There is no question that Asheville is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. This is a guide to the best waterfalls near Asheville NC!
Asheville is situated in western NC and is a goldmine when it comes to jaw-dropping nature. These Asheville waterfalls just add to the reasons that you should plan a trip to this city!
We have included some of the best waterfall hikes near Asheville as well as some lesser-known favorites throughout western NC. They are all the perfect day trips from Asheville!
Did we leave out your favorite Asheville waterfall? Let us know in the comments! Thanks!
Waterfall Hikes Near Asheville Map
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Best Waterfalls near Asheville, NC
1. Sliding Rock
This 60-foot flat, sleek boulder in Asheville, North Carolina is one of the most popular tourist destinations and is definitely one of the top things to do in Brevard (near Asheville).
Each summer, you can visit the waterfall in Pisgah National Forest (which is one of the best places near Asheville!) and ride the water down the boulder.
The water is cold, around 50-60 degrees, but that doesn’t stop people from cooling down on hot summer (or even warm North Carolina spring) days!
The natural water slide is one of the most popular waterfalls in North Carolina and it tends to be at its peak every year between April and October, and you can be assured that there are lifeguards on duty at all times.
When you slide down the rock, you will land in an 8-foot pool.
Be aware- this destination is extremely popular in the summer!
2. Upper Whitewater Falls
Upper Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains and it is located 60 miles from Asheville, North Carolina in the Nantahala National Forest.
The waterfall is 811 feet, and the Upper Falls plummets to 411 feet. It’s a highly popular destination for hiking and swimming in the summer, and many people like to cool off and relax on the big rocks.
There are also two overlooks that provide stunning views of the waterfall. It’s open to visitors year-round. Keep in mind that there are some places near the falls where the trail is slippery, so wear proper shoes and be vigilant.
3. Hickory Nut Falls
Lovers of The Last of the Mohicans might remember the stunning Hickory Nut Falls featured in the movie. Hickory Nut Falls stands at 404 feet, making it one of the tallest waterfalls near Asheville and in western NC.
It is located in Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock, North Carolina. The hike to the falls takes around an hour and is great for families. It is one of the best things to do in Hickory NC (and of course, as a day trip from Asheville).
You can also enjoy nature and have a picnic at any of the picnic tables on the trail. The waterfall is home to many rare plants and amphibians, which is why it is worth hiking to the base.
4. Linville Falls
Due to its close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls is considered to be the most popular waterfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains located in Linville Falls, North Carolina. It is a must-visit if you have a weekend in Asheville!
It features a beautiful, three-tiered waterfall that provides spectacular views. The waterfall is particularly popular among hikers due to its trails and the hike to get to it.
The trails range in difficulty, so whether you’re a beginner or an expert hiker, you’ll be able to enjoy your experience and the stunning views provided by the overlooks on both trails.
In addition, you can visit Linville Falls year-round and enjoy nature, especially the colorful trees during fall.
5. Catawba Falls
Located just east of Asheville, North Carolina in Pisgah National Forest, Catawba Falls is a stunning spot to visit any time of the year. It features a series of waterfalls that flow over mossy rocks.
Hikers, especially, enjoy the stunning views of the shady forest along the 2-mile hike. It is 100 feet tall and follows in from the Catawba River.
There is also a convenient footbridge that you can cross to make the hike to the waterfall even easier. Skilled hikers also enjoy hiking the Upper Falls Trail, which is a bit strenuous, but the views make it worthwhile.
This is the perfect day trip before relaxing at some of the best restaurants in Asheville later in the evening.
6. Crabtree Falls
The 70-foot Crabtree Falls is another beautiful waterfall located on the Blue Ridge Parkway around 45 miles north of Asheville. Visitors will have the option of hiking two different trails: the 3-mile trail, which is much easier, or the 3.5-mile trail which goes over a ridge.
It is a bit more strenuous than the 3-mile trail, but the beautiful hike and stunning foliage make the hike worthwhile. There is also a bridge over the creek that provides great views. The best time to visit the waterfall is just after a rainstorm when the falls will be much more abundant.
7. Soco Falls
The 120-foot Soco Falls is located near a Cherokee Reservation 1.5 miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. There is a tiny sign for the falls past the Blue Ridge Parkway crossing, so be sure to look out for it since it is easy for visitors to miss.
The hike to the observation deck to see the falls only takes 5 minutes, making it a great experience for the family.
However, if you want to get a closer view, there is a steep trail from the deck, but it can be slippery, which is why there are ropes to hold onto.
8. Rainbow Falls
Another waterfall to experience in Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina is Rainbow Falls. The 150-foot waterfall enables visitors to see it from the front, bottom, side, and top.
It is a beautiful series of cascades surrounded by massive boulders. The water crashes loudly, which causes mist. This is where the waterfall gets its name from- if the sun is angled right, you will be able to see beautiful rainbows!
Visitors will begin the hike to Rainbow Falls in Gorges State Park. It is around four miles round-trip and there are many other beautiful waterfalls along the way.
9. Looking Glass Falls
Looking Glass Falls in Asheville, North Carolina is especially popular for families due to the fact that it’s one of the few roadside waterfalls in the state.
It is 60 feet tall and named after the reflective Looking Glass Rock. You can climb the steps to get a closer view of the falls, or many people especially enjoy swimming and relaxing on the rocks.
It is always open and visitors do not have to pay a fee. Although it is most popular in the summer, people especially like to visit the Looking Glass Falls in the winter to see the ice creations.
10. Moore Cove Falls
The most unique feature of the 50-foot Moore Cove Falls is that visitors will be able to walk behind it, making it one of the most popular waterfalls near Asheville, North Carolina.
It is only one mile north of Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest. Visitors will be able to hike to the falls from the parking lot, and the hike is fairly easy, which especially makes it a great place to visit with the family.
It does not have a lot of water, so dry spells can reduce the water volume. The falls are open all year, but it’s especially popular in the summer.
11. High Falls
Located in DuPont State Recreational Forest 45 minutes away from Asheville, High Falls is another popular destination for families and tourists.
The gorgeous 150-foot waterfall can be reached by foot or bike, and the trail is fairly moderate. Or, you can access High Falls from the 2-mile High Falls Loop trail, which would let you check out Triple Falls as well.
The waterfall is especially nice for picnics and families to spend a nice summer’s day. People enjoy wading in the pools below the waterfall. There is also a covered bridge at the very top to provide visitors with great views.
12. Dry Falls
Dry Falls is one of the few waterfalls that visitors will actually be able to walk behind while staying mostly dry. You might want to hide your phone or camera, though, because the waterfall does give off a slight mist.
It is 75 feet tall and located in the Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, North Carolina. You only need to take a short walk down the trail in order to reach the waterfall.
The trail to Dry Falls offers plenty of photo ops, and it is a stunning place to visit in any season; in the fall, you can see the colorful trees, and the waterfall creates beautiful ice formations in the winter.
What are your favorite waterfalls near Asheville? Let us know your top Asheville waterfalls in the comments! Thanks!
More East TN / Western NC Travel Resources
- Things to do in Asheville
- Weekend in Asheville itinerary
- Day trips from Asheville
- Best Asheville restaurants
- Asheville in winter
- Best attractions in Charlotte
- Weekend trips from Charlotte
- Things to do in Brevard
- Best hikes near Charlotte
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Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she has lived all around the world (including Germany, Finland, Norway, etc) but her heart always finds its way back to Virginia. This blog is to help encourage travelers to explore the great state of VA… and its wonderful neighbors! Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s Travel, the New York Times, and more. She has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries… and wholeheartedly believes that Brunswick Stew is probably the greatest food to ever exist.