Did you hear? Nature has opened back up! And what better place to boost your immune system and expand your love than at a waterfall. Get out your picnic gear and load up the vehicle for 5 waterfalls and a picnic. Transylvania County is known as “The Land of Waterfalls,” where weekend outings can usually include 2-3 sightings in a day. We highly recommend downloading the All Trails app on your smartphone for easy navigation and other hikers’ reviews.
Below, we’ve curated a guided itinerary for a driving waterfall tour that will fill your day. Most of these waterfalls are a short walk from a parking area and easy to view, yet we have thrown in three on the route for those that want to stretch their legs and immerse themselves a bit more in the forest.
Before you hit the road, we encourage you to visit a local farmer’s market and grab some picnic basics. Strawberries are incredible right now and are wonderfully paired with Darë Vegan Cheese, Roots and Branches crackers, and summer sausage from Hickory Nut Gap. Grab two bottles of Shanti Elixirs Jun and you are golden!
Now that you’ve got your provisions ready, let’s map out your adventure.
Cathey’s Creek Falls
First, let’s head to Brevard. Our first waterfall is Cathey’s Creek Falls. Located just 6 miles west of downtown Brevard, this waterfall cascades an 80ft rock making it photographers dream subject. The setting is lush and vibrant, perfect for a carefree afternoon adventure with friends or family in tow. The quarter of a mile single track hike is easy yet a little slick at times, so be aware of that aspect. We love this beautiful photograph by Ahmad A. or @ahmaddy_a on Instagram. Check out his photos!
Panthertown Valley is all you need to know. This area is flowing with back to back waterfalls making this round trip spectacularly sporty and fun. This backcountry area is included in the Nantahala National Forest of Jackson County with plenty to discover. Granite rock domes, gorges, clear water streams and endless waterfalls.
Do you love to camp? This is a great area to pop up a tent and settle into one of the many campsites along the river streams. Just be aware of the wildlife, mainly bears, and be sure to take everything out with you when you vacant your camp spot.
If you are ready to stretch out your legs, the moderate 2.6-mile round trip hike to Schoolhouse Falls is a perfect way to start your adventure date. It’s also a great place to cool down! This is a great place to take off your shoes and let the fresh stream refresh your body and mind. We personally love Tranquility Point, just .4-mile further down the trail.
Next up, Whitewater Falls! This one is an easy .6-mile walk to a 400+ foot cascade that will have you in awe. If you take the paved route, when you get the first view, follow the stairs to the right that go down for a slightly altered view and lead to the Foothills Trail.
Silver Run Falls
Silver Run Falls is a .2-mile round trip adventure to a vastly different waterfall, at just 25 ft but featuring a tranquil pool and small beach area. This is another great area to cool off, especially on warm summer days.
Need to stretch out again? Glen Falls is 17.5 miles deeper into your adventure and completely delivers. Here you will witness a cascading plunge including 3 waterfalls. Note that you are hiking down to the falls and will be traveling uphill on your return. Yet, the tranquility experienced here is worth it all.
Bridal Veil Falls
Before we head to the last waterfall of the day, Bridal Veil Falls is a quick stop flowing right on the road. It is the only waterfall in North Carolina that can be driven behind! For your safety, the road has been closed to vehicles, but you are welcome to walk behind and witness its beauty while getting gently misted.
Last up, Dry Falls! This .25-mile round trip adventure is more of a walk. Just check out the photo of this beauty and you’ll know why it’s on our list. This popular waterfall situated just a few miles outside of Highlands, NC is unique in that the path leads you right behind the gushing water giving you a little more to talk about. Notice that you stay dry behind the falls? Now you know where the name came from.
Stay tuned as we gather more details on other local waterfalls worth exploring for your next social distancing date adventure! Until then, this list is a great place to start, and some of our personal favorites. So, what are you waiting for? Slip on those river shoes and set your sights on the beauty of North Carolina’s best water features!