top of page

TOP 10 Best Waterfalls North Carolina

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

No doubt one of the best reasons to head to Western North Carolina, aka the "HIGH COUNTRY" no matter what time of year, are the hikes and waterfalls. As a property manager, I get asked all the time about the best waterfall hikes. North Carolina is home to hundreds of waterfalls, some more accessible than others. There is no better way to take away the stress of the day by sitting near a roaring waterfall and appreciating it's majestic beauty. The second most frequently asked question is where can we swim and where are the swimming holes.

Given there are waterfalls all over North Carolina, it is best to hone in on the area or areas you wish to visit and check ALLTRAILS.COM to plan your hikes and waterfall visits. Banner Elk, being recently named as one of the best small towns to visit in America by Smithsonian Magazine in 2022 is a great place to call home base as there are a number of waterfalls within 30-60 minutes of area code 28604. also has the best filters to sort the type of hike including distance, scenic views, waterfalls and what the latest trail conditions are.

Western North Carolina, with its proximity to Boone, offers an array of waterfalls that cater to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you're an avid hiker seeking a challenging adventure or a family looking for a peaceful picnic spot, the waterfalls in this region are bound to leave you in awe. Don't miss the opportunity to explore these natural wonders and create unforgettable memories in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Plan your visit to witness the sheer beauty of waterfalls that grace this remarkable corner of North Carolina.

Some of the best waterfalls in Western North Carolina in the Pisgah National Forest are listed below:

  • Linville Falls (Swim at Your Own Risk)

  • Elk River Falls (Great Swimming Hole)

  • Roaring Fork Falls

  • Triple Falls

  • Catawba Falls

  • Looking Glass Falls

  • Harpers Creek Falls

  • Otter Falls

  • Glen Burney Falls

  • Crab Orchard Falls

  • Boone Fork Falls

Map of Best Waterfalls in North Carolina

List of Best Waterfalls Western North Carolina - Pisgah

Linville Falls

Grandfather Mountain streams and rivers cascade through two falls as it begins a nearly 2,000 foot descent through this rugged and spectacularly beautiful gorge

Elk River Falls - Elk River

Elk River Falls is a hidden gem in the region, known for its dramatic 50-foot drop into a pristine pool below. Nestled in a forested setting, this waterfall is an excellent place for swimming, photography, and simply relaxing in nature's embrace.

Roaring Fork Falls

a relatively short hike that leads to a 100-foot cascade. The trail is a favorite among birdwatchers and wildflower enthusiasts, making it a delightful experience for those who appreciate the flora and fauna of the region.

Triple Falls - Dupont State Forest

See 3 waterfalls via 1 hike along this incredible trail located within Dupont State Forest.

Catawba Falls - Old Fort, NC (Check for Temporary closure status)

Catawba Falls is a true spectacle, featuring a stunning 100-foot drop surrounded by moss-covered boulders and lush greenery. The hike to the falls is an adventure in itself, with river crossings and wooden bridges that add to the excitement.

Looking Glass Falls - Brevard, NC

Just a short drive from Boone, Looking Glass Falls is a roadside beauty that is both accessible and captivating. The cascade plunges into a large pool, making it a popular spot for swimming and photography.

Harper Creek Falls - Collettsville, NC

For the more adventurous hikers, Harper Creek Falls offers a thrilling trek. This three-tiered waterfall rewards those who embark on a challenging journey with a serene forested setting and peaceful pools for cooling off.

Otter Falls - Seven Devils

Otter Falls is a nice waterfall and easily accessible via a short hike in Seven Devils

Glen Burney Falls - Blowing Rock

Glen Burney Falls is a local favorite in the charming town of Blowing Rock, near Boone. The hike to these falls is dotted with historical sites, and the triple-tiered cascade at the end is a sight to behold.

Crab Orchard Falls - Valle Crucis

This 1.0 mile out and back is a moderately challenging hike but oh so worth what’s waiting on the other end.

Boone Fork Falls - Boone

Close to the heart of Boone, Boone Fork Falls is an easily accessible natural wonder. A short and gentle trail takes you to this picturesque waterfall, making it an ideal destination for families and beginners.

Wondering what other activities you can add to a fun North Carolina Vacation? Check our Best Things to Do in Sugar Mountain and Banner Elk video below.

Is fishing in North Carolina more your speed? Check out where the best fly fishing and guide service is in western North Carolina.

Let us know your favorites in the comments below


bottom of page