Welcome to one of the most beautiful places on Earth - the mountains of western North Carolina! There are literally hundreds of waterfalls and miles and miles of hiking trails in this area - you could spend a lifetime trying to see everything. Western North Carolina is blessed to have over a million acres of national forests, national parks, state parks, and other public lands for our enjoyment and use. The Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests comprise most of this land and offer multiple uses including hiking, water, mountain biking, camping, and horseback riding. Our state parks offer the same activities and contain some of the lesser know hidden jewels. New state parks are still being developed - Gorges State Park, Chimney Rock State Park, and the new Grandfather Mountain State Park are still in their infancy stages of development. And of course there's the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway - America's Favorite Drive. Men and women with extraordinary vision preserved these special places and are constantly working to save more and improve what has already been saved. They do this because they love the land, they love the beauty Mother Nature has bestowed upon this area, and because they want to share it with you, me, and everyone that will take the time to get out and experience it.
Of course, the scenery doesn't stop at the North Carolina border. Upstate South Carolina and Georgia have beautiful waterfalls in their mountain areas. There are enough waterfalls in central and Eastern Tennessee to fill another web site - and of course there's the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on the NC/TN border. I've done my best to include their waterfalls in this site, but still have a lot more places to visit.
I didn't discover this area until 1998. That's when friends invited me up to their mountain home in Lake Toxaway to hike to some of the waterfalls in the area. My first falls were Drift, Turtleback and Rainbow Falls along the Horsepasture River and I've been hooked ever since. I lived near Raleigh at the time and it was a struggle to get over this way more than 5 times a year. By 2002 I just couldn't stand living 4-5 hours away, so I started planning to relocate. In April 2003, the dream became reality and I picked up my life and moved it to Asheville. This site has grown tremendously in the number of visitors - especially in the last 3 years. That's a good thing since it probably means more people are getting outdoors to enjoy Nature's beauty and are looking for info on where to go and what to see. The only down side is I'm getting a lot more emails and am not able to answer all of the inquiries. I'm very sorry if I haven't responded to yours, but please remember that this is a one person operation. Use this site for your visual pleasure or as just one source of info for planning a trip to this area. This site is - and will always be - a work in progress, and I'll do my best to keep it up to date.
PLACES TO GO - This page has links to subsections where falls in the same area are grouped together. Try looking here if you're planning a trip to the area. You'll find photos and directions to the waterfalls, as well as ramblings about the areas and my adventures on various trips.
INDEX - If you would like to see a list of the falls on this site or if you are looking for a particular waterfall, go to the index. The falls are in alphabetical order and there's a link to the page that the information about the fall is on. There may be more than one falls on a page, so you may have to scroll down.
MY BLOG - If you've been following my site for a while, you may have noticed I used to do kind of an image blog of my various adventures both on trail and off trail. I didn't have the time to keep that up for a few years, but have decided to keep a blog of any outdoor activities that I think will be of interest to you. My wife and I do a lot of hiking, and I still go out on my own or meet up with old hiking buddies and new FB friends that share the same interests.
IMAGE GALLERIES - I wanted to create a section of my site where you can go and just look at pictures of this beautiful area. I've found the easiest way for me to present these images is to use PBase.com - an online service separate from my site. The pictures are larger than the ones posted here and include a wider variety of images that you won't find in this section of my site. Click the thumbnails in each gallery for a larger image. These photos are best viewed if your display is set to 1024 x 768. If you have to scroll to see the entire image, you can click 'medium' under each image to get a smaller view.
VIDEO - I have added a lot of videos to both my YouTube and Vimeo Channels over the past few years. Become a subscriber to get notifications when I add new ones!
WILDFLOWERS - As I began hiking more, I couldn't help but notice the beautiful wildflowers that grow along the trails and the roads that take me to the trail heads. So I took pictures of those also and have posted them in one of my PBase galleries.
PRINTS FOR SALE - Thank you for the fantastic response since I first began offering prints for sale! I have recently included a wider variety of sizes and products, including black and white prints, prints on metallic paper, Metal Prints, ThinWraps, and Giclée canvas prints and wraps. I also offer my images for license at a reasonable price. Please email me for details and a quote.
LINKS - The links section has links to other waterfall, mountain and hiking sites and also links to sites with info on camping, lodging and other activities in western North Carolina. If you have one you would like for me to add, please email me.
I realize there's a lot of info to sort through on this site, so I'm trying a Google search. Leave the button set to ncwaterfalls.com, type in your search words, click, and Google will search just within this site. Hope this helps - I may or may not keep this feature.
WARNING!!! Wet rocks are very slippery and people fall to their deaths from waterfalls every year! If you visit them, please be careful and use common sense! Do not climb rocks around the waterfalls and do not ever cross a stream or swim at the top of a waterfall. If you have children, watch them at all times. There are also many species of rare plants near some of these waterfalls, living in and near the spray areas of the falls. Please be very careful not to trample vegetation while exploring any falls!
"I can see my rainbow calling me through the misty breeze of my waterfall." - Jimi Hendrix
7-22-16 - It looks like this year is going to be a bad one for people dying at waterfalls in the area - 8 so far this year that I know about - and that doesn't take into account the number that have been injured. In the most recent incident which was yesterday, a 24 year old woman fell from the top of Rainbow Falls on the Horsepasture River when she slipped into the river above the waterfall. The strong current swept her over the falls. Last week end at Elk Falls, a man died when he jumped off the waterfall for fun. People die and are injured here every year, but that doesn't stop others from risking their lives. In late May, a young man fell 50 feet to his death at High Falls in DuPont State Forest because he deliberately passed a sign saying not to climb on the rock next to the waterfall, climbed up anyway, and fell to his death. In mid May, 2 more young men died at a waterfall in Lake Toxaway Estates when they fell from the top of a private waterfall in the development. Some common sense can go a long way and prevent some of the needless deaths and injuries that occur every year.
More bad news - there has been a recent rash of vehicle break-ins at some of the more popular spots in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard. Some of the spots include Sliding Rock along US276 where people park when the lot is full and Sycamore Flats. It's very important that you lock your vehicles and don't leave valuables in the car! The popular places in this area - Sliding Rock, Skinny Dip Falls, Looking Glass Falls, Graveyard Fields / Black Balsam, etc. - have been extremely overcrowded the past few summers with people parking partially in the road and doing other idiotic things. You can pretty much expect this on any given week end during the summer months and it may be time for the forest service to limit the amount of people that can visit these areas at any given time. Some of these areas are being loved to death. At Graveyard Fields, a split rail fence is now around the grassy area at the parking lot so people can't park there, and is being extended to the sections along the Parkway where there were 'Do Not Park Between These Signs' signs that people have been parking between. If you plan on visiting these areas, go early or have a Plan B.
In April 2016, representatives of a variety of Pisgah user groups, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, announced the formation of a North Carolina non-profit corporation called The Pisgah Conservancy. The mission of the Pisgah Conservancy is "to provide funding to preserve the natural resources and scenic beauty of the Pisgah Ranger District and to enhance the experience of all visitors to Pisgah. The Pisgah Conservancy’s efforts will be focused on sustainable recreational usage of the Forest, watershed improvement, eradication of invasive species, removal of waste, litter, and graffiti, wildlife habitat improvement, and education." Right now the forest service doesn't have the funding or the manpower to keep up with trail maintenance or to develop new areas for people to enjoy. I became a member of the conservancy right away because I can see the need for what these folks want to accomplish. I hope you will take the time to visit their web site here and consider donating to the cause. Thank you!
3-20-15 The Forest Service announced that it has temporarily closed Graveyard Fields to overnight camping because of aggressive bear activity. This alert is till in effect for 2016. You can still day hike, but no camping. You can read the statement here - and be sure to go back for updates in case I forget to update the info here. I did go back by on August 5 and the camping ban is still in effect. And if you camp here in the future, learn how to properly store food to prevent this from happening!
Now for some good news - there's a new bridge along the Catawba Falls trail so you don't have to wade the river to see the waterfall! It also looks like there will eventually be a safe trail to Upper Catawba Falls! I saw this on the Forest Service Facebook page this morning - "In partnership with McDowell County, North Carolina State Parks, and a federal Recreational Trails Program grant, we rerouted the Catawba Falls trail and installed a trail bridge crossing the Catawba River. A similar bridge across Chestnut Branch will be installed. And we'll be designing a safer route to the upper falls!"
The 3rd edition of Kevin Adams' North Carolina Waterfalls guide book is out and in many of the visitor centers and outdoor gear shops in the area. You can order the book directly from Kevin by clicking here. Kevin had more waterfalls in this book than I will ever have on this site, so you are missing out if you don't get a copy! The updated version of his excellent waterfall map is also out and is available for order. This map is essential in planning your waterfall vacation. You can order it directly from Kevin here or look for it at many of the outdoor shops and book stores in the area.
My hiking pal and finder of many new waterfalls Bernie Boyer has a great photo gallery with a lot of photos of his adventures in this area. You can check it out here.My wife, Cindy Lemon, has just published the second in what will be a series of books (both ebook and paperback) describing various day hikes in the Southern Appalachian mountains. The first book - Southern Appalachian Day Hikes, Pisgah Ranger District - includes family friendly waterfall hikes, and other hikes not on my site including hikes with views, wildflowers, and other goodies. Her latest book, which has just been released, is Southern Appalachian Day Hikes, North Carolina Blue Ridge Parkway Trails highlights family friendly hikes along the NC section of the BRP. She also has 3 more that she is working on, so stay tuned! Both of her books can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Lulu (the link to her Amazon books is here).
If you are new to the site, visiting my PBase galleries from time to time might give you ideas of other places to visit in the area. Some of the spots I visit and shoot don't have waterfalls, so the info isn't posted on my main site here. Most of the images in those galleries are from western North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and upstate South Carolina. The main gallery is here, then click on any of the other galleries for the pictures. I have galleries for the wildflowers, mushrooms, birds, and other things I have seen while out and about, plus galleries from other national parks and areas I have visited. If you have used my site to plan your vacation or find new places to explore and would like to show your appreciation for the time and effort I have put into these pages over the past 15+ years, you can offer a donation via PayPal below. If you notice, I don't have any advertising on this site, and plan on keeping it that way. Thank you to all that have contributed so far!
All updates to the site are listed below so you can tell if anything has changed and if there is a link, it will take you right to the new stuff. I really appreciate all the nice emails I've received saying how much you enjoy the photos and info, or how the site brings back old memories of visiting or living in the mountains. This site has grown tremendously in the past year and unfortunately I don't have the time to respond to all of them. I do read them all and do the best I can. Thanks for visiting!
Upper Catawba Falls
©1998-2016 All photos, images, videos, and ramblings are copyrighted by Rich Stevenson unless otherwise noted. You may download and print any of the content on this site if it will help you in your search for waterfalls. You may not reproduce any of this web site or use any of my pictures any where else online or in print for any reason without my consent. Many of the images on the site are available for license - please email me for more info. This site looks best at 1028x768 screen resolution in 32 bit color.
7-29-16 - added Poundingmill Branch Falls and No Name Cove Falls in the Pisgah Ranger District
7-22-16 - updated the Catawba Falls page with new info and pictures
7-21-16 - added Bennett Cove Falls in the Pisgah Ranger District
7-15-16 - updated the directions for Little Bradley Falls and added a video
7-8-16 - added a video of Wash Hollow Falls to my YouTube channel
7-5-16 - added a video of Hunt Fish Falls to that page and to my YouTube channel
7-4-16 - added Big Bearwallow Falls in the Pisgah Ntional Forest - with video
6-29-16 - added Dennis Cove Falls in Tennessee with video
6-20-16 - added Coon Den Falls in Tennessee to the site and a video of the falls to my YouTube Channel
6-11-16 - updated the info and pictures for Kiesee and Upper Kiesee Falls
6-5-16 - added Case Falls and Emily Falls to the site and added videos to my YouTube Channel - have you subscribed yet??
6-4-16 - added Fungi Falls to the site and added a video of it to my YouTube channel
5-4-16 - updated the Wildcat Wayside Falls in SC page and added a video to my YouTube channel
5-2-16 - added Last Falls and Sweet Thing on Slickum Creek to the South Carolina section and added a video of them to my YouTube channel
4-24-16 - added Melrose Falls to the site and added a video of the falls to my YouTube channel.
4-22-16 - reworked the Upper Creek Falls page and added 2 videos from the area. If you haven't seen this area, move it towards the top of the 'must see' list!
4-20-16 - added Upper Avery Creek Falls to the site and included a video of both the waterfalls on Avery Creek - added the same video to my YouTube channel
4-17-16 - added a video of the Lower Falls at Upper Creek
4-7-16 - added a video of a portion of the hike to Little Bearwallow Falls to my YouTube Channel and to the link below
4-3-16 - added Little Bearwallow Falls in the Hickory Nut Gorge
3-29-16 - added a couple of videos to my YouTube Channel and The Narrows video to the Eastatoe Narrows page
3-27-16 - added a short video of Alarka Falls to my YouTube channel and to the Alarka Falls page here
3-2-16 - added a video of Cliff Falls, Firewater Falls, and Rockcliff Falls to my YouTube channel - also added it to the page here that has the info about the falls
2-29-16 - added Cliff Falls, Firewater Falls, and Rockcliff Falls in Caesars Head State Park, SC
2-23-16 - added Dargans Cascade in South Carolina
2-22-16 - added a video of our hike to Dargans Cascade in Jones Gap State Park to my YouTube channel
2-11-16 - added Eastern Stream Falls which we did on the same hike as Oil Camp Falls below and added a video of both waterfalls to the bottom of each page - also added that same video to my YouTube channel
2-10-16 - added Oil Camp Falls in Jones Gap SP, South Carolina
1-15-16 - added a new video of Moore Cove and Little Moore Cove Falls to my YouTube Channel
1-13-16 - updated the waterfall on Phillips Branch page with 2 more smaller waterfalls and a video
1-11-16 - added a video of Bull Cove and High Falls to my YouTube channel
1-8-16 - updated the Bull Cove and High Falls (Southern Nantahala Wilderness) page
1-4-16 - updated the Jones Gap Falls page and added Toll Road Falls to that same page - both are in Jones Gap SP in South Carolina
12-30-15 - added Little Bird Falls to the site - uncludes a video
12-6-15 - added Merry Falls near DuPont State Forest - it's on private property, but is roadside viewable
11-15-15 - updated the DuPont State Forest section with new directions to High, Triple and Bridal Veil Falls from the High Falls access, new info on Grassy Creek Falls, and a recent video of Wintergreen Falls.
11-8-15 - updated the Issaqueena Falls page and added info and pictures of Stumphouse Tunnel - also updated the Falls Creek Falls page with better directions and trail description
11-7-15 - updated the Yellow Branch Falls page with new pictures, directions, and trail description
9-21-15 - I started a blog for our hikes and adventures. You can follow it here.
8-17-15 - added Upper Meigs Falls to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park section
8-11-15 - added a video and new photo to the High Falls / Pisgah page
8-7-15 - added a hike in the Smokies to waterfalls on Road Prong - also added photos and a video of waterfalls on Wolf Creek in Chimney Rock State Park
8-4-15 - added Forney Creek Cascade in the NC section of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park - also added a hike on Basin Creek in the Doughton Park area of the Blue Ridge Parkway with 2 waterfalls and historic structures
7-30-15 - added videos and updated pictures and info for Mouse Creek Falls and Midnight Hole and for Rainbow Falls in the Smokies
7-29-15 - updated info, pictures, and added a video for Baskins Creek Falls in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park; also added a new waterfall (with video) to the site - Indian Flats Falls in the Smokies. Cindy and I had hiked there back in 2012, but I lost my focus somewhere between then and now and forgot to add it; also added a video and updated photos and info for Lynn Camp Prong
7-28-15 - updated info, pictures and added a video for Catheys Creek Falls - also added a video to the Lower Wildcat page below
7-20-15 - added Lower Wildcat Falls - Hwy 215 north of the Parkway area
6-29-15 - added 3 new waterfalls in the upper South Toe River area
6-12-15 - updated my Bonas Defeat page
5-24-15 - added Hebron Falls and some smaller cascades down creek on Boone Fork
1-4-15 - added a small waterfall on Clawhammer Creek, added a separate page for the waterfall on Avery Creek, and updated the Twin Falls (Pisgah National Forest) page
11-3-14 - added The Narrows in the Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve in South Carolina
8-22-14 - added a hike in Panthertown Valley along Greenland Creek that includes Mac's, Pothole, Schoolhouse Falls and 2 unnamed waterfalls
6-22-14 - added a waterfall on Looking Glass Creek and another on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Woodfin Cascades overlook
4-15-14 - updated the Graveyard Fields section of my site
11-26-13 - added the waterfall on Long Branch in the Pisgah National Forest and a waterfall on Rockhouse Creek also in the Pisgah, right next to the road
11-17-13 - added Wildcat Falls to the site - this is the one off of the Flat Laurel Creek Trail near Hwy 215 and the Blue Ridge Parkway
8-14-13 - added another new waterfall near Lake Toxaway amd Balsam Grove - Bernie's Falls. This is an outstanding waterfall but should only be attempted by experienced outdoors folks.
5-5-13 - added 2 new waterfalls in the Pisgah National Forest - waterfall on the Barnett Branch Trail and a waterfall on Slate Rock Creek
11-24-12 - added a video of Spruce Flats Falls to the bottom of the page - be sure to change the quality on the player for the best viewing
11-5-12 - updated the Gorges State Park and Horsepasture River pages with the latest info I have, and a video on my Whitewater Falls page
1-12-12 - updated the Raven Cliff Falls, SC page and also the Moore Cove Falls page