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23 Gorgeous Hiking Waterfalls Near Asheville, NC

Are you looking for some of the best Asheville waterfalls to hike? As Asheville locals, we promise to share our favorite waterfalls near Asheville, NC, all of which are under a 2-hour drive from the city.

One of my favorite parts about living in Asheville and the mountains are the waterfalls. When we moved to North Carolina, I had no idea that there were so many waterfall hikes near Asheville.

I always imagined the trails and beautiful fall foliage on the Blue Ridge Parkway. But, for some reason, I associated waterfalls as something we see abroad, like in Central and South America. We did get engaged near Iguazu, after all.

However, Transylvania County is known as the “Land of Waterfalls.” Over 200+ waterfalls span Western North Carolina. Asheville (NC Micropolitan Statistical Area) and Brevard fall into some of this area.

Our very first experience hiking the Asheville, NC waterfalls, we headed to DuPont State Forest for The Hunger Games waterfalls. One of my favorite Asheville waterfall hikes still, you can see where Peeta and Katniss hid at Triple Falls.

Visitors can also hike to High Falls, Hooker Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls all in one visit. You’ll love the stunning grounds, perfect for a picnic, too.

You’ll also love our Comprehensive Guide To Asheville Hiking.

Waterfalls Near Asheville NC Hiking blog post cover with picture of Triple Falls at DuPont State Recreational Forest
Don’t miss the best waterfalls near Asheville to visit, picnic at, and hike to. We’ll share our favorite Asheville waterfall hikes that are both easy and moderate while providing our personal tips for where to park, how to find the trails, and when to avoid the crowds. We want you to have the most magical and peaceful waterfall hunting experience.

So, what are some of the best waterfalls near Asheville? I wouldn’t skip Douglas Falls, Rainbow Falls, Catawba Falls, Moore Cove Falls, Daniel Ridge Falls, or Looking Glass Falls.

Graveyard Fields is home to two stunning waterfalls in the fall. Tourists and locals love to swim in Skinny Dip Falls.

Below find gorgeous Asheville waterfalls, including waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway, waterfalls you can easily hike, and also one or two sets of falls that you can drive up to. P.S. The Pisgah National Forest is full of cascading waterfalls, too.

We’ll talk distance from Asheville, where to park, and what to pack as well as expect. Let’s get started!

Don’t miss our Ultimate Guide Of Things To Do In Asheville, NC.

Best Waterfalls near Asheville, NC with pictures of Looking Glass Falls, Crabtree Falls, and Hooker Falls at DuPont State Forest
Headed to Western North Carolina soon? Save these waterfalls near Asheville, NC for later, and chase those waterfalls — like a local.

This post may contain affiliate links for products and services I recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission. Read the full disclosure here.

Waterfalls In Asheville, NC

Did you know that Asheville has waterfalls — made from dams — in and around the city? Plus, you’ll find beautiful hiking trails around both of these Asheville destinations.

Biltmore Waterfall

Biltmore Estate Waterfall
Biltmore Estate has over 22-miles of hiking trails, including multiple hikes that lead to one of the few waterfalls directly in Asheville.

For Asheville waterfalls, don’t miss the one at Biltmore, which is part of a dam. Located at Bass Pond, you can pick up multiple trails to see this waterfall. You will need a ticket/pass to enter Biltmore Estate.

You can either start at the Azalea Garden Trail (1-mile each way) or take the Deerpark Trail, which is a longer trail up to the side of the house. We clocked the Deerpark hike around 3.5 miles.

For the Deerpark Trail, before you turn toward the Biltmore Home, you’d go through the gate in the fence, hook a left on the path, and then turn at your first right — which will bring you to beautiful Bass Pond.

How To Get To Biltmore’s Waterfall

The address for Biltmore Estate is 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803. We like to park at the Lagoon.

Grab our Complete Guide To Biltmore Estate As Annual Passholders.

Bent Creek Experimental Forest Waterfall

One of easiest Asheville waterfalls to visit and hike, don’t miss this beauty at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest along the Hard Times Trail.

Right before The North Carolina Arboretum, we love hiking and mountain biking on the Bent Creek Experimental Forest Trails.

Did you know that along with Lake Powhatan, they even have a waterfall? It’s part of the dam for the lake, but I’m counting it just like Biltmore.

This is one of the easiest waterfalls in Asheville for families to visit. Although there are tons of trails around this area, we prefer to park around the Hard Times Trailhead.

From Hard Times, you’d want to pick up the Hard Times Spur. This easy Asheville waterfall hike is only about .5-mile each way.

For a short loop after the falls, we hopped on the Homestead Trail. You can also trek the entire Hard Times Loop Trail, which is about 6-miles.

How To Get To The Bent Creek Experiment Forest Waterfall

The Hard Times Trailhead address and parking lot is 375 Wesley Branch Rd, Asheville, NC 28806.

Take I-26E to Exit 33/NC 191. Turn left onto NC 191. Turn right at the light for Bent Creek Ranch Road. Take a slight left onto Wesley Branch Road.

Uncorked Asheville Tip: On the weekends, the parking areas fill up. We tend to park in designated areas along the road. Grab grinders for lunch at Apollo Flame Bistro or burritos at Papa’s & Beer.

Dam Waterfall At Reems Creek

Dam Waterfall Reems Creek Weaverville NC with red water wheel
Technically minutes away from Asheville in Weaverville, NC, don’t miss this dam waterfall at Reems Creek.

Head to Lake Louise Park in Weaverville to check out the dam-created waterfall at Reems Creek. This historic dam once powered a water mill.

You will have to cross West Lakeshore Drive from Lake Louise Park to access this less than .25-mile ‘trail’ to the falls. You’ll spot the red water wheel fairly quickly as well as hear the falls on your loop.

The dam’s falls are 15-feet tall. This is the perfect spot for pictures and is great for families. Stroll the rest of Lake Louise, which is a .61-mile loop.

How To Get To The Dam Waterfall At Reems Creek

Lake Louise Park is located at Lake Louise Dr, Weaverville, NC 28787. There are public lots around the lake. The falls are across from the pond at West Lakeshore Drive.

Read more about the Best Asheville Bike Trails.

Best Waterfalls Near Asheville, NC: 30 to 45-Minutes Away

Catawba Falls

Waterfalls Near Asheville Catawba Falls
One of the prettiest waterfall hikes near Asheville, Catawba Falls promises tall and stunning falls as well as a trail perfect for families, dog walkers, and hikers looking for an easy to moderate walk.

Catawba Falls are only about a 30-minute drive from Asheville and this is one of my all-time favorite Asheville waterfall hikes. This part of the Pisgah National Forest is gorgeous, and you’ll find moss, lichen, and cascading falls.

Wide and moderate to easy trails plus the massive falls and bubbling water along the way make Catawba an extremely popular hike: be forewarned that on the weekends, the parking lot fills up quickly and visitors crowd the trails.

I prefer to visit Catawba during the weekday. The Catawba Trails hike is also great if you have dogs or kids.

Catawba Falls North Carolina with quickly running stream over rocks
You can hear and see running water throughout Catawba Falls, making it one of my favorite spots for a light hike.

With falls at 100-feet tall, hikers walk a little under 1.5-miles to reach their final destination before backtracking back to the lot. You’ll barely notice that you’ve walked around 2.7-miles round trip, though, as you’ll cross a scenic bridge and have waterfalls and jumping stones to endlessly distract you.

You can sit on the boulders or dip into the water, but please also know that the water is fast-moving and the rocks get slippery.

How To Get To Catawba Falls

The address for Catawba Falls is 3074 Catawba River Rd, Old Fort, NC 28762.

You can easily plug Catawba Falls into GPS and not have to worry about those directions being wrong — like so many other waterfalls near Asheville and hiking trailheads.

We live here, and we still get confused sometimes. From Asheville, you will travel down 1-40 East and take Exit 73 toward Old Fort. You’ll then take a right onto Catawba River Road.

Little Bearwallow Falls Along The Wildcat Trail

Wildcat Rock Little Bearwallow Falls
If you are looking for more local waterfalls around Asheville, Little Bearwallow Falls is a great stop in the winter.

One of the more secretive waterfalls near Asheville, don’t miss Little Bearwallow Falls — where the ice and rock climbers head in the winter.

While there are many ways to access Little Bearwallow Falls — the falls connect to the Conserving Carolina trails — we recommend parking at the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Trailhead and hiking one-mile in along the Wildcat Rock Trail.

You can also pass the falls and continue on a much more difficult hike to Wildcat Rock (4-miles roundtrip) or trek the 10-mile roundtrip trail to Bearwallow Mountain.

How To Get To Little Bearwallow Falls

The address for Little Bearwallow Falls is 3823 Gerton Highway, Gerton, NC 28735. From downtown Asheville, take I-240E to U.S. 74 Alternate East. The winding narrow road gets a little motion-sick worthy.

Park at the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Trailhead, and walk across the street where you will see the Wildcat Rock Trailhead.

Uncorked Asheville Tip: While you are out this way, head to downtown Chimney Rock for a beer at Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery or wine at Burntshirt Vineyards Tasting Room and Bistro. Chimney Rock State Park is also right over here along with the Trombatore Trail.

Hickory Nut Falls At Chimney Rock State Park

Hickory Nut Falls At Chimney Rock State Park
For popular waterfall hikes near Asheville, head to Chimney Rock State Park and trek to Hickory Nut Falls.

One of the most popular hiking areas and waterfalls near Asheville, that we avoid like crazy during tourist season, don’t miss Hickory Nut Falls At Chimney Rock State Park.

Chimney Rock is quietest and cheapest in the winter — you will need to pay to enter — and you can take an easy trail to the 404-foot waterfall. Parts of The Last of the Mohicans were filmed at Hickory Nut Falls and Bridal Veil Falls at DuPont.

Although Chimney labels the 1.4-mile out and back as ‘moderate,’ it’s a pretty easy waterfall hike for the entire family. There are also picnic tables along the way.

How To Get To Hickory Nut Falls At Chimney Rock State Park

The address for Chimney Rock State Park is 431 Main St, Chimney Rock, NC 28720. From downtown Asheville, take I-240E to U.S. 74 Alternate East. The entrance to Chimney Rock State Park will be in the middle of town on your right.

Don’t miss these Beautiful Picnic Areas In & Around Asheville.

Four Famous Waterfalls Near Asheville At DuPont State Forest

Triple Falls DuPont Forest Waterfall Hikes
You can view Triple Falls from up close or far away. If you are looking to see the most Asheville waterfalls in one day, I highly recommend spending the day at DuPont State Recreational Forest. You’d want to hike: Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, High Falls, and then Bridal Veil Falls. Stop in Hendersonville for food and beer afterward.

The next four waterfalls near Asheville, NC are located at DuPont State Recreational Forest, about 45-minutes+ from downtown. Visiting this area is free, including parking, and many lots have restrooms and fountains.

There are picnic areas and dogs on leashes are allowed in most places. These are some of the best waterfalls near Asheville for the entire family.

Please know that if the parking lots fill up, you cannot park along the road. Signs everywhere will remind you of this.

If you want to hike all of the DuPont State Recreational Forest falls while visiting, I’d start with Hooker Falls, loop back up to Triple Falls, which is about 1-mile away, and then hike to High Falls, another half-mile+.

It’s a three-mile roundtrip hike to see these three waterfalls. You may also continue on to Bridal Veil Falls from the covered bridge, but add in an additional 4.4-ish miles.

Hooker FallsEasiest Hike Near Asheville

Hooker Falls at DuPont Waterfalls near Asheville NC in the fall
If you are looking for short and easy waterfall hikes near Asheville, Hooker falls is perfect. You can even take a small dip in the pool at the bottom.

One of the waterfalls near Asheville, NC that you can practically drive-up to is Hooker Falls at DuPont State Forest. If you are coming from downtown Asheville, this is about a 45-minute+ drive to one-hour.

You’ll want to park in the upper-level lot at DuPont known as the Hooker Falls Access Area. From this lot, Hooker Falls is under a .25-mile hike. This parking lot also has restrooms and water fountains.

Hooker Falls is the fourth waterfall on the Little River and is only about 12-feet high. At the bottom of the falls, you can hang out on the rocks or take a dip in the huge pool.

Hooker Falls is also deemed as the only safe spot at DuPont for swimming because there is no current. Of course, please read all of the posted signs in case this changes and always exert caution.

How To Get To Hooker Falls

You can type ‘Hooker Falls Access Area‘ into navigation. Located in Brevard, from Asheville, you’ll take I-26 East to Exit 40. There are a series of twists and turns that will take you down 280 to U.S. 64.

Please note that coming back from this area you might not have cellphone service. We advise knowing your next destination in advance and how to make your way back out of the mountains until it picks up again.

DuPont State Forest has a fantastic and informational website here filled with tips, info, maps, and advice.

Triple Falls – “The Hunger Games” Waterfalls

Waterfall Hikes Near Asheville Triple Falls DuPont Forest
Triple Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls near Asheville and many refer to it as “The Hunger Games Waterfalls” since scenes were filmed here.

The first Asheville waterfalls I’ve ever seen include Triple Falls at DuPont State Forest, which is where part of the filming for The Hunger Games took place. To access Triple Falls, you can park at either the Visitor Center or Hooker Falls Access Area.

We usually park at Hooker Falls to see Triple Falls as the Visitor Center is more heavily trafficked and popular. Parking tends to fill up at the Visitor Center first.

Triple Falls is the third waterfall on the Little River and is a three-tiered, 120-foot waterfall. You can view the falls from afar with additional picnic areas slightly above the main trails.

Asheville Waterfall Hikes Covered Bridge (wooden) at High Falls in DuPont Forest with white male hiking standing in front with hat and backpack
We love the covered bridge at DuPont that overlooks High Falls. On one side of the bridge, you can head to the Triple Falls Loop or go in the opposite direction to Bridal Veil Falls.

If you are more adventurous, climb down the stairs to see the middle of the falls. You can no longer get too close as the area is roped off–which of course, you will see endless visitors disrespect and disregard. I always advocate for trying your best to keep yourself, rescue teams, and the forest safe…

This waterfall hike is slightly more moderate as it is rocky and you have to go both *very* UP and DOWN at some point.

It’s not necessarily strenuous or hardcore, but it’s not the easiest either…and your feet might slide on the gravel rocks.

High Falls At DuPont State Forest

Waterfalls Near Asheville High Falls DuPont State Forest waterfalls in the fall
High Falls are right past Triple Falls and located behind them hides a wooden covered bridge that you may cross. To see the most waterfalls near Asheville, don’t skip DuPont.

There are a ton of “High Falls” in North Carolina so please remember that for this particular Asheville waterfall hike, we mean the falls at Dupont. We’ll share one other ‘High Falls,’ which is at Graveyard Fields and offers another set of waterfalls near Asheville.

When you continue past Triple Falls for about another half-mile, you’ll find yourself across from High Falls, recognizable by a covered bridge above them, which you may visit. High Falls is 150-feet and a part of the 2-mile loop that includes Triple Falls.

The hike to High Falls, like Triple Falls, is considered moderate. I wouldn’t say it’s that hard or tiresome, though.

Don’t miss our complete guide to DuPont State Forest Hikes & Waterfalls.

Bridal Veil Falls DuPont (Not Highlands)

Asheville Waterfalls Bridal Veil Falls DuPont State Recreational Forest waterfalls with brunette white woman wearing a hiking backpack and looking at the waterfalls
One of the best waterfalls near Asheville, Bridal Veil Falls at DuPont State Recreational Forest is home to many filming locations. If you love mountain biking, the 2.2-mile gravel road is perfect with a gorgeous endpoint at the falls.

Another one of my favorite waterfalls near Asheville, NC, don’t miss Bridal Veil Falls, especially for a picnic. Like Triple Falls, this is another filming location for The Hunger Games. They also filmed part of Last of the Mohicans here.

Please also know that there are two Bridal Veil Falls in North Carolina. The other falls are located in the Nantahala National Forest in Highlands, and you can literally drive under them. These Bridal Veil Falls are the closer waterfalls to Asheville at DuPont State Recreational Forest.

How Best To Access Bridal Veil Falls

You can access Bridal Veil Falls by parking at Hooker Falls and hiking all three falls (Hooker, Triple, and High) before heading up to the covered bridge and over to Bridal Veil. This hike will be around 7-miles+.

Or, you can park at the Visitor Center and walk the 4.4-miles round trip just to Bridal Veil Falls. We’ve never parked at Fawn Lake, but that’s also an option for Bridal Veil Falls, especially during a busy tourist season.

Full disclosure: Bridal Veil Falls — to me — is a slightly weird ‘hike.’ You follow 2+-miles of gravel road–it’s not always scenic or entertaining.

The road is perfect for mountain bikers. The falls themselves at the end are stunning, serene, and well worth it. You’ll also find many surrounding and lesser-known trails too.

Bridal Veil Falls Waterfalls Near Asheville at DuPont Forest
Bridal Veil Falls at DuPont is one of the Asheville waterfall hikes perfect for a serene picnic that isn’t too hard to get to. If you are looking for waterfalls near Asheville to picnic at, I pick here!

For Asheville waterfalls, Bridal Veil Falls looks like a slide (unlike Sliding Rock, though, you cannot slide down it), and you can chill on a rock with a picnic, which I highly recommend. Discover a 120-foot waterfall and an observation deck from further away.

While Dupont State Recreational Forest is a popular destination for both tourists and locals, Bridal Veil Falls is usually slightly less crowded.

Uncorked Asheville Tip: After visiting DuPont, head to the Hendersonville Wineries or Fall Apple Orchards. We have a Master Guide To Hendersonville Here.

Asheville Waterfalls To Drive To In Around One-Hour

These some of the best waterfalls near Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Pisgah National Forest. In the fall, Graveyard Fields is beautiful but extremely busy.

Graveyard Fields Upper & Lower Falls

Graveyard Field Lower (Second) Falls

Lower or Second Falls at Graveyard Fields NC waterfall surrounded by colorful leaves
The Blue Ridge Parkway is gorgeous in the fall, making Lower Falls one of the best waterfalls near Asheville, NC that is both easy to get to and worth the drive.

Graveyard Fields offers extremely popular Asheville waterfall hikes, especially in the fall. Rumor has it that this area is named after tree stumps that look like graves.

Graveyard Fields is also one of the BRP spots that offer restrooms. Many of the waterfalls near Asheville lack bathrooms with the exception of DuPont.

Because Graveyard Fields is so close to the Mount Pisgah hiking trail, restaurant, and lodging area, you’ll have to make a call during tourist season. We’ve braved the fall because it’s stunning. However, be forewarned that anywhere around here can also be hellish.

The Lower Falls, also known as Second Falls, is only about 1/3 of a mile from the parking area, which is perfect for young families. You can swim around this area, too.

Do you love hiking? Don’t skip these Top Asheville Hiking Trails.

Graveyard Loop Upper Falls

Upper Falls at Graveyard Fields NC brunette white man and woman in front of a waterfall with fall foliage
Upper Falls at Graveyard Fields is a little trickier to find. One of the more strenuous waterfall hikes near Asheville, you’ll love the workout and the views.

When we first moved to Asheville, we stumbled upon the Graveyard Loop and Upper Falls – the signs to the Upper Falls are pretty much nonexistent. I recommend having a map and instructions before you go or you’ll find yourself walking the wrong way.

In order to find Upper Falls, you’ll start hiking the Graveyard Loop. After the river, you’ll go straight and find an uphill and rocky climb that is much harder when wet. Upper Falls is only about a mile off of the Graveyard Loop Trail intersection and is one of my other beloved Asheville waterfalls.

You can pick a path that gets you closer to the base or keep climbing further up to the top. Upper Falls is about 40-feet tall.

How To Get To Graveyard Fields

Head down the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville to Milepost 418.8. Please know that anywhere around this area, GPS gets a little wonky and you’ll most likely lose cell service at some point.

What can you do after waterfall hiking around Asheville? Head to our Ultimate Guide Of Things To Do In Asheville.

Skinny Dip Falls

Skinny Dip Falls Asheville Swimming Holes and Waterfalls with bridge
If you are looking for waterfalls near Asheville, NC that are also great spots to cool off, don’t miss Skinny Dip Falls. Even in the summer, the chilly water will numb your toes. People jump off the rock into the 6-foot pool of water — although it’s not recommended for safety reasons. The falls are very slippery so please be careful. I also recommend getting here super early, regardless of the day of the week.

Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway about 3-miles from Graveyard Fields and one of the most popular waterfalls near Asheville, NC for swimming, find Skinny Dip Falls. During a hot North Carolina summer, this is where many seek reprieve from the heat.

You could also come here after hiking Mount Pisgah or Graveyard Loop. Pack a swimsuit!

For Asheville waterfalls, Skinny Dip Falls is also pretty popular because it’s kid-friendly, you can wade into the water (some jump off of the rock), and you can spread out along the waterfalls.

The hike down to the falls is fairly wide and easy. Rock steps help you along the way. This Asheville waterfall hike is under 1-mile roundtrip. Don’t miss the “Dragon Tree” on your way there. Don’t worry, I don’t even have to explain this. You’ll know it when you see it.

Dragon Tree at Skinny Dip Falls
Well, I will share a picture on the “Dragon Tree” at Skinny Dip Falls just in case…

How To Get To Skinny Dip Falls

The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is one of my favorite parts of living in North Carolina and home to many waterfalls near Asheville. You don’t want to miss the foliage in the fall.

In the spring, the BRP fills in with gorgeous greens from the trees and budding purple flowers. Watch for bears and bikers. The views are stunning: plan to pull over at a few of the overlooks.

Skinny Dip Falls BRP North Carolina waterfalls
For swimming holes and waterfalls near Asheville, Skinny Dip looks like a tropical island oasis. Photo by Sarah Resta Photography.

Skinny Dip Falls is located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Pisgah National Forest at mile marker 417 (Looking Glass Overlook). As a local, I promise that you’ll want to watch those mile markers.

Sometimes GPS is confused, and sometimes you lose cellphone reception for quite a while. This is one of those spots.

Once you park at the Looking Glass Overlook, you’ll cross the street, look for a marked post on a visible trail, and follow the signs for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) just to start.

From the Overlook, you only have to walk about .50-miles into the falls. Just keep walking straight down the big path, and don’t veer off on one of the side ones.

Check out All You Need To Know About Skinny Dip Falls Here.

Looking Glass Falls

Looking Glass Waterfalls Pisgah National Forest
Looking Glass Falls is located in a beautiful part of the Pisgah National Forest. You can either hike or drive up to this popular waterfall.

One of the best waterfalls near Asheville, NC that you can drive up to in the Pisgah National Forest is Looking Glass Falls. Out of all of the Asheville waterfalls, these have the most accessibility since you can park on the side of the road and see them from the observation deck.

You can also hike Looking Glass Falls, following along with the Looking Glass Rock Trail.

True to their namesake, parts of Looking Glass Falls freeze in the winter resembling an actual looking glass. The falls are about 60-feet tall, and you can walk down the steps to wade in the water at the base.

After visiting, you may want to explore more of the Pisgah National Forest or hike one of the connecting trails.

How To Get To Looking Glass Falls

From Asheville, you will follow 1-240 West to I-26 East to Exit 40. You’ll take a right on 240 West and then a right on U.S. Highway 276 North. The falls are about a 55-minute drive from downtown Asheville in Brevard.

Moore Cove Falls

Moore Cove Falls Near Asheville NC with waterfall coming down over rocky cove
Moore Cove Falls is one of the best waterfalls near Asheville for families.

A popular and busy in-season waterfall hike in the Pisgah National Forest, don’t miss Moore Cove Falls. You can head to Looking Glass Falls first.

Then, drive about 3/4 of a mile further for the parking area for Moore Cove Falls. Parking will fill up quickly in the summer and on weekends. We like to visit this waterfall in late winter on a weekday.

The Moore Cove Falls hike is about .7 miles each way as an out-and-back trail. The trail may get muddy but is typically known for being easier for families and older hikers. You’ll cross wooden bridges on a mostly well-maintained trail.

At the end of the hike, uncover a 50-foot waterfall. If you are lucky, you’ll catch a rainbow in the mist.

Moore Cove Falls Pisgah National Forest NC with waterfall with rainbow in the mist
Don’t miss those gorgeous waterfall rainbows on your hike.

How To Get To Moore Cove Falls

Moore Cove Falls is just past Looking Glass Falls. From Asheville, you will follow 1-240 West to I-26 East to Exit 40.

You’ll take a right on 240 West and then a right on U.S. Highway 276 North. The falls are about a 55-minute drive from downtown Asheville in Brevard.

Don’t miss our Complete Guide To Moore Cove Falls. We are sharing breweries with food nearby, too.

Daniel Ridge Falls (Also Known As Tom’s Springs Branch Falls)

Daniel Ridge Falls
Daniel Ridge Falls, in the Pisgah National Forest, is a gorgeous 150-foot waterfall. On your way out of this area of the Pisgah National Forest, drive up to Looking Glass Falls, too.

One of our absolute favorite winter waterfall hikes around Asheville — that we also got lost on once — is Daniel Ridge Loop in the Pisgah National Forest. Daniel Ridge offers two beautiful trails filled with baby waterfalls and babbling streams.

Daniel Ridge Loop is a favorite of locals and mountain bikers. It’s also one of the less frequented waterfalls near Asheville on this list.

You can hike the 4-mile loop, or you can take the shorter and easier one-mile out and back directly to Daniel Ridge Falls — also known as Tom’s Spring Branch Falls.

If you hike the Loop, please have AllTrails or a GAIA map open and know your markings — the markings are sometimes harder to see the further you get inside the loop, especially in the fall and winter. We accidentally hopped on a connector that we thought was the Loop.

Daniel Ridge Loop and Falls with white brunette woman crossing a bridge wearing a plum coat
After you park in the dirt lot for Daniel Ridge Falls, you’ll cross this large bridge to pick up either trail.

How To Get To Daniel Ridge Falls

From AVL, take I-240 West to I-26 East. Hop off at Exit 40 and take a right onto Highway 280. Turn right onto US Highway 276 North/Forest Heritage Scenic Byway to enter the Pisgah National Forest.

Turn left at the sign for Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. You’ll hit an unpaved road around the Cove Creek Group Campground. Park in the small circular lot for Daniel Ridge. You will most likely lose cell phone service around here.

Headed To Daniel Ridge Falls? Don’t miss our Daniel Ridge Loop Hiking Guide.

Waterfalls Near Asheville: 1+ to 1.5-Hours Away

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls NC with rainbow over waterfalls and dirt trail
If you are lucky, you might just catch a rainbow at Rainbow Falls. Please keep in mind that there are a lot of “Rainbow Falls” around. This waterfall is in Western North Carolina and begins in beautiful Gorges State Park. The waterfall technically lands in the Pisgah National Forest.

One of the most popular and stellar waterfalls near Asheville, NC, don’t miss Rainbow Falls. This gorgeous 150-foot waterfall will leave you breathless and a little wet.

Although the 3-mile out-and-back waterfall hike is fairly easy, the trail to Rainbow Falls is labeled as moderate. You’ll have to navigate multiple streams crossings, an 800-foot elevation gain, forest stairs, and a lengthy trail with some mild hills.

The trail grows muddy in some parts, and your feet might get wet. Exert extreme caution around the falls and rapidly moving water. There have been multiple human and pet fatalities here.

Prior to Rainbow Falls, you can also stop at Hidden Falls, which offers a serene wading pool. When hiking Rainbow Falls, don’t miss Turtleback Falls, too.

Thinking of trekking Rainbow Falls? Check out our Guide To Hiking Rainbow Falls.

Turtleback Falls

Turtleback Falls NC with waterfall between rocks
Right after you pass the first viewing area for Rainbow Falls, you’ll see a pathway that cuts up to Turtleback Falls. These falls are about .5 miles past Rainbow Falls. This is a great spot for a picnic, too.

Once you arrive at Rainbow Falls, if you kept walking straight, you’d just get closer to the massive beast. If you want to continue onto Turtleback Falls, though, you’d yield right to stay on the trail.

Turtleback Falls is about .5 miles more — tacking on another 1 mile out and back. You can stop along the trail for a picnic. Like Rainbow Falls, pay attention to and respect all signs. People have died here.

There are rocks and areas that are safe for a picnic and others that are not.

How To Get To Rainbow Falls & Turtleback Falls From Asheville

Take 1-240 to I-26. Get off on Exit 40 and turn right onto Hwy 280. Turn onto US 64 W toward Sapphire. Turn on NC 281 S in Sapphire. You’ll see the entrance to Gorges State Park on your left. Enter the park — it’s free — and pass the Visitor Center, which has facilities.

Follow the signs for Rainbow Falls, which will bring you to a parking lot. The trailhead is where you see a series of informational boards.

This waterfall hike is about 1.5 hours driving distance from Asheville.

Walker Falls

Roadside Waterfalls Near Asheville Walker Falls smaller waterfall cascading into brush
One of the roadside waterfalls near Asheville, you literally cannot miss Walker Falls on the drive to Douglas Falls in the Pisgah National Forest. This area is not as popular as Craggy Gardens off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and instead offers you a different side of the mountains filled with little waterfalls along the way. I still recommend heading out early because of the tiny road.

I debated including Walker Falls on this Asheville waterfalls list just because you can drive right by this stunner on your way to Douglas Falls. However, you can also park anywhere on the side of Forest Service Road 74 (FS74), in a designated spot, and walk up to and around the falls.

There are many camping sites along the way.

Walker Falls is about 45-feet tall and literally at the roadside of FS74 deep in the Pisgah National Forest. I’d say this waterfall is a little less than halfway to Douglas Falls, and you honestly cannot miss Walker Falls on your way up. It’s in your face.

How To Get To Walker Falls

While Walker Falls is less than 30-miles from Asheville, most of the long ride is up FS74 — an unpaved, winding dirt road up the mountain. If you have an SUV, I recommend taking it.

A low-lying car will struggle with the rocks, divots, and hill-climbing but is possible. You might also want to forgo the BMW, which we saw on our last visit. Your car may get a tad beat up.

You’ll take 19-23 North to Barnardsville and then NC Highway 197. When you take a right onto Dillingham Road, you’ll enter this scenic town that is beautifully ensconced in the blue mountains, passing cows, farmland, and horses.

This road ends in the Pisgah National Forest hitting FS74, which is not for the weak. At times, the edge of the cliff is right there. This is most of your ride as you have to drive slowly.

Passing is difficult but possible in many areas of FS74 and watch for surprise rocks and holes. Walker Falls is about 4-miles in and then you will drive a little under 5-miles longer near Douglas Falls. Definitely plan to visit both waterfalls on this road trip.

Douglas Falls

Douglas Falls Pisgah National Forest tall waterfall coming over a large rock onto smaller rocks
If you are looking for waterfalls near Asheville, NC that you can walk under, don’t miss Douglas Falls. Although you have to take an unnerving drive up a dirt road, this half-mile hike is low-key and well worth the experience.

Douglas Falls is one of those waterfalls near Asheville (a little under an hour and 15 mins) that you can either cheat on by driving close to or hike from Craggy Gardens. We’ve started the Craggy Gardens hike before.

You can pick up the trail from the Visitor Center or even the Craggy Gardens Picnic area. However, this is a 7 to 10-mile, extremely challenging hike that gets pretty muddy, tricky, and overgrown. Unless you are an experienced hiker — I am not — I don’t recommend it.

Your other option, which is our first choice, is to drive up the winding gravel road of Forest Service Road 74. From here, it’s a moderate and extremely slippery-when-wet half-mile hike downhill to the falls from the official trailhead (with gate closures, expect to walk up 1.1-miles up the road from Laurel Gap Parking.)

Please know that sometimes multiple downed trees cover the trail. You may have to climb over them or go around. This Asheville waterfall hike is an out-and-back.

You can walk under the gorgeous 70-foot falls and walk around them. You may also continue the hike to Craggy Gardens or Greybeard Overlook.

Waterfalls Near Asheville NC Douglas Falls Trail white male wearing a hat walking around a giant fallen tree
There might be fallen trees across the Douglas Falls trail. Don’t be discouraged: you can just hop over them or find an alternate path to make your way around. We’ve heard of people turning back, but I promise, the falls are still there.

How To Get To Douglas Falls

If you are not going with the hard hike Visitor Center route, you’ll head toward Barnardsville and NC Highway 197. You’ll have to drive down unpaved FS74 for almost 8-miles. Please refer to the directions above for Walker Falls.

Don’t miss our Complete Guide To Douglas Falls.

Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall
Don’t miss beautiful Crabtree Falls located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near a camping ground and Little Switzerland.

One of the most popular waterfalls near Asheville, Crabtree Falls offers an easy-ish 2-mile out and back or slightly harder 2.5-mile loop to one of WNC’s prettiest waterfalls.

The falls cascade over a 60-foot rock cliff. You can stand on a wooden bridge to get head-on pictures and a wonderful view.

This waterfall hike can get a little muddy and slippery. A stream sometimes runs over the trail and stairs. If you decide to hike the harder loop past the falls, expect a strenuous incline.

The well-labeled trail sits along a beautiful camping area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Don’t miss Little Switzerland, too.

How To Get To Crabtree Falls

The Crabtree Falls parking lot is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Post 339.5 near Little Switzerland. From Asheville, you can take the Blue Ridge Parkway North.

Please double-check Blue Ridge Parkway gate openings before you go. Also know that GPS might take you to a different Crabtree Falls in the middle of nowhere. You eventually want to land on the BRP, if you go a different route.

Linville Falls

Best Waterfall Hikes Near Asheville Linville Falls with three pictures of Linville Falls and Linville Gorge Basin
I bet you can guess why Linville Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls near Asheville…

Many of the waterfalls near Asheville are over an hour away, including Linville Falls. Depending on which way you take and how comfortable you are on winding mountain roads, this will be a 1.5 hr to 2 hr drive for you.

Linville Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in WNC. This area has a Visitor Center with restrooms.

To the left of the Visitor, don’t miss the lesser-known trailheads that take you around the falls and to the base. Or, walk past the Visitor Center and cross a bridge to find a variety of trailheads ranging in difficulty and more waterfall views.

The falls are about 90-feet high, and there are 5 viewpoints that total a 4-mile hike. There are different hikes that you can take, including Erwins View Trail and Linville Gorge.

How To Get To Linville Falls

Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, look for mile marker 316.4. Two trails leave from the Visitor Center. The quickest way to get to Linville is by taking I-40 East to 221, which will get you on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Mingo Falls

Mingo Falls In Cherokee North Carolina NC
To me, Mingo Falls is one of the prettiest waterfalls near Asheville, NC and the Great Smoky Mountains.

About 1.5 hours away from Asheville, start driving toward Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here, you’ll find one of the tallest waterfalls in the Southern Appalachians.

Located in Cherokee, Mingo Falls is about 120-feet tall, and the hike there is incredibly short but moderate. Get ready to climb 160 stairs.

Follow the Pigeon Creek Trail — we also call it Mingo Falls Trail or Hike — for a little under half a mile to the falls. This waterfall hike is an out and back.

How To Get To Mingo Falls

From Asheville, take I-240 West to I-26 East. Take exit 31B for I-40 West.

Then, take exit 27 toward US-74 West. Get off at exit 103 toward Maggie Valley/Cherokee for US-19 South. You’ll turn right onto State Rd 1368, and continue straight through the traffic circle onto Acquoni Road.

Turn right onto Big Cove Road. You’ll pass the Mingo Falls Campground and turn right onto a bridge that leads to the lot. There is minimal signage.

Read our Complete Guide to Mingo Falls.

Hooker Falls at DuPont State Recreational Forest brunette white woman in pink and purple hiking gear in front of a waterfall near Asheville NC
Don’t miss visiting these gorgeous waterfalls near Asheville, NC any time of the year. You’ll find fall foliage, beautiful flowers, or a cool place to take a dip.

Where To Stay For These Asheville Waterfall Hikes

If you are headed to the waterfalls near Asheville and want to stay for an overnight or extended period of time, here are a few of our accommodation recommendations. Don’t miss our master list of Asheville hotels, B&Bs, and resorts, too.

Aloft – Downtown Asheville  – If you are looking to stay in downtown Asheville, the Aloft hotel is newly renovated as of 2020. Vibrant local murals, updated rooms, and sprawling public areas greet visitors. Did I mention there is a rooftop pool overlooking the mountains?

Hampton Inn And Suites Asheville Biltmore Area  – Although this hotel is on busy Brevard Road – NC-191 – across from the Asheville Outlets, it’s one of our favorites. Clean, updated, and in the middle of everything, you can access downtown, Biltmore, and any of these waterfalls near Asheville fairly quickly.

1898 Waverly Inn Bed and Breakfast — While house hunting, we stayed at this sweet B&B in Hendersonville, NC (35-40 mins from Asheville and close to the DuPont State Forest waterfalls). Hendersonville is its own hip little town.

What To Bring For A Day At The Asheville, NC Waterfalls

Although none of these Asheville waterfall hikes are too intense, you’ll definitely want to arrive prepared. A few quick and easy items for a successful trip include:

Garmin Handheld GPS Navigator – We no longer hike without our Garmin and a subscription to GAIA. Some of these waterfall hikes, especially in the Pisgah National Forest, are more challenging. It’s easy to get lost, and you might not always have cell service.

Hiking Backpack – I love my backpack made by Eddie Bauer — I have a slightly different version than this one. My backpack is lightweight and breathable. I can carry my keys, a light jacket (because this is the mountains, after all), water, sunscreen, bug spray, lighter, headlamp, whistle, snacks, Garmin, and an umbrella.

Stainless Steel Water Bottle – We are moderate hikers so we don’t use anything fancy like water bladders. I like my stainless steel water bottle since it holds the temperature, doesn’t perspire, and contains no harmful by-products. Plus, it’s easy to clean.

First Aid Kit – After quickly remembering that I am a tragic mess when hiking and traveling (I will always cut myself), I would either make your own or pack some sort of First Aid Kit with the basics.

Don’t Forget To Save This Post For Later

Gorgeous Hiking Waterfalls Near Asheville NC with picture of Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest
Loving these Asheville waterfalls? Save this post for later and hike all of the waterfalls near Asheville, NC. Waterfall chase like a local.

What Are Your Favorite Waterfalls Near Asheville?

Do you have favorite waterfall hikes near Asheville that you enjoy? Have you hiked any of these Asheville waterfalls before? Are you visiting Asheville and have questions? Please let us know in the comments.

This post originally published on July 26, 2020 and has been updated for 2021.

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Mingo Falls

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