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4 High Country Hikes With Waterfalls

Pierrette Rouleau, PhD

About Pierrette:  Pierrette is most fulfilled when she is working on behalf of someone else...

About Pierrette:  Pierrette is most fulfilled when she is working on behalf of someone else...

Aug 27 3 minutes read

Summer is in full swing, and if you haven’t made time to get out of the house and into the great outdoors, I have news for you: there is no time like the present! The mountains of North Carolina have so many incredible hikes… especially waterfalls. Did you know that Brevard, North Carolina alone has 250+ waterfalls? 

We’ve made a list of some of the best waterfalls local to the High Country so you can cool off and get your nature fix. 

1. Crabtree Falls

Length of hike: 2.5 miles 

 Grassy Creek, N.C.

Crabtree Falls is a great hike that’s not too long or steep. The waterfall itself has a 60-foot drop, so there’s still a good payoff. (And it’s even better after there’s been a summer rainstorm.)

Grassy Creek is at Milepost 339.5 on the Parkway, which is next-door neighbors with Mount MItchell and Linville Falls. Turn into the Crabtree Falls Recreation Area and drive past the campground station, and trailhead will be on the right. 

2. Glen Burney Trail

Length of hike: 2.1 miles 

243 Laurel Ln., Blowing Rock, N.C.

Fun fact: The Glen Burney Trail was originally a Native American pathway, according to local legend. The trail was officially created during the 1800s when the tourism trade started to grow in Blowing Rock. Today, the trail is used primarily for hiking and birdwatching. Dogs are allowed on this trail, but they must be kept on-leash. The waterfall at the end of the trail is 40 feet, slightly smaller than Crabtree Falls, but still beautiful! 

3. Linville Falls 

If ther

Erwins View trail length: 1.6 miles  

Linville Gorge trail length: 1.4 miles 

Linville Falls, N.C.

If you want a waterfall hike with not just one trail option but two, Linville Falls is the way to go. The trails vary in length, so you can choose which one is the best fit for you. The Erwins View trail has three overlooks (Chimney View, Gorge View, and Erwins View overlooks) and is the more strenuous of the two. At Erwin’s View overlook, you can see both the upper and lower parts of Linville Falls, which is pretty awesome. 

The Linville Gorge trail is slightly shorter but just as strenuous as the Erwins Trail. The Gorge trail winds through the valley of the falls and ends at the Plunge Basin overlook. 

Note: Swimming is strictly prohibited at Linville Falls, per the National Park Service. 

4. Cascade Falls

Length of hike: 1 mile 

E. B. Jeffress Park, Deep Gap, N.C.

Cascade Falls might look tiny in the photograph, but at 150 feet, it’s one of the tallest falls of the group. The falls itself is off the Mountains to Sea Trail and has breathtaking views. In addition to Cascade Falls, there are also some reconstructed cabins and a Baptist church off the trail at Tompkins Knob, which are fun to check out while you are in the area. According to several sources, the church was used not only for Sunday worship, but also to lodge traveling preacher.

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