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Highlands North Carolina has Many Scenic Destinations to Hike!


Highlands North Carolina is home to various waterfalls and is in such a mountainous area many hiking trails lead to these falls.

My wife Dolores and I spent a week vacationing in Highlands North Carolina and surrounding areas backpacking and visiting many waterfalls. The first waterfall we visited is called Bridal Veil Falls.

Dolores Under Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls, highlands north carolina

Northwest of Highlands, Bridal Veil Falls is a 45 foot (14 m) waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest. It has the distinction of being the only waterfall in the state that one can drive a vehicle under, with a short curve of roadway located behind the falls. Through the Nantahala National Forest, Bridal Veil Falls flows on a tributary of the Cullasaja River. When the waterflow is low, the falls flow over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to remain dry and walk behind the falls. Although visitors will get wet if the waterflow is high or moderate, during periods of drought the stream may nearly dry up.

2.3 miles (3.7 km) northwest of town, Bridal Veil Falls is located on the side of U.S. Highway 64. So that all traffic went behind the falls, Highway 64 originally used the curve of roadway behind them exclusively; during freezing weather, however, this caused problems with icing of the roadway, and it was rerouted to the front of the falls. Where visitors can park and view the falls, there is a parking area on the side of the road as well. A massive boulder slid off the left side of the falls, in 2003, blocking that side of the drive under completely. That boulder was removed by a local developer, however, in July 2007.

Dolores and Joe
Dolores and Joe, highlands north carolina

The next falls we reach are Dry Falls. Northwest of Highlands on the Cullasaja River, also known as Upper Cullasaja Falls, is a 65 foot (20 m) waterfall in the Nantahala National Forest. On an 8.7 mile (14.0 km) stretch of the river that eventually ends with Cullasaja Falls, it is part of a series of waterfalls. When the waterflow is low Dry Falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to remain relatively dry, hence its name, and walk up under the falls. If the waterflow is high, visitors will get wet.

Including Cullasaja Falls, Pitcher Falls, and High Falls, the falls has been called Dry Falls for a long time, but has also gone by a few other names. 3.1 miles (5.0 km) north of Highlands, Dry Falls is located on the side of U.S. Highway 64. Where visitors can park before walking the short path with stairs to the falls, there is a parking lot on the side of the road. Including the addition of bathroom facilities, expansion and renovation, during 2008 to 2009, the Forest Service made improvements to the parking lot. Adjacent to the parking lot, a new overlook and walkway were also constructed.

Dolores By Dry Falls
Dry Falls, highlands north carolina


We Walked Under Dry Falls
We Walked Under Dry Falls, highlands north carolina


Here is a small video of Dry Falls so you can get a feel for the power of these falls. A recent hurricane (September 2011) has given much rain to the area and is helping the water flow faster!


Another waterfall in the Nantahala National Forest we visited near Highlands is Glen Falls.

Upper Glen Falls
Upper Glen Falls, highlands north carolina

The Glen Falls trail is in three sections. We just kept walking down to see each of the three viewpoints.

Joe By Lower Glen Falls
Lower Glen Falls, highlands north carolina

Next we visited Whitewater Falls. On the Whitewater River, this is a waterfall in North Carolina as well. It is in the mountainous area of the state, as with most of North Carolina's waterfalls. Where the borders of the Carolinas and Georgia come together, there is a cluster of falls in the area. Very close to the South Carolina border, Whitewater Falls is part of that group. This waterfall is 411 ft (125 m) tall. We did not see it, but I hear there is a lower section of the falls.

Whitewater Falls
Whitewater Falls, highlands north carolina

Driving back from Whitewater Falls we stopped at Silver Run Falls. A few miles from the town of Cashiers, North Carolina, it is a 20 foot waterfall. It is popular with tourists and locals alike. Located after a flat, 200 yard trail, are the falls.

Dolores By Silver Run Falls
Dolores By Silver Run Falls, highlands north carolina

Finally, we decided to drive further north of Highlands North Carolina to see the Cherohala Skyway (some mountains above 5,000 feet). We turned onto FR 210 which follows the beautiful Tellico River. Next stop was the 80 foot Bald River Falls. These falls are about 6 miles down FR 210 and are in the Tellico Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest. It's right next to the road and flows into the Tellico River, you can't miss it.

Bald River Falls
Bald River Falls, highlands north carolina


Joe By Bald River Falls
Joe By Bald River Falls, highlands north carolina

I have been all over the United States and I have to admit, the Highlands North Carolina area has some of the best waterfalls I have ever seen. If you get a chance to visit here I think you will agree!





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