Brevard, North Carolina is visited for its beautiful state parks of forests and hiking trails. Home to more than 250 waterfalls throughout the area it has become known as the Land of the Waterfalls attracting people from all over.
Whitewater Falls is the place to go if you want to see the King of Waterfalls. If stepping behind the falls is what you seek then head to Moore Cave Falls. For an adventure then Cathey’s Creek Falls is the right choice. Hot summer days are best spent with the family swimming in Hooker Falls.
Capture scenes of winter wonderland at Turtleback Falls and search for the colors in the mist at Rainbow Falls. See scenes from Hollywood's silver screen at Bridal Veil Falls. Each one deserves to be explored as not one is alike.
Look no further than Brevard if you want to spend the day chasing waterfalls. It is the go-to destination for nature lovers so follow along to find out which waterfall is perfect for you.
1. Whitewater Falls
The highest waterfall across the Eastern United States is located 26 miles outside of Brevard near Cashiers, dubbed the King of Waterfalls. Whitewater Falls is made up of two parts and extends into both North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Upper Falls drops 411 feet while its Lower Falls is accessed in South Carolina falling another 400 feet. In total, Whitewater Falls plummets an astounding 811 feet.
To best see the Upper Whitewater Falls you can follow the paved path to the upper overlook. There are benches along the way in case you need a rest. The trail is accessible for all styles of mobility.
You can visit from the dawn hours until dusk sets and is open year-round and there is a small parking fee. Whitewater Falls is also pet friendly with picnic tables and toilets.
Further down there are 154 steps that can take you to a second overlook and a bench break stop for when you are climbing back up. You can't access the falls from these lookouts but it is a must to see the panoramic views, especially with the colors of fall.
Weekends and warm summer days attract the crowds and tour buses to visit the waterfalls so it's best to visit earlier in the day before the paths become busy.
2. Rainbow Falls (High Falls)
About 40 minutes outside of Brevard in Gorges State Park is Rainbow Falls. A 150-foot drop that carries the Horsepasture River. Some also refer to it as High Falls. It is one of the best waterfalls to visit to cool down from its mist after hiking.
The walk takes around 30 minutes for 1.5 miles and is a well-maintained trail. Be prepared to walk on gravel trails, cross small creeks, and walk alongside the river and through the forest. But there is a trail to follow so you will know you are going in the right direction.
It can be a bit challenging so you may not want to visit with toddlers unless you have something comfortable to carry them in. Pack enough water to stay hydrated and good hiking shoes. When it rains the trail can get muddy.
Water continuously flows through the various seasons so there isn’t a time when the water trickles. Be aware that when the rocks become wet at the falls, they are very slippery and can cause you to fall.
The falls derived their name from the rainbows that appear in the mist and to best see them visit in the morning before the sun is high.
Standing in front will help you see the magic that appears. The scenery at the falls is captivating and the perfect setting for a picnic.
Rainbow Falls is pet friendly and can be accessed in the winter to see the frozen falls turn into a winter wonderland.
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3. Cathey’s Creek Falls
Credit: Sharon / Flickr
Cathey’s Creek Falls is a waterfall for those that like a little excitement off the beaten path. It's not the trail that makes it daring but the steep bank that you must go down to reach the almost 80-foot waterfall.
This is one waterfall this is worth the extra effort to capture photographs of its natural setting. Finding it is part of the adventure.
West of Brevard on US 64 about 3 miles look for Kuykendall Camp sign as a marker to turn right. Immediately after turning left make your way on Cathey's Creek Road. It changes into Forest Service Road 471 and then continue for 3.2 miles.
Before the parking area, you will see power lines to help indicate you have arrived. It’s a gravel road with a spot for only a few cars and there isn’t any signage.
The sound of the waterfall will let you know you are in the right spot. You can’t see it from the road in the summer months for the trees but in the winter, you can get a glimpse.
The steep narrow path is only a quarter of a mile but take your time. The scenery is of green moss-covered rocks surrounded by plenty of trees. During the autumn the leaves decorate the falls and create beautiful photos.
Regardless of the levels of rain, there is generally a flow of water since it is fed by a good size stream. This is not a waterfall to visit when it is raining or wet as it can be quite dangerous to venture down to. It is wise to not explore this waterfall with little ones but your pet may be up for the excitement.
4. Looking Glass Falls
This roadside waterfall is 15 minutes from Brevard into the Pisgah National Forest just off of US 276. The 60-foot waterfall can be seen from the road without even having to leave the parking lot.
For this, Looking Glass Falls is one of the easiest falls to see and most popular allowing everyone a chance to see its beauty.
The top viewing area does not have any stairs, therefore it is accessible to all. If you have the time to spare for 0.5 a mile there and back then it is more than worth the effort to take a better look.
The walkway to Looking Glass Falls is pet friendly but they are required to be on a leash. A small flight of stairs leads you to the observation deck where you can see how the falls got their name.
During the winter months, the frozen falls create what looks like a looking glass effect against the rocks. The early hours of the morning are the best time to see this when the sun starts to shine.
Winter is also an ideal time to see the falls in peace without the crowds. During the summer months, you can continue past the observation area down to the water and boulders for wading and swimming.
It can become quite busy and congested due to its ease of access. However, it is swimming at your own risk. Remember it can be quite slippery and the water from the falls is strong.
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5. Moore Cove Falls
Moore Cove Falls stands out from the others allowing you to journey behind the 50-foot-tall waterfall. This waterfall is 10 miles outside of Brevard and is a wonderful way to get back into nature away from the crowds.
A stone bridge starts the walk followed by wooden footbridges and boardwalks through the forest and ferns. The adventure to the falls is ideal for nature photography. It is a relatively easy 1-mile round trip trail that all ages can do. It is also pet friendly for leashed animals.
Finding Moore Cove Falls requires you to enter Pisgah National Forest, from Brevard is 6.5 miles north. Continue past Looking Glass Falls for 1 mile. The parking lot will have an information board indicating you are at the correct destination.
The best time to see the falls is not long after the rain when there is a good flow of tumbling water. During the drier season, the water is reduced and only trickles over, however, it is perfect to go inside and sit in the reclusiveness of the cave.
The falls can be visited year-round and the winter is a great time to see the frozen hanging ice dropping into the mound that builds up along the base.
6. Hooker Falls
A roundtrip of less than a mile Hooker Falls is one of the shortest falls to hike. Located in DuPont State Forest you can find this accessible waterfall 20 minutes outside of Brevard. It is the place to be to cool off on a summer’s day.
Make sure to bring your swimsuit for the swimming hole at the base of the waterfall. Hooker Falls is not a tall waterfall at 12 feet, but it is quite wide.
The current is not too strong with just a slight flow. This makes it an excellent place to visit with the family and children. Pets can also come with for the day, just keep them on the leash.
Many spend the day with a picnic around the water's edge in its natural setting. The pool of water is shallow to wade in. You will see plenty of people enjoying the day floating with water toys and cooling off under the small waterfall.
It is free to visit and can be accessed from dawn to dusk. There are no restrooms down at the natural swimming hole. However, with just a short walk back up to the parking area, you can use the restroom and change rooms.
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7. Bridal Veil Falls
Famous for its appearance in the Last of the Mohicans, Bridal Veil Falls is only a 35-minute hike to see it off the big screen. It has also made its way into the scenes of Game of Thrones. It is a 30-minute drive from Brevard in DuPont State Forest.
Bridal Veil Falls is family-friendly with restrooms and a visitor center if you start your walk from the High Falls parking area. From here it is 2.2 miles.
Expect the path to be gravel, relatively level elevation, and wide. For this reason, you will see many choosing to mountain bike on this trail.
Fawn Lake Access is an alternative route of close to 2 miles one way also with gravel roads. Follow the road the .01 mile and left on Conservation Road past the airstrip for 1.7 miles. On the left, you will see Bridal Veil Falls Road. The road will become a trail and after .53 miles you will have arrived at the base of the falls.
Some chose to walk up on the falls as they saw on television but they are quite dangerous because it is rushing water.
The falls have become quite popular as a result of their fame and can become busier as the day progresses. Heading here in the morning or during the week can make your experience a bit more peaceful.
The falls are a lot larger than they appear to be. In total it is almost 200 feet but what you see is 60 feet of cascades on wide exposed granite. The best time to safely stand behind the overhanging ledge is when there hasn’t been any rainfall.
If you want to see the falls flowing well with streams of water, spring is best, especially after the rains. This is when you can photograph the falls at their best. Don't forget your pets as you can bring them with you too.
8. Triple Falls
This 120-foot waterfall is gorgeous throughout all the seasons of the year and is perfect at any time. It is a 20-minute drive from Brevard making it a quick and easy year-round escape.
Just as the name states, Triple Falls has three cascades tucked away in the DuPont State Forest. It has also had a brush with Hollywood in Last of the Mohicans and Game of Thrones.
Starting at the Hooker Falls parking lot saves you time and is only half a mile. Another option is from the parking area for High Falls combining your hike with another local waterfall.
This route will just be a little over a mile. There are no restrooms at Triple Falls but they are available at the parking location for High Falls. It is a moderate hike for children but not too overwhelming for them.
If you do need to rest there are large rocks and benches. Pets are welcome too on their leash. The path is wide and gravel with a short but steep incline at the beginning and is well marked.
One of the unique things about Triple Falls is that you can stand between the falls. In the middle, there is a flat and dry plateau to go out on. It is safe from the water and anyone can go out just don’t go close to the falls.
During the spring the water can have a lot of force from the rain so exercise caution and don't attempt to enter the water. Even during the summer months, the water rushes and can be powerful.
Many families will come out for an afternoon picnic at the water. But one of the best ways to beat the crowds is to come early in the morning for a quiet picnic.
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9. Log Hollow Falls
With only a mile roundtrip, Log Hollow Falls is an extremely easy waterfall for all ages to visit. Just 30 minutes from Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest is a small yet scenic waterfall that is great for photographing.
Often missed for its unmarked location Log Hollow Falls can become your private falls. After leaving Brevard travel along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. 10.5 miles after entering the Pisgah National Forest make a left onto FR 475B which is an unpaved road for 1.6 miles.
The left turn is sharp and you will see forest signage information. On the right, you will see FS 5043, a gated service road and this is where you will park by. Seniard Ridge Trail will indicate where you begin the walk.
One of the best parts is the forest road walk to the falls. The hike goes over wood bridges and is fun for the kids. However, there are no restroom facilities. The trail is wide, level, and great for pets on an old logging road.
Standing at only 25 feet high the water rushes down in several different directions over the rocks. The hidden spot in the forest is available in the winter months as well but may see some road closures from January to March.
If you have the time continue to the second falls. There is a path for another half a mile that takes you to an unnamed waterfall that stands at 80 feet. To return you just follow the same path back.
10. Turtleback Falls
Turtleback Falls is named after its curvature shape like that of the turtle’s shell creating the gentle slope. Also known as Umbrella Falls it is the ideal place to relax in Pisgah National Forest.
Fed by the Horsepasture River, Turtleback Falls is not a grand waterfall at only 20 feet. During the winter season, it is a spectacular place to photograph its winter scenes.
Begin your journey at Grassy Ridge parking area in Gorges State Park that is marked for the 1.5-mile Rainbow Falls trail. Turtleback Falls is just a quarter mile further.
You will come across some steep areas as well as stairs and lots of wildflowers. The roundtrip walk is about 3.5 miles and mainly downhill on the way to the falls.
The summer months are the busiest since many come to cool off from the heat. It became a very popular place to slide into the cold water however, warnings have since been advised.
Despite this, it continues to be especially crowded on the weekends. Chose a weekday or in the morning if you are wanting a quiet experience at the falls.
Swimming and sliding down the waterfall natural water slide are warned against unless the water level is low. The heavy rainfalls can create dangerous conditions with the currents flowing over to Rainbow Falls only a quarter mile away.
Use caution if deciding to enter the water. Many will choose to wade in the cold water at the base of the shore. Pack a picnic, snacks, lots of water, and sunscreen, and enjoy a day out with the family and your pets.
There are rocks all around the edge where you can sit out and read and relax. It is also a good stop to take photos of a uniquely shaped waterfall, especially during the fall with the golden hues.
Brevard North Carolina holds endless hidden gems to be enjoyed. These are some of the 10 most beautiful waterfalls to put on your list of must-see things to do on your next visit to the Land of the Waterfalls.