Waterfalls are a great attraction to visit year round. Enjoy peak foliage in the fall, maybe take a swim in the summer, or catch a glimpse of ice formations/icicles in the winter. Nantahala National Forest is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Western North Carolina.
Nantahala is the largest national forest in North Carolina, encompassing over 530,000 acres with elevations up to 5,800 feet. The forest is located in the wettest region in the country; situated in the mountains and valleys of Western North Carolina.
The Cherokee and their indigenous ancestors occupied the region for thousands of years. In some areas of the forest, the sun only reaches the floors of the deep valleys at midday. Therefore, the national forest was named after the Cherokee word “Nantahala,” which means “land of the noon day sun.’’
Dry Falls is a 75 foot waterfall located along the Mountain Scenic By-Way (Hwy 64 between Franklin and Highlands) in the Cullasaja Gorge. This waterfall flows over a cliff and features a walkway where you can walk behind the waterfall for viewing. There are easy to moderate trails to access the waterfall and an easily accessible observation area.
Upper White Water Falls plunges 411 feet, making it the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. It is joined with another 400 feet of South Carolina’s lower white water falls; making it a total of 811 feet. For a full view, take the .25 mile walk to the upper overlook.
Silver Run Falls is a great family friendly 25 foot waterfall that flows into a pool and beach area at the base of the waterfall. This feature makes it a great place for swimming and relaxing. There are a couple of observation points and easy to moderate trails to access the waterfall.
Remember to make safety a priority and explore with proper caution. Dogs must be kept on leash if permitted on trails.