We decided when we got married that our anniversary would always be special and always involve a trip. We found each other later in life and realize how fortunate we are to have each other so we will keep that time extra special. This year we decided to scale it back big time. No trip to Grenada or visiting 7 islands like last year. Two reasons for the scale back. Number 1 reason is we are taking all our kids (except the daughter and her 2 year old son because of where we are going) to Playa Del Carmen in June. Number 2 reason…We just had a DreamTrip to Nashville and have another DreamTrip to Las Cabos 2 weeks after Playa Del Carmen!
Diane did all the planning in terms of what to see. We decided our trip would be “chasin’ waterfalls” in western North Carolina. We both love the mountains, was fairly close to home, and we could just “wing it” if we wanted to. She mapped out 6 waterfalls to visit and the route to take to maximize our adventure. We usually are big time planners and we were this time as well, except for accommodations. We have learned using our travel club allows us to not be as concerned. There are always great deals and availability through DreamTrips, so we don’t worry.
Our first stop was a waterfall in South Carolina, right on the NC/SC border. We stopped at Wildcat Wayside Falls. It was a small waterfall, but beautiful and right along the road. It was so easy to get to. Only took a minute to walk to. This waterfall was just average on the wow factor, but very beautiful and extremely easy to add onto our trip. The countryside is gorgeous and the drive is easy. Located off the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway (SC 11/US276), Wildcat Wayside Nature Trail is an easy loop of around 0.9 miles with an upper and lower falls. The lower falls can be viewed from the parking area. The upper falls can be viewed by hiking the trail loop. The loop takes you through a beautiful forest and along a stream.
Our next stop and the first stop in North Carolina was Whitewater Falls. Whitewater Falls is massive! It wasn’t the easiest to find, but totally worth it. At the community of Sapphire, turn left on NC 281 and go south about eight miles to the Whitewater Falls entrance. Absolutely beautiful. However, you can’t get really close to the falls, that we know of….without a considerable hike. Look at the pictures! The roar is impressive! Zoom in for some great shots of the falls. I was dying to get to the bottom of those falls! Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies, falling 811 ft.! The Upper Falls plummets 411 ft. and is 60 miles from downtown Asheville in the Nantahala National Forest. For an excellent view of Upper Whitewater Falls, follow the paved 1/4-mile walkway to the upper overlook. The walkway begins at the end of the parking lot and is accessible to wheelchairs. A lower overlook with an even better view is located at the bottom of 154 wooden steps (see picture below!)
We continued on towards Bridal Veil Falls and Dry Falls just outside of Highlands, North Carolina. Absolutely beautiful area. On a side note…totally surprised we had cell phone service almost the entire time. I would recommend an old fashioned map just in case your GPS fails you.
You will pass Bridal Veil Falls on the way to Dry Falls. If no one is there, stop then, if it is busy, continue along to Dry Falls. Dry Falls is just down the road and you will be coming back by Bridal Veil Falls. Dry Falls is right by the road and a short easy walk from the very well maintained parking lot. The first thing you will notice is the power and the massive amounts of water rushing over the rocks. You can walk behind these falls and plan on getting a little wet. There are plenty of vantage points to take great pictures of the massive waterfall. The waterfall is 65 feet in height and is in the Nantahala National Forest located on the side of US 64 3.1 miles north of Highlands, NC. There is a parking area on the side of the road, where visitors can park before walking the short path with stairs and a ramp down to the falls. There are bathroom facilities there also, just hold your nose!
Bridal Veil Falls is just up the road from Dry Falls and is unique. “Back in the day”, you could drive under these falls…today you can still walk under them. These falls are pretty and offer great photo opportunities of you behind the water of the falls. The falls are about 45 feet in length/height.
After taking in Dry Falls and Bridal Veil Falls off we went to Looking Glass Falls. Looking Glass Falls is right next to the road along US-276 north, kid friendly, and wheelchair accessible to the upper view. If you are in the area and only have time for 1 waterfall, this would be the one to go to. It’s about 60′ high.
Directions: From the intersection of NC 280 / US64 / US276 near Brevard, drive north on US276 for 5.6 miles and pull off in the paved lane on the right. If you are coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway, get off on the US276 exit and drive south for 9.2 miles. Looking Glass Falls will be on your left. You will have passed Sliding Rock and the parking for Moore Cove Falls.
Just up from Look Glass Falls is Sliding Rock Falls. This area is very interesting. Think of it as a natural 60 foot water slide into a plunge pool…a very cold pool! 50-60 degrees cold! We were fortunate to catch Sliding Rock at a time that no one was there. Really, not a soul but us! The water seemed much more swift then all the pictures and video I have seen of Sliding Rock. There is plenty of parking, but I am sure during the summer there is not! Located in the Pisgah National Forest just north of Brevard, 7.6 miles from the junction of US Highways 64 and 276.
After Sliding Rock we had decided to end our day of waterfall adventures. As we drove back down toward Brevard we noticed how beautiful the river was beside the road. We stopped at the next safest place and took these pictures below!
As darkness approached we made our way over to Hendersonville, NC for a very nice dinner downtown. They have a very nice downtown area with shops and local restaurants. I have to give a shout to the Fairfield Inn located on 836 Upward Road in Flat Rock, NC (just outside of Hendersonville). The staff was amazing. The hotel was extremely clean and in awesome condition! A full breakfast was included. We snagged a great rate, as usual, using our DreamTrips Rewards.
As I “review” our “Chasin’ Waterfalls” adventure I would conclude that this was a fantastic trip. We had a “loose” plan and went with the flow (pun intended) and stopped where we wanted and stayed as long as we felt like it. If you love waterfalls, then western North Carolina is you place to visit. We love the mountains, so this was right up our alley. We concluded our trip with a visit to Chimney Rock and Mount Mitchell the next day…take a look at those blog posts too! Until next time………