We love our waterfalls here in the NC Smokies. If you combine Haywood County and it’s surrounding counties, together you’ve got almost more waterfalls than you could possibly have time for – which is why you’ll need to come back and visit several times to check them all out! These majestic natural features are one of the most well-known calling cards of Western North Carolina. You’ll find waterfalls ranging from large, booming falls with 100+ foot drops to smaller, hidden falls located well off the beaten path. Each one is unique in it’s own regard and well worth the adventure of finding them.
With that said, we do want to take this opportunity to also offer a word of caution and advise you of the extreme dangers of waterfalls. These amazing natural features can be beautiful yet dangerous if safety is not kept in mind when visiting. Waterfalls and their surrounding terrain are very slippery and have unpredictable conditions that can result in severe accidents and even death. When visiting these special places, please adhere to any rules posted. If no signs are posted still do not get anywhere remotely close to the edge nor climb on rocks surrounding the falls. If you practice safety and follow the rules, you are in for an wonderful adventure at our local waterfalls.
Here are a few of our wicked cool favorites…
Soco Falls, located just a short walk off the main road, is a perfect way to start your scenic adventure. From Maggie Valley head up US 19 South to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Cross under the Parkway and continue downhill towards Cherokee. From the Parkway, it’s 1.5 miles to a marked pull–off on the left side of the road. There’s a small blue sign indicating Soco Falls 0.5 miles ahead. The trail begins at the break in the guardrail. The short, steep trail ends at a viewing deck overlooking the falls.
Just a quick drive from Canton, NC. This plunge-type waterfall is located in one of the most popular areas of the Pisgah National Forest, near the Davidson River. It’s a delightful, beautiful walk thru fern-filled woods. And it’s easy enough for families with small children to take. This falls is highly recommended, and a hike to it can be combined with another hike in the area if you are looking for a more difficult day of hiking.
Stunning waterfalls and a distinctive landscape make Graveyard Fields one of the most popular hiking areas in the North Carolina mountains. Graveyard Fields experienced catastrophic fires in the last century, once in 1925 and again in the early 1940s. These fires swept through the area, destroying the stumps and scorching the soil enough to render it sterile. From Waynesville or Brevard: Take US 276 to the Blue Ridge Parkway through Pisgah National Forest, then go south on the Parkway to milepost 418.8.
Get your camera ready for this 60 foot tall waterfall that cascades down and creates a nice cooling mist. Observe Looking Glass from a viewing area at the top of the stairs. You can also take the steps down, and view the falls from a lower platform.
From intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, enter Pisgah National Forest. Go 5.6 miles on US-276. The falls (and parking) are on your right. Alternatively, if you’re coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway, proceed south on US-276 for 9.2 miles and the falls will be on your left.
Don’t let the adventure end here. There are plenty more waterfalls to explore in our area. If you need some more suggestions, swing by the Haywood County Visitor Center at 1110 Soco Rd in Maggie Valley to pick up some more information on area waterfalls. Happy exploring!