Last Updated on January 10, 2023
Last Updated on January 10, 2023
Unless you’ve lived in the area for decades or pride yourself as a super adrenaline junkie, it’s going to take a while to complete all of the waterfall hikes in Asheville’s surroundings.
So in the meantime, we condensed things down a bit and want to share a few of our favorites, including roadside waterfalls, too. These are the best waterfalls near Asheville, all within a two-hour drive of this amazing city in Western North Carolina.
If you’re searching for something specific, here’s how we’ve organized this guide to Asheville waterfalls:
- Leave No Trace Reminder
- Organization and Travel Times
- Safety Info
- Roadside Waterfalls near Asheville
- Waterfall Hikes near Asheville
You can continue reading about leaving no trace or scroll down to roadside waterfalls near Asheville or ones that require a hike to reach.
For those ready to get out there NOW, check out our map of Waterfalls in Western NC. They include these amazing waterfalls near Asheville, but also some closer to other prominent cities and mountain towns.
Leave No Trace Reminder
While visiting these waterfalls near Asheville, we ask you to PLEASE leave no trace. Trash doesn’t belong in our beloved natural spaces.
If you’d like to lend a helping hand, bring a grocery bag of your own and pick up any trash that you see!
Read More: Day Trips from Asheville
This is something we’ll always stress, but again, please stay on the path. Failing to do so can result in serious injury.
It may also seem like a good idea to venture to the top of these waterfalls, but we do not suggest you do that. There are a variety of factors that could lead you to fall or lose control and get seriously injured.
Once again, DO NOT hike to the top of these waterfalls near Asheville.
Organization and Travel Times
Waterfalls accessed via one hike, park, or protected area have been grouped together. Travel times vary according to when you decide to visit these waterfalls near Asheville, due to weather, traffic congestion, and other factors.
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Roadside Waterfalls near Asheville
These roadside waterfalls near Asheville are viewable from your car, but a closer look is often available via a short walk to a platform or observation deck, which we’ll note accordingly.
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34 miles from Asheville (43 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.
We’ve learned firsthand that cell service can be spotty in this area, so here are some directions for you:
- If you’re coming from Brevard, head out on US-64 East for 3.5 miles.
- Turn right on Crab Creek Rd and travel for another 1.5 miles.
- Turn right again on Everett Rd.
- Travel about 3 miles from there to the driveway for the entrance to Key Falls Inn, which will be on your left.
- From here, you have 2 options:
- 1) Turn at the gravel road prior to the entrance and drive 0.2 miles to the falls.
- 2) or You can turn into the Inn’s driveway, park, and walk the short path to the falls.
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!
Read More: Waterfalls near Brevard
Looking Glass Falls
37 miles from Asheville (45 minutes)
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.
Slick Rock Falls
39 miles from Asheville (50 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 is great to stand under during hot days. Just be mindful of the namesake slick rocks that you’ll be standing on.
76 miles from Asheville (1 hour 23 minutes)
Cullasaja Falls is a great roadside waterfall along the Waterfall 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 of the few available spots with traffic possibly coming from around the sharp curve just beyond.
Bust Your Butt Falls
79 miles from Asheville (1 hour 26 minutes)
Bust Your Butt Falls is a really cool roadside fall 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!
70 miles from Asheville (1 hour 26 minutes)
Waterfalls Park in Newland is the first of our waterfalls near Asheville that are located in the High Country. This awesome double cascade roadside waterfall is mostly viewable from the bridge that sits in front of it.
You can take a closer look at the upper falls by hiking up and to the left, though! During your time there, you can have a seat at one of their several picnic tables.
This wonderful place is maintained by the Newland Volunteer Fire Department.
82 miles from Asheville (1 hour 33 minutes)
Trail Length: Roadside or 0.6 miles round trip
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.
Read More: Hikes near Asheville
Bridal Veil Falls
82 miles from Asheville (1 hour 34 minutes)
This is the first of two “Bridal Veil” named waterfalls near Asheville that we’ll mention. The other Bridal Veil Falls is inside DuPont State Recreational 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.
82 miles from Asheville (1 hour 35 minutes)
Silvervale Falls is another High Country roadside waterfall and definitely worth a visit. It is a 70-footer, with the falls flowing slow and gently.
If you’re in Blowing Rock, head 6 miles south from the Green Park Inn (and the Blowing Rock) and turn right on the suitably named Waterfalls Road. Silvervale Falls sits less than 2 miles down the road on your left.
Green Mountain Creek Falls
77 miles from Asheville (1 hour 47 minutes)
Green Mountain Creek Falls is the last of our roadside waterfalls near Asheville, but certainly not least of them all. This 20-foot waterfall sits just eight miles from Main Street in Blowing Rock on the section of Highway 221 that is known as the Little Parkway.
We’ve mentioned that road before when sharing our favorite North Carolina road trips.
While it’s technically a roadside waterfall, you’ll still need to park your car across the winding road from it. Green Mountain Creek Falls flows above a bend in the road and continues under it.
However, only the above view is easy to reach and see.
Waterfalls near Asheville (Hikes)
For these waterfalls near Asheville, we’ve indicated trail length along with driving distances from the aforementioned three destinations.
NOTE: Catawba Falls will be closed from May 2, 2022 until Spring 2023 for trail improvements
27 miles from Asheville (31 minutes)
Trail length: 3 miles round trip
This 100-foot waterfall is reachable after a 1.5-mile trek through a 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.
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38 miles from Asheville (45 minutes)
Trail Length: 0.5 miles round trip
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.
A purchased ticket is required to enter, but your admission goes toward maintenance and future conservation efforts.
Along the lovely Pearson Family Walking Trail, you’ll pass streams and numerous plants. An interesting landmark is the dam-like raw water gravity feed, but the preserve is the 90-foot waterfall.
There are benches in front of it for you to sit and enjoy the beautiful falls coming down.
Moore Cove Falls
38 miles from Asheville (47 minutes)
Trail Length: 1.5 miles round trip
The 1.5-mile round trip 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.
Dupont State Forest Waterfalls Near Asheville
37 miles from Asheville (48 minutes)
Variable Trail Lengths
Dupont State Recreational Forest wins for most waterfalls near Asheville inside one park. 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. The most popular hike within DuPont State Forest will take you three miles round trip to three waterfalls: Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls.
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.
41 miles from Asheville (48 minutes)
Trail Length: 0.2 miles round trip
Soco Falls is an intersection of two waterfalls near Asheville 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.
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39 miles from Asheville (50 minutes)
Trail Length: 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.
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 a $3 entrance fee for anyone over 3 years old. Bathrooms and showers are available.
Tom’s Creek Falls
42 miles from Asheville (51 minutes)
Trail Length: 1 mile round trip
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!
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Graveyard Fields Hike
35 miles from Asheville (56 minutes)
Trail Length: 2/3 mile round trip or 3.3 miles 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.
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.
Bird Rock Falls/French Broad Falls (Mill Shoals) (2)
51 miles from Asheville (1 hour 9 minutes)
Trail Length: 0.25 miles round trip
French Broad Falls (Mill Shoals) and Bird Rock Falls are grouped together because of how close they are to each other. French Broad Falls is a set of twin waterfalls near Asheville, closest to Brevard and also off the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway.
A second waterfall (Bird Rock Falls or Cathedral Falls) is reachable within a half-mile roundtrip 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.
55 miles from Asheville (1 hour 9 minutes)
Variable Trail Lengths
The tallest waterfalls in the area can be found nearest to Banner Elk, but just over an hour from Asheville. Visiting Linville Falls is one of 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.
You can start your hike from the visitor’s center or an overflow lot off NC 105. There are three viewing stations to see these rushing waterfalls.
If you are feeling strong and it hasn’t rained recently, great views can be had from the Plunge Basin trail (1.4 miles) into the gorge. Distant views of Linville Falls also await at Table Rock Mountain, one of the shorter yet steeper hikes in the Gorge.
After you visit Linville Falls, don’t forget to swing by Famous Louise’s Rockhouse Restaurant for some food. It’s one of the best restaurants in the area!
Read More: Wiseman’s View of the Linville Gorge
Roaring Fork Falls
47 miles from Asheville (1 hour 10 minutes)
Trail Length: 1-mile round trip
You can easily hike to Roaring Fork Falls and its Black Mountains neighbors Setrock Creek Falls and Crabtree Falls (see below) in one day. First, you’ll need to reach Roaring Fork Falls, which is more of a stroll than a hike.
We still love the path, which is mostly flat and paved, once a fairly active forest service road. The walk’s highlight is a 100-foot-long cascade that weaves along the rocks, framed by rhododendrons and greenery.
Gorges State Park (4)
54 miles from Asheville (1 hour 11 minutes)
Trail Length: 3.9 miles round trip
You might think Gorges State Park would tie DuPont State Forest for most waterfalls near Asheville in one park, but the 3.5-mile Rainbow Falls Trail takes you outside the park’s boundaries into Pisgah National Forest.
In fact, this state park will lead you to three waterfalls, including the 150-foot Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls.
The unmarked Hidden Falls also sits off the trail, right before Rainbow Falls. It is a great swimming spot with a 10-foot waterfall. You won’t see a sign for Hidden Falls, but you’ll notice a clearing to your right and large rock outcroppings that serve as the perfect picnic spot.
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.
Also at Gorges State Park (on a separate trail) is Bearwallow Falls, reachable via a 0.4-mile strenuous hike.
50 miles from Asheville (1 hour 12 minutes)
Trail Length: 2.6 miles round trip
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.
On its own, a view of the falls from the wooden bridge that crosses over the creek is worthy of the drive and hike.
Deep Creek Trail (3)
68 miles from Asheville (1 hour 15 minutes)
Trail Length: 2.4 miles or 5 miles round trip
Deep Creek Trail inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park will take you to three waterfalls near Asheville (Indian Creek Falls, Tom Branch Falls, and Juney Whank Falls). This hike near Bryson City and 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.
58 miles from Asheville (1 hour 17 minutes)
Trail Length: 0.2 miles round trip
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.
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.
Setrock Creek Falls
50 miles from Asheville (1 hour 17 minutes)
Trail Length: 1 mile round trip
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.
To and from the waterfall is a mostly flat 1-mile path, which originates at the Black Mountain Campground.
While the parking lot may be close to full when you arrive, the hike and falls are not as crowded. This could be for multiple reasons.
One is that the campground serves as the trailhead for the 12-mile round trip Old Mitchell Hike that’ll take you to the summit of Mount Mitchell.
High Shoals Falls
72 miles from Asheville (1 hour 19 minutes)
Trail Length: 2.7 miles 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 inside South Mountains State Park is pretty nice, too. This 80-foot waterfall is reachable after a mostly steady hike, though it gets pretty steep near the end.
Some really nice streams run alongside the path and are a nice addition to this wonderful waterfall hike.
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Upper Whitewater Falls
61 miles from Asheville (1 hour 20 minutes)
Trail Length: 0.5 miles round trip
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.
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.
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57 miles from Asheville (1 hour 23 minutes)
Trail Length: 0.7 miles round trip
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 a quarter-mile hike, 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.
Upper Creek Falls
64 miles (1 hour 23 minutes)
Trail Length: 1.6-mile loop
We swing back up to the High Country for Upper Creek Falls, which is a great swimming hole waterfall near Banner Elk. This one is a cascading waterfall that drops 80 feet over a gradual slope.
There’s even a rope for some Tarzan-esque fun. As always, please be careful and don’t go alone because there is no lifeguard on duty.
Panthertown Valley Waterfalls
Cold Mountain Gap Trailhead: 57 miles from Asheville (1 hour 26 minutes)
Panthertown Valley and Salt Rock Gap Trailheads: 66 miles from Asheville (1 hour 42 minutes)
Variable Trail Lengths
Panthertown Valley is home to quite a few waterfalls near Asheville. This is a 6,311-acre backcountry wilderness area in Jackson County, near Cashiers (and Sapphire).
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 via a 1.25-mile hike (2.5 miles roundtrip) from the Cold Mountain Gap Trailhead, near Lake Toxaway. Greenland Creek Falls and Mac’s Falls are two other popular waterfalls in this area.
Granny Burrell Falls and Frolictown Creek Falls are closer to the Salt Rock Gap trailhead on the west side of Panthertown Valley.
Silver Run Falls
67 miles from Asheville (1 hour 37 minutes)
Trail Length: 1,000 feet round trip
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.
Hence the name Silver Run Falls.
There’s limited official parking available, but if you can snag a spot, a short 500-foot walk will take you to an excellent pool. You’ll have plenty of space to leave your shoes and enjoy a dip in the cool water.
The pool’s slow entry of soft sand is perfect for kids and anyone who just wants to get their feet wet.
Elk River Falls
77 miles from Asheville (1 hour 39 minutes)
Trail Length: 0.5 miles round trip
Probably one of the most photogenic waterfalls is Elk River Falls, a 50-foot plunging waterfall that we highly recommend!
Another great one closest to Banner Elk, the falls are reachable after a short quarter of a mile trail with some steep steps along the way.
The views are absolutely worth any trouble along the way, though. Bring your swimsuit, too, as this is a popular place to hop in the cool mountain water!
Again, please be careful and do not get in the water from above the waterfall. You can be taken over the falls by the swift currents. Also, do not jump or dive from above the waterfall. Injuries and deaths have occurred here.
76 miles from Asheville (1 hour 39 minutes)
Trail Length: 1.2 miles round trip
Otter Falls is easily one of the most beautiful waterfalls near Asheville, also in the High Country. You’ll get to admire these falls in between a moderate/strenuous 1.2-mile round trip hike.
The four trails here (including two loops) sit inside the resort community of Seven Devils. Those paths were funded by several donors from the community in 2015.
With a quick change of elevation of 230 feet, you’ll be rewarded with a nice observation deck to view the falls. The way back up will remind your calves of that change.
87 miles from Asheville (1 hour 44 minutes)
Trail Length: 2 miles round trip
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!
Glen Burney Trail (3)
90 miles from Asheville (1 hour 46 minutes)
Trail Length: 3.1 miles round trip
An ancient Native American path will take you down for nearly 2 miles and you’ll pass Cascades Falls at 0.8 miles, Glen Burney Falls at 1.2 miles, and Glen Marie Falls at 1.6 miles from the trailhead.
Of them all, we love Glen Burney Falls the most, but we’ll let you be the judge.
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Laurel Creek Falls (aka Trashcan Falls)
94 miles from Asheville (1 hour 50 minutes)
Trail Length: 0.3 miles round trip
If you ask an App State student or alum, they’ll probably refer to this one as Trash Can Falls. That’s because a dumpster used to mark the trailhead.
The dumpster is gone but Laurel Creek Falls remains a popular swimming hole waterfall. The trail is short at 0.15 but is steep but the trail is well-maintained.
When you reach the parking lot, cross the street for the trail. Don’t worry if you’re confused like we were upon arrival. We didn’t have service when we arrive and were a bit confused to see people wading in the stream next to the parking lot.
Also, many locals aren’t too happy with the popularity of this waterfall so please be respectful and leave no trace.
92 miles from Asheville (1 hour 56 minutes)
Trail Length: 1.3 miles round trip
The last of our Asheville-area waterfalls 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.
Reaching the waterfall 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 a small sandy beach await for you to enjoy a relaxing dip in some water!
Ready to Explore these Waterfalls near Asheville?
And as we mentioned, there are hundreds of waterfalls near Asheville. 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 so, what are your favorite waterfalls near Asheville?
If you’ve got a beautiful waterfall (or multiple) that you’d like to share, let us know in the comments section below and we might just add it to our list!