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Waterfalls, River Gorges, and Rock Walls are Found Within Gorges State Park!


We were heading for Gorges State Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina when I see on our map Highway 276 south that will take us to some waterfalls.

The first waterfall is called Sliding Rock Falls. During the summer months, people would walk up the left side of the falls and then slide down the falls sitting up and landing in a pool at the bottom overlooked by a life guard. When we were there a woman ranger from the US Forest Service told us they were shutting down because the season ends after Labor Day and they had already locked the bathrooms. The good news is we didn't have to pay a fee!

Sliding Rock Falls
Sliding Rock Falls, gorges state park

The next falls we came to is called Looking Glass Falls. What a nice waterfall this is!

Looking Glass Falls
Looking Glass Falls, gorges state park

We then drove to Gorges State Park. There was a temporary Visitor Center on Highway 64 just east of Sapphire, NC because they are building a new Visitor Center in the park. The ranger there told me to go into the Highway 281 entrance and do the Rainbow Falls Trail. It is about 3 miles in length. The eastern entrance leads to much longer trails. We did not want to do the longer hikes.

Dolores Taking a Break on Rainbow Falls Trail
Dolores Taking a Break on Rainbow Falls Trail, gorges state park

The first part of the Rainbow Falls Trail is in the state park and then the trail crosses into US Forest Service land.

Rainbow Falls!
Rainbow Falls, gorges state park!

The lookout here for the falls is very warm with the hot sun beating down on us.

Dolores By Rainbow Falls
Dolores By Rainbow Falls, gorges state park

As we hike up higher to see the smaller falls beyond Rainbow Falls, that we were told about by the ranger, we come upon these hugh square rocks!

Dolores Holding Back Huge Rock!
Dolores Holding Back Huge Rock!, gorges state park

We finally come to these rocks that we can hike out onto by the top of Rainbow Falls. I remind Dolores to be very careful up here because there are no gaurdrails and if you slip up here and fall, it could be very bad!

Top Of Rainbow Falls
Top Of Rainbow Falls, gorges state park

I can see from up here that the rocks slope slightly higher and water flows to the falls below.

Small Cascades
Small Cascades, gorges state park

The water runs down the rocks here until it reaches this large rock that stretches out into the water blocking it and forcing the water to flow quickly around it and over the falls. Dolores walked close to the edge and I had to tell her to back away because if she were to slip and fall into the water here, I would be powerless to do anything. You have to be very careful around waterfalls. One slip can be your last!

Fast Flowing Turbulent Water
Fast Flowing Turbulent Water, gorges state park

There is this young couple sitting out on the rock that juts out into the water. I told Dolores not to walk out there. It is a very dangerous area. If you fall from here, it could be fatal!

Rock Above Rainbow Falls
Rock Above Rainbow Falls, gorges state park

We get back on the trail so we do not fall off the rocks into the water and come to the smaller falls above Rainbow Falls. This is where we run into a young man and woman who had just come out of the water and were swimming below and behind the small waterfall. There is a rope just downstream from the falls where people can climb up out of the water and get just above the smaller falls.

Smaller Waterfall and Swimming Hole
Smaller Waterfall and Swimming Hole, gorges state park





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