Asheville and western North Carolina have hundreds of waterfalls, many of which are easily accessible year-round. Enjoy cascades framed by colorful foliage in the fall, wade in cool base pools during spring and summer months, and get unobstructed views of often-hidden areas of the falls in the winter.
Here are 20 of our favorite waterfalls to enjoy in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains:
High Falls & Triple Falls: A three-mile easy hike takes you to the base of three waterfalls in DuPont State Forest. High Falls is a powerful 150-foot drop and Triple Falls was a film location for The Hunger Games. Nearby is Hooker Falls.
Looking Glass Falls: You don’t have to get out of your car to see this 60-foot waterfall, located on the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway between Brevard and Blue Ridge Parkway. There are many other waterfalls in this section of Pisgah National Forest.
Daniel Ridge Falls (near Looking Glass Falls) is a 150-foot cascade along a tranquil hiking trail.
Sliding Rock: In the summer months, slide down this 60-foot cool cascade in the Pisgah National Forest. During cooler weather, enjoy the setting from viewing decks.
Linville Falls: The most photographed waterfall in North Carolina is on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take a moderate 1.6-mile hike with four overlooks to enjoy a variety of views of the falls and Linville Gorge.
Dry Falls: Located near Highlands, this 75-foot waterfall allows the rare treat of walking safely behind it. Nearby, drive behind Bridal Veil Falls.
Graveyard Fields: The highland meadow on the Blue Ridge Parkway features trails to two waterfalls. Second Falls is just 1/3 of a mile from the parking area.
Rainbow Falls: This 150-foot waterfall in the Nantahala National Forest is accessed by a hiking trail in Gorges State Park. Slide and swim at nearby Turtleback Falls.
Crabtree Falls: This beautiful 70-foot waterfall, near Linville Falls, is along a 2.5-mile loop woodland hiking trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Upper Whitewater Falls: The highest waterfall east of the Rockies plunges 411 feet and is easily viewed via a short paved trail.
Skinny Dip Falls: This refreshing swimming hole on the Blue Ridge Parkway has several cascades, perfect for a hot summer day dip.
Pearson’s Falls: This 90-foot waterfall in a beautiful glen is located between Saluda and Tryon. It’s a must stop if you are driving on I-26 to/from South Carolina.
Soco Falls: This spectacular twin waterfall is easy to miss. Located along busy Highway 19 between Maggie Valley and Cherokee, there are no signs for the small parking area. A short walk takes you to an observation deck.
Deep Creek Waterfalls: See three waterfalls (Tom Branch Falls, Indian Creek Falls and Juney Whank Falls) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a beautiful hike near Bryson City. A great spot for tubing!
Mingo Falls: Located near Cherokee in the Great Smoky Mountains, this 200-foot waterfall is a short walk from the parking area.
Catawba Falls: Located just three miles from I-40 near Old Fort. Hike 1.5 miles to the lower falls, a 100-foot cascade with best views in the winter since leaves hide the top of the falls.
For detail guides with photos and videos for these and other waterfalls, along with a scenic drives, see our Top 50 Asheville Waterfalls.