16 Scenic Waterfalls in or near Franklin
1. Cullasaja Falls - Cullasaja Falls is a waterfall in Southwestern North Carolina just outside of Franklin NC on the Highlands Road. The waterfall is located on the Cullasaja River in the Nantahala National Forest and is part of the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway. Cullasaja comes from a Cherokee word meaning "honey locust place." The falls is the last major waterfall on the Cullasaja river. The falls is a long cascade over the course of 0.2 miles. Google Earth gives a height (based on the elevation of the water at the top of the falls and the elevation of the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls) of 137 ft.
It is easy to catch a glimpse of the Cullasaja Falls as you drive by; however, getting a better view of the falls is not easy. The falls are located beside of a series of blind curves on Highway 64 with sheer rock cliffs above and below the road. There is only one small pull-off near the falls, but walking on the road puts visitors in danger of being hit by a passing vehicle.
2. Dry Falls - Walk underneath the 75 ft. falls. Dry Falls, also known as Upper Cullasaja Falls, is a 65-foot waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest, northwest of Highlands, North Carolina on the Highlands Road between Franklin and Highlands. Dry Falls flows on the Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest. It is part of a series of waterfalls on a 8.7-mile stretch of the river that eventually ends with Cullasaja Falls. Dry Falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk up under the falls and remain relatively dry when the waterflow is low, hence its name. Visitors will get wet if the waterflow is high. The falls has been called Dry Falls for a long time, but has also gone by a few other names, including High Falls, Pitcher Falls, and Cullasaja Falls
3. Bridal Veil Falls - Bridal Veil Falls is a 45-foot (20.1 m) waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest, southeast of Franklin. With a short curve of roadway located behind the falls, it has the distinction of being the only waterfall in the state that one can drive a vehicle under. Bridal Veil Falls flows on a tributary of the Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest.
Bridal Veil Falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk behind the falls and remain dry when the waterflow is low. During periods of drought, the stream may nearly dry up, though visitors will get wet if the waterflow is moderate or high. To avoid this, stay in your vehicle and drive behind the falls. Bridal Veil Falls is located on the side of U.S. Highway 64 16.5 miles southeast of Franklin. Highway 64 originally used the curve of roadway behind the falls exclusively so that all traffic went behind them; however, this caused problems with icing of the roadway during freezing weather, and Hwy. 64 has been re-routed around the front of the falls since. There is a parking area on the side of the road, where visitors can park and view the falls as well. In 2003, a massive boulder slid off the left side of the falls, blocking that side of the drive-under completely. However, in July 2007, that boulder was removed by a local developer.
4. Glen Falls - Glen Falls is a wonderful place to visit if you enjoy short distant hiking. Glen Falls is just off of Hwy 64 in Highlands, NC. To get to Glen Falls take a left on Hwy 106 outside of Highlands, go about 1.7 miles and look for the sign to Glen Falls Scenic area on the left. The gravel road to the Falls (SR 1618) veers off immediately to the right after you take the left, so go slow. The road dead ends into the parking area. In a short distance from the parking area, the trail brings you to a nice view across the mountains. Continue down the trail and to a railing on the right for this view looking down the waterfall. The trail is about 3/4 mile and not bad if your in OK shape.
5. Whitewater Falls - At 411 ft., the highest falls in Eastern America. From Cashiers, take U.S. 64 east, 10 mi. to "Whitewater Road." Falls are located 10 mi. south on Whitewater Rd., near the NC-SC state line. Drift, Horsepasture and Rainbow Falls are also accessible from Whitewater Rd. Whitewater Falls can also be reached from N.C. 107, south of Cashiers.
6. Rainbow Falls - From Cashiers, take U.S. 64 to N.C. 281 South. The trail to the falls is two miles from this intersection.
7. Toxaway Falls - The falls can be seen from your car as you cross the Toxaway River on U.S. 64 East near Rosman.
8. Courthouse Falls - Take US 64 East to N.C. 215 North. Travel 10 miles and take right on Courthouse Creek Road. Trailhead well marked.
9. Sliding Rock - This natural waterslide is a favorite of many people. Just jump in the water at the top of the falls and slide down the rock face to the bottom. 11,000 gallons of 50 to 60 degree water rushes down the rock every minute. Take 276 North from Brevard. 7 Miles north of the Ranger Station.
10. Looking Glass Falls - Take 276 North from Brevard. Falls is approximately 4 miles north of Ranger Station.Parking area is well marked. Short walk to falls.
11. Indian Creek Falls - From Bryson City, take "Deep Creek Rd." north 3 mi. to Deep Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One-mile hike to falls is classified as "easy". Height 60 ft.
12. Juneywhank Falls - Follow directions to Indian Creek Falls. Juneywhank Falls are one-quarter mile downstream from Indian Creek.
13. Tom's Branch Falls - See directions to Indian Creek Falls. A quarter-mile walk from Deep Creek Campground.
14. Rufus Morgan Falls - This easy one mile loop trail is named after Rufus Morgan, a naturalist who was instrumental in developing the Appalachian Trail. Take U.S. 64 for 3 miles west of Franklin. Turn right at Wayah Bald directional sign. Take first left onto Wayah Road (S.R. 1310). 6.6 Miles and then left of F.S. Road 388. Trail 2.2 miles on right
15. Big Laurel Falls - Go 9 miles west on U.S. 64. Turn left on Wallace Gap Road (Old U.S. 64) and go 1.5 miles. Turn right on F.S. Road 67 (toward Standing Indian Campground) and go 7 miles (5 miles past Back Country Information Center). Trail runs along an old railroad grade. After passing over bridge, it splits; right ends at Big Laurel Falls.
16. Mooney Falls - Not too far outside of Franklin, located in the beautiful Nantahala National Forest, near Standing Indian Campground one can enjoy the beauty of Mooney Falls. Mooney Falls is about 20' and there is a small swimming hole near the bottom of the falls. To get to Mooney Falls, take the turn into Standing Indian Campground, which is about 12 miles from the intersection of 64W and 441/23 outside of Franklin, drive just under 2 miles and turn right at the sign for Standing Indian Campground (FR67). Drive 6.7 miles down (FR67) and then take a left into Standing Indian Campground, the road will turn from pavement to gravel. The hike to the waterfall is an easy .5 mile hike along Big Laurel Branch. A short distance from the trailhead, turn right at the fork in the trail and follow the creek up to the fall. Remember, it can be cool up in the higher elevations so don't forget a light sweater or jacket.
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