Cherokee Bob's North Carolina Waterfall Tour
I have spent many years in the North Carolina mountains and have developed this "waterfall tour" for friends and coworkers. The complete tour will take approximately 12-14 hours depending on how much time you spend at each site. This tour covers most of the major waterfalls in this section of North Carolina.
Printable Map Cullasaja Falls Dry Falls Bridal Vail Falls Whitewater Looking Glass Sliding Rock
These are thumbnails so by clicking on a picture the larger size picture will appear. To print the map
click on the picture to bring up the large version, then "right click" your mouse and select "print picture".
From Atlanta take I-985 to 441 north to Franklin, N.C. Just over the N.C. state line you will see The Great Smoky Mountains Visitor Center where you can pick up maps and literature on the area. The restrooms here are always clean. This center has the "Cherokee Bob Seal of Approval".
At Franklin turn right onto Highway 64 and head towards Highlands. This stretch of highway has three of the above waterfalls. The first falls you will encounter is Cullasaja Falls. These waterfalls are off the main road and almost impossible to reach by foot from the highway but you can get a good view of the falls from the road. Parking near the falls is very limited.
Dry Falls has adequate parking. A short trail leads down to the falls where you can actually walk under the falls.
Bridal Vail Falls offers the ability to actually drive you car under the falls. The falls are off to the side of the road with a small drive under the falls. Parking here is limited.
If you are feeling adventurous, on the drive from Highlands to Cashiers you can take a brief side trip to Whiteside Mountain. A 0.6 mile trail leads to the top of the mountain. Once at the top you will be amazed at the scenery. Falcons have been introduced to this area and have taken up residence. They can always be see soaring around this mountain.
When you get to Cashiers take Highway 107 south. As you are driving south you will notice that the landscape has become flat pine woods. You will actually enter South Carolina for a brief period. Follow the signs to Whitewater Falls. On the way to the falls you will round a corner in the road and come upon an overlook that showcases then entire State of South Carolina from a high elevation. Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall in the eastern United States east of the Mississippi. Trails lead to the headwaters of the falls and also to the base of the falls. For those oldtimers who may remember, this is the headwaters of the river that the movie "Deliverance" was filmed on. Caution should be observed here as 47 individuals have met their death at this site by getting too close to the falls and being swept over.
When you get to Brevard turn left onto Highway 276. This highway will take you past Looking Glass Falls where you can actually swim at the base of the falls. Parking is somewhat limited here. Further down the road is Sliding Rock where you can slide down a rock-faced waterfall into a pool of water. This site is extremely popular with younger travelers.
The remainder of the tour takes you onto the Blue Ridge Parkway where you will pass Pisgah Mountain and Cold Mountain, This is some of the most beautiful scenery in the world at altitudes greater than 5000 feet. The Blue Ridge Parkway ends in Cherokee, N.C. which offers some excellent native American sites.