Falls, Triple Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls).
- Asheville to Glen Falls: 87 miles (1 hour 44 minutes)
- Brevard to Glen Falls: 41 miles (1 hour 5 minutes)
- Cherokee to Glen Falls: 50 miles (1 hour 8 minutes)
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.
You can descend down another 1/3 mile to a platform in front of the middle section. And if water levels are low, you can get on the rocks for an even closer look!
Gorges State Park (2)
- Asheville to Rainbow Falls: 54 miles (1 hour 11 minutes)
- Brevard to Rainbow Falls: 20 miles (28 minutes)
- Cherokee to Rainbow Falls: 55 miles (1 hour 18 minutes)
The 3.5 mile Rainbow Falls Trail inside Gorges State Park will lead you to two waterfalls, including the 150-foot namesake. Multiple trails and platforms surround the falls, giving visitors 360-degree views and varying vantage points.
Turtleback Falls sits upstream from Rainbow Falls and used to be a highly regarded swimming hole. However, many injuries and deaths forced officials to warn against sliding and swimming. It’s still a beautiful place to admire from
Graveyard Fields Hike (2)
- Asheville to Graveyard Fields: 35 miles (56 minutes)
- Brevard to Graveyard Fields: 26 miles (43 minutes)
- Cherokee to Graveyard Fields: 51 miles (1 hour 8 minutes)
The Graveyard Fields hike is one of the most popular you’ll find off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Gorgeous scenery, two waterfalls, and boardwalk views are a few of the things bringing so many people to this spot.
Most people start with the short 1/3 mile hike from the parking lot that takes you to Lower Falls. Upper Falls is reachable via a 3.3-mile loop. It takes you along wildflower- and blueberry bush-lined paths.
- Asheville to Key Falls: 34 miles (43 minutes)
- Brevard to Key Falls: 4 miles (8 minutes)
- Cherokee to Key Falls: 74 miles (1 hour 32 minutes)
Key Falls is one we stumbled upon while staying at the nearby Pines Country Inn in Pisgah Forest, outside Brevard. It’s another that sits on private property (Key Falls Inn), but one where the owners are gracious enough to invite visitors.
You can park at the entrance and walk to the falls or park right at them, enjoy, grab some photos, and head off for more adventures!
Looking Glass Falls
- Asheville to Looking Glass Falls: 37 miles (45 minutes)
- Brevard to Looking Glass Falls: 9 miles (15 minutes)
- Cherokee to Looking Glass Falls: 63 miles (1 hour 25 minutes)
Looking Glass Falls is possibly one of the best-known waterfalls near Brevard. And if you’ve visited this one, you’ll likely agree with us.
This roadside waterfall is right off US 276 after entering Pisgah National Forest. It’s easy to see from your car but if you can head down the steps for an up-close look at this beautiful 60-footer.
- Asheville to Mingo Falls: 58 miles (1 hour 17 minutes)
- Brevard to Mingo Falls: 82 miles (1 hour 44 minutes)
- Cherokee to Mingo Falls: 7 miles (13 minutes)
Mingo Falls is probably the most famous waterfall near Cherokee. For starters, these epic falls are reachable after climbing a steep set of 160 stairs on the Pigeon Creek Trail
While the elevation changes about 140 feet during your ascent, the reward of these delightful falls is certainly worth it. A sturdy wooden viewing bridge awaits for you to snap that perfect photo.
Moore Cove Falls
- Asheville to Moore Cove Falls: 38 miles (47 minutes)
- Brevard to Moore Cove Falls: 10 miles (17 minutes)
- Cherokee to Moore Cove Falls: 62 miles (1 hour 23 minutes)
Another North Carolina waterfall that is a short hike near Brevard is Moore Cove Falls. While it isn’t nearly as popular as Looking Glass Falls, it is just up the road and is a spectaular 50-foot drop.
The 1.5-mile roundtrip adventure is beautiful and one that deserves a spotlight along with the bigger names around. Also, the road where you’ll find these falls is known as the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway.
- Asheville to Secret Falls: 92 miles (1 hour 56 minutes)
- Brevard to Secret Falls: 45 miles (1 hour 16 minutes)
- Cherokee to Secret Falls: 55 miles (1 hour 21 minutes)
You can call them Secret Falls or Big Shoals Falls but either way, this 50 foot waterfall outside Highlands leads to an awesome swimming hole. Reaching them takes a not-too-difficult half-mile hike through the woods.
Be careful at the top of the waterfall, which will be where you first arrive. From there, a wading area and small sandy beach await for you to enjoy a relaxing dip in some water!
Skinny Dip Falls
- Asheville to Skinny Dip Falls: 33 miles (52 minutes)
- Brevard to Skinny Dip Falls: 24 miles (39 minutes)
- Cherokee to Skinny Dip Falls: 53 miles (1 hour 11 minutes)
The secret has long been out on Skinny Dip Falls, which is very popular for folks seeking a swimming hole during summer. After you park at the Looking Glass Rock Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 417), a quick 0.4 mile hike will get you to the three-level falls.
Don’t sleep on the walk that leads you in, as you’ll pass through a scenic forest. If you decide to take the plunge at Skinny Dip Falls, don’t give in to the name and keep your swimming clothes on.
Slick Rock Falls
- Asheville to Slick Rock Falls: 39 miles (50 minutes)
- Brevard to Slick Rock Falls: 11 miles (20 minutes)
- Cherokee to Slick Rock Falls: 66 miles (1 hour 31 minutes)
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 as with most roadside waterfalls, get out for a much closer look.
The 35 foot waterfall cascades over a cliff and great to stand under during hot days. Just be mindful of the namesake slick rocks that you’ll be standing on.
- Asheville to Sliding Rock: 39 miles (50 minutes)
- Brevard to Sliding Rock: 11 miles (19 minutes)
- Cherokee to Sliding Rock: 61 miles (1 hour 21 minutes)
Sliding Rock is one the most popular waterfalls near Brevard (Asheville and Cherokee, too!). This 60-foot smooth waterfall draws people from all over to slide down, especially in the summer.
Arrive early to beat the crowds because this place can get packed. The water is always cold so be ready for that. Also, there is $3 entrance fee for anyone over 3 years old. Bathrooms and showers are available.
- Asheville to Soco Falls: 41 miles (48 minutes)
- Brevard to Soco Falls: 65 miles (1 hour 16 minutes)
- Cherokee to Soco Falls: 11 miles (18 minutes)
Soco Falls are two waterfalls near 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.
If you’re coming from Cherokee, you’ll see a sign for the parking lot but when we visited, there was not a sign for those coming from Maggie Valley.
Tom’s Creek Falls
- Asheville to Tom’s Creek Falls: 42 miles (51 minutes)
- Brevard to Tom’s Creek Falls: 73 miles (1 hour 27 minutes)
- Cherokee to Tom’s Creek Falls: 91 miles (1 hour 48 minutes)
Tom’s Creek Falls near Marion a very kid-friendly hike and within an hour of Mount Mitchell State Park. This is also the furthest east waterfalls we’ll mention in this post.
The 80-foot two-tiered waterfall flows into a rocky riverbed below. The Tom’s Creek Falls hike is one of few with an accessible trail and observation deck!
Upper Whitewater Falls
- Asheville to Upper Whitewater Falls: 61 miles (1 hour 20 minutes)
- Brevard to Upper Whitewater Falls: 26 miles (37 minutes)
- Cherokee to Upper Whitewater Falls: 56 miles (1 hour 19 minutes)
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 Whitewater Falls is accessible and another can be reached by 150-plus stairs to a viewing platform.
And if you time it right, you can see this 411-foot waterfall near Brevard all by yourself. There’s a lower section across the border in South Carolina that falls an additional 400 feet, which helps its record tally.
Ready for these Waterfalls near Asheville, Brevard, and Cherokee?
We focused on Asheville, Brevard, and Cherokee because they form a nice triangle for people coming from eastern and western outliers. Some spots were granted an exception or two to those that went a little over two hours away but made cuts to others that were closer to three away.
And as we mentioned, there are hundreds of waterfalls within these three awesome spots in Western North Carolina. But you can easily see plenty of beautiful ones without touching them all. It’s even okay to check out more than the ones we’ve listed here.
Have you ever been to this part of North Carolina? If you’ve got a beautiful waterfall that you’d like to share, let us know in the comments section below and we might just add it to our list!