Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. The falls plunge an amazing 411 feet! South Carolina's Lower Whitewater Falls drops another 400 feet. Because of the escarpment's difficult access and rugged terrain, much of the area receives few visitors and has remained wild and undeveloped over the years. In the cool, moist shade of steep slopes and rock cliffs, wildflowers and salamanders abound. This wild land is also a perfect haven for a rich array of ferns, mosses, and fungi. Enjoy the beauty of berries and blooms throughout the seasons.
From Cashiers: Drive south on NC 107 for 9.3 miles. Shortly after crossing the State line, turn left at the sign for Whitewater Falls. Continue 2.3 miles to the intersection with SC 130, which becomes NC 281 at the North Carolina State line. Just beyond this point is a sign for the entrance to Whitewater Falls.
Hours: Dawn until dusk, year-round. Picnic tables: Yes Restrooms: Yes Fee: $2 for vehicles with seven passengers or less; $1 per person for more than seven people traveling together in a vehicle. Annual pass available for $15; One-day or season permits are also valid at Whiteside Mountain and at Dry Falls. Camping: No
Where to find the best views: For an excellent view of Whitewater Falls, follow the paved walkway to the upper overlook. The walkway begins at the end of the parking lot and is accessible to wheelchairs. A lower overlook is located at the bottom of 154 wooden steps. More energetic hikers can continue down the half-mile spur trail that drops 600 feet in elevation to the Whitewater River and Foothills Trail. With the exception of the two overlooks near the top, no other views of the falls are offered.The best views of the falls are from the two overlooks. However, some people venture off the trail to try for better views. Tragically, several of these people fell to their deaths or suffered serious injuries at Whitewater Falls. Please stay on the trails.
The Foothills Trail stretches along the Blue Ridge Escarpment in North Carolina and South Carolina for 85 miles. After descending the spur trail, hikers may head east on the Foothills Trail to South Carolina, the Lower Whitewater Falls, and other eastward points. The majority of trail maintenance is provided by volunteers with the Foothills Trail Conference, whose board includes representatives of managing agencies and landowners. The Highlands Ranger district of the Nantahala National Forest manages a 4.5-mile segment of the Foothills Trail from the NC-SC State line east of Whitewater Falls to the NC-SC State line, west of the falls. (Contents: National Forest Service)
Located in Transylvania County and joins the North Carolina/South Carolina state line in the Gorges State Park.
The 1.5-mile round-trip Bearwallow Falls Trail. The hike is a moderate one that terminates at a large viewing platform that overlooks Bearwallow Creek.
Bridal Veil Falls is a fun walk to the 120-foot waterfall, which is located about 2.5 miles west of Highlands on Hwy 64. It is on a tributary of the Cullasaja River. There is a little loop off the highway so you can drive right under the falls, but will sneak up on you. If you miss it, pull off after the waterfall in the wide area on the right and park or circle back around.
Bull Pen is as much rapid as waterfall. While not the most dramatic falls in the area, this is a great place to hang out for a while and explore the Chattooga River Trail. (Credit GoCashiers) However, white water rafting, canoeing and kayaking is prohibited on this section of the Chattooga. The falls can be easily viewed at the bridge, or you can take a short trail just past the west side of the bridge to the top of the cascade. At the bottom of the cascade, the powerful Chattooga has carved deep swirl-holes in the rock (pictured below). Over thousands of years, small pebbles and grains of sand were swirled around by the water to create these holes. Several hiking trails are in the area, including a new loop trail that follows the river upstream. Plus, this is a popular spot for fly fishing.
We have many more waterfalls to add!