The state of North Carolina featured numerous waterfalls in its western half, which we experienced for ourselves on a single trip in the Autumn of 2012.
So with all the photos and data we’ve collected, it was about time we put out a list of Top 10 Best North Carolina Waterfalls.
And just like with our other top 10 lists, we only consider waterfalls that we’ve personally visited.
Naturally, this list will change as we continue to make more visits to the Tar Heel State.
So without further ado, we now present the Top 10 Best North Carolina Waterfalls List in reverse order…
With this tall, reportedly 400ft waterfall, we found it acted as our waterfalling excuse to linger in the Chimney Rock Park.
Indeed, this busy spot southeast of Asheville featured giant granite cliffs and formations that yielded vistas as well as obstacles for rock climbers.
Combined with the onset of Autumn colors, we had a blast at a time when the western part of the state just started to enter its magical annual color change.
So given these factors, we just had to make room for this waterfall on our list of Top 10 North Carolina Waterfalls.
This waterfall seemed to have an aura of the native Cherokee Tribe about it as it sat within the tribal lands while also sitting right within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
We had no trouble visiting this waterfall as we only had to go up a series of steps to get onto the bridge fronting this graceful 120-footer.
We also spotted giant elk as we made our way into the Chrokee Tribal Lands to access this waterfall.
With all the Autumn foliage turning colors while flanking the waterfall, it felt just right for a beautiful spot like this.
Thus, we made room for it on this list of North Carolina’s best.
This waterfall epitomized the classic Transylvania County scenery that was well known for harboring hundreds of waterfalls.
However, this one stood out because of its ease-of-access along with the surrounding Autumn colors as you can see from the photo.
Naturally, we had to make an obligatory stop along with hundreds of others who also toured this corner of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
So we’ve placed this amongst our list of favorites in the Tar Heel State.
With this waterfall, it was all about its grace and character.
As you can see in the photo, it gracefully dropped on a rocky slope watched over by trees harboring leaves well into their transformation of the Fall foliage.
This excursion actually consisted of three different waterfalls of which the one pictured here made up the middle tier. An upper tier of similar size as well as a small lower tier rounded out the experience.
Feeling somewhat off-the-beaten path among other waterfalls in this part of southwestern North Carolina, we felt that this waterfall definitely belonged on this list of North Carolina’s best.
Ever since Julie and I noticed this waterfall making an appearance on the Hunger Games, I tend to make this association when it comes to this three-stepper.
We managed to experience this falls from an established viewing area along the well-used trail as well as a spur trail that took us to a slippery area between the 2nd and 3rd drop.
As you can see from the photo, the Autumn foliage certainly added to the visual splendor of this waterfall.
Thus, we had to make room for it on our list of North Carolina’s best waterfalls.
Contrary to its name, this waterfall gushed vigorously when we saw it on our Autumn visit back in 2012.
Unlike most of the waterfalls we’ve encountered in the Appalachian Range, this one let us go behind it.
Indeed, its deep recess and well-established trail ensured that we got to experience this waterfall in almost every way imaginable.
Even though its 65ft height may seem modest, its volume and its accessibility helped propel this onto the middle of our list of Top 10 Best North Carolina Waterfalls.
Of the waterfalls we’ve encountered on the North Carolina side of the Blue Ridge Parkway, we found this one to surpass all the others in terms of the over all experience.
Not only did we enjoy the golden yellows of the leaves flanking this graceful trapezoidal 70ft waterfall, but we also enjoyed the colorful upside down hike to get here and back.
While we easily could have remained confined to the car and enjoy the explosion of Fall colors along the Blue Ridge Parkway, sometimes leaving the car yielded the best experiences of them all.
Indeed, that was how Julie and I felt regarding this excursion, and thus we easily made room for it on our list of North Carolina’s best waterfalls.
Of the waterfalls we’ve encountered in the DuPont State Forest, we liked this 125ft waterfall the most.
In addition to its giant trapezoidal shape, we enjoyed the colorful Fall foliage flanking it as well as the Covered Bridge just upstream as well.
Like with the Triple Falls, we easily accessed it along one of the well-used trails that linked all the main waterfalls, including Hooker Falls as well as Bridal Veil Falls.
We even got to appreciate the size of the falls a bit more by going on a different trail that took us to close to the bottom.
In the end, when we look back on our Autumn trip to North Carolina, we definitely remember this one fondly. Thus, we had to place it on our list of Top 10 Best North Carolina Waterfalls.
True to its name, this 125ft waterfall on the Horsepasture River certainly produced its namesake rainbow. We saw and felt this during our visit as it threw up a lot of mist on a sunny Autumn day.
I understand that there used to be a much shorter trail to take in this waterfall. But these days, we had to go on a bit of a three-mile out-and-back hike to reach it.
Still, we didn’t mind because we also got to experience other waterfalls along the way such as the Turtleback Falls and Drift Falls.
So all things considered, we had no problems putting this falls just short of the top spot on our list of North Carolina’s best waterfalls.
Hands down this 411ft waterfall took our collective breaths away when we first saw it.
It was quite an introduction to the waterfalls found in the Tar Heel State.
While we enjoyed the overlooks to take in the grandeur of this waterfall on the Whitewater River, the only thing that really would have made the experience special was the amount of Autumn foliage.
Indeed, we might have come a week or two too early. Otherwise, we could have seen this falls flanked by a sea of red and oranges.
And while we easily could have contented ourselves with just this waterfall, we found the effort to reach the lesser-known Lower Whitewater Falls to be well worth it as well.
So with all things considered, this waterfall was heads and shoulders above the rest of our list of Top 10 Best North Carolina Waterfalls.
Looking for more of our favorites?
Below are a few more Top 10 lists of the waterfalls we’ve visited.
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