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
6-10-16 - FR140 (Courthouse Creek Rd) reopen today after a lengthy closing. The road was closed August 10, 2015 for a bridge replacement and a combination of wet weather and other issues delayed the completion. Two friends and I were the first ones in today and immediately headed for Red Rock Falls, then followed that up with a hike/bushwhack to Kiesee and Upper Kiesee Falls. The road is in decent shape with new gravel in places, but none in others which will make for a muddy mess in rainy weather. Two wheel drive is still OK, but everybody still drive slowly! There are some very narrow spots along the road. This area has been selected for a big restoration project which will include timber harvesting, road and trail improvement and wildlife habitat improvement. 3 plans were presented (one plan being to do nothing) to the public for discussion and the final decision was announced in September 2013. Here it is. The plans can be read in detail from links on this page. It's a long read, but very interesting. 2 items that really stood out for me are (1) the Summey Cove Trail will be decommissioned and (2) FR140 will become a seasonal forest road meaning it will be closed from Jan 1 through some time in March. From that same link, be sure to look at the Courthouse Decision Map to see where the timber harvesting will occur along with where all of the other activities will be taking place. You can see there won't be any logging along the steep slopes towards NC215 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it will be interesting to see what cutting will be visible from the Parkway. Also be prepared for FR140 to be closed more in the years ahead as this plan unfolds.
It looks like this year is going to be a bad one for people dying at waterfalls in the area - 5 so far this year - and that doesn't take into account the number that have been injured. Last week, 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 and climbed up anyway. 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. Earlier in the year an man drowned at Abrams Falls in the Smokies and at the first of the year, a man fell from Dry Falls in Highlands and dies. Some common sense can go a long way and prevent some of the needless deaths and injuries.
The long wait is finally over! The 3rd edition of Kevin Adams' North Carolina waterfall guide book is hitting the shelves as you read this. 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! A few weeks ago, the updated version of his excellent waterfall map came 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.
A key section of the Blue Ridge Parkway - the Tanbark Tunnel - had been closed for repairs, but is now open. BUT - beginning April 18, a small section of the Parkway just south of Linville Falls will be closed for about 6 weeks to repair the Linville River Bridge. You can click here for the alert, then be sure to click on the interactive map indicating Parkway closures.
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!
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).
I've been very busy the last couple of years and haven't updated the site as much as I would have liked, but I've recently retired and will spend more time offering up new goodies - like more waterfall video, both from the ground and from the air.
An Early Taste of Autumn from Rich Stevenson on Vimeo.
on the trail to Discovery Falls from Rich Stevenson on Vimeo.
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!
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.
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.
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