The Asheville area of the North Carolina mountains is home to hundreds of waterfalls, many of which are easily accessible and offer beautiful sights year-round. Enjoy cascades framed by colorful foliage in the fall, wade in cool base pools during spring and summer months, and drink in unobstructed views of often-hidden areas of the falls in the winter.
The online travel vacation guide RomanticAsheville.com Travel Guide recommends 20 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.
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.
Located near Highlands, this 75-foot waterfall allows the rare treat of walking safely behind it. Nearby, drive behind Bridal Veil Falls.
In the summer months, cool off as you slide down this 60-foot cascade in the Pisgah National Forest, near Looking Glass Falls. During cooler weather, enjoy the setting from viewing decks.
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.
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.
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 upper section of the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi 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. And it’s a beautiful setting to enjoy any time of the year.
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.
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.
Located near Cherokee in the Great Smoky Mountains, this 200-foot waterfall is a short walk from the parking area.
Hickory Nut Falls
This 404-foot waterfall in Chimney Rock Park was featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. Take the easy hiking trail to its base.
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.
To find even more in the North Carolina mountains, see the Top 60 Waterfalls near Asheville.