September 17, 2019 2 min read

Waterfalls are one of mother nature's greatest, most serene gifts. In the US, North Carolina is home to some breathtaking, must-see waterfalls. Visiting the Smoky or Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina is a fantastic way to getaway into the mountains and feast your eyes on these splendid wonders. 

Most of the waterfalls in North Carolina are located near mountain towns or within driving distance of Asheville. One can plan a full day of seeing waterfalls from Asheville, which is a lovely central location full of places to stay, eat and shop. Other towns that you may want to plan your trip around include Bryson City, Brevard, Cherokee, Highlands or Hendersonville. Our stunning travel map of North Carolina can help you do this. Here are just a few of the many waterfalls to see in North Carolina.

Linville Falls

Linville FallsLinville Falls offers several ways to view this gorgeous natural attraction. With short trails that lead to breathtaking views or access that offers a close-up experience of the 90-foot drop into the Linville Gorge. Expect to see trees clinging to the sides of jagged cliff walls everywhere along the way.

The main trail is about a 1.6-mile return-walk, featuring 2 lookouts. There is a spur that leads you to the center of the falls. The first lookout is only a half-mile walk that takes you to a rock ledge for some great photo opportunities, while offering a sense of scale of the falls that you won’t perceive from the main area.

The best view of the falls is further along the trail at the Chimney View overlook. This small ledge juts out over the gorge and from here you can see the entire scene, including both the upper and lower falls as well as the gorge pool at the bottom.

Whitewater Falls

Whitewater Falls Upper PortionWhitewater Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in North Carolina, tumbling 811 feet over two ledges. It is located near the town of Cashiers and is part of the Nantahala National Forest. The first lookout is about a quarter of a mile from the parking lot and is located along a wide and paved path. This easy-to-reach lookout is ideal for those with mobility issues as well as strollers and wheelchairs.  From this first lookout you can walk down 154 stairs to see a better view of the falls.

Catawba Falls

Catawba FallsJust off Interstate 40, Catawba Falls is an easy-to-access waterfall that also offers swimming opportunities for those who want to wade in the water. The waterfall tumbles down over 100 feet of rocky ledges into larger pools at the bottom. It holds the appearance of dozens of smaller waterfalls. You can get close to it and feel the mist from the falls. To reach the base of the waterfall, you need to tread up a wide and slightly uphill trail. Here you can enjoy a swim and even picnic on large fallen trees or the rounded boulders that surround the base. If you want to continue hiking, you can extend your hike up the steep incline that runs beside the waterfall. The rocks and roots can be slippery and it is recommended that only experienced hikers with proper footwear tread this second trail.


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