Waterfalls of Jackson County North Carolina

The Trip

I paid a visit to a friend that recently bought a business and home in Jackson County, North Carolina. Specifically, she settled in Glenville, a small unincorporated mountain community. Other, better know towns in the county include Cashiers and Highlands. If you’re familiar with this part of Western NC you probably recognize that the area is well known for it’s waterfalls. As such, in between socializing with my friend or just being a lazy bum, I set out to photograph a few of the area’s falls. I also managed to work in a little mountain stream fishing during the “harsh light” periods of the day.

The Waterfalls

I wasn’t there long enough to visit all of the fall I’d have liked to, but did manage to visit a few. The tallest of those that I visited was probably “High Falls” just outside of Glenville. While a short hike down to the falls (emphasis on DOWN), it was also the most strenuous trek. The upper trailhead is found across the road from Lake Glen and is a short 0.6 mile walk. Expect steep stairs of native rock on the way down and back up. The waterfall is well worth the effort. After returning home I discovered there is another route to this falls. An easier, flatter but longer hike. Find the trailhead near the junction of NC 107 and Shoal Creek Mountain Road. On my next visit I plan to give that route a go. It has the benefit of there being a second waterfall to be seen along the way!

“Silver Run Falls” is one of the easiest to access. It is a short 200 or so feet, easy, flat walk to this pretty little falls. This is a favorite swimming hole for locals. If you want to avoid crowds visit early in the morning or in the evening. The falls drops about 25 or 30 feet into a sandy bottom pool before continuing on as a typical mountain stream.

I made the drive along US 64 to visit “Bridal Veil Falls.” This popular waterfall is literally located next to the road. There is no hiking or scrambling involved. There is a short loop of road the runs under and behind this waterfall. That loop was closed when I visited. Due to the roadway I found this falls a bit difficult to get an acceptable image of.

A bit farther down the road is the parking area for “Dry Falls.” There is a use fee of $3.00 when visiting this lovely waterfall. Bring correct change. There is a QR code for paying the fee online at the site but cell coverage there is, at best, sketchy. This falls has an accessible viewing platform for those that might not be able to make the hike. The hike its self leads down some stairs, with some nice flat lengths, finally passing behind the falls before ending.

I did visit “Bust Your Butt Falls” but it was late in the afternoon and the harsh light made it difficult to get an acceptable photo. Perhaps on my next visit my timing will be better. This waterfall, as well as some others, are right along the road which follows the “Cullasaja River.” To find the various waterfalls along US 64 look for the one or two car pull-offs. Be prepared to do a bit of scrambling over large boulders to get a close look.

I also came upon a couple small waterfalls or cascades which, as far as I know, are unnamed. Sometimes these little mini-waterfalls are quite picturesque. One of them is located on my friend’s property. The other little falls was a few hundred yards up “Shoal Creek Mountain Road” where the creek crosses under the road.

That’s my list of falls visited on this trip. There are many more waterfalls to be seen in Jackson County. So many I may end up being a pest of a guess to my friends new home! Other area waterfalls and cascades include, Cullasaja Falls (Upper and Lower), Glen Falls, Sliding Rock, Whitewater Falls, Turtleback Falls, Rainbow Falls, Moore Cove, Looking Glass Falls and Courthouse Falls. I’m sure I missed naming a few! Plus several unnamed falls I may be lucking enough to stumble upon!

The Photographs

Below are some selected waterfall photos made during this visit. There is a description of the falls and/or hike below each image. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think!


Silver Run Falls is a small waterfall located a few minutes outside of Cashiers, North Carolina in the Nantahala National Forest. Its pool is a popular swimming hole for locals. The cool water of this mountain stream provides a welcomed relief on a hot summers day. Comparatively, Silver Run is one of the smaller waterfalls in the area. With a height of only 25 or 30 feet, it is dwarfed by others in the area. Still it is picturesque. The water drops into a lovely, sandy bottom pool before passing on as a babbling mountain brook. The trailhead is located about 4 miles south of Cashiers on NC Highway 107. Look for a small parking area on the left hand side of the road. A well maintained, gravel surfaced trail leads back to the falls. It is a short 0.2 mile walk.

This small waterfall is located behind the home of a friend in Western North Carolina. I affectionately refer to it as “Dogz Falls” in honor of a local business. It’s certainly not the biggest falls in the area but I think it has plenty of charm.
HIgh Falls or Cullowhee Falls is located near Glenville North Carolina. This waterfall is 150 feet tall, dropping into the Tuckasegee gorge. Located below the Duke Power Dam on Glen Lake, it becomes the most powerful waterfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains when water is let out of the lake. Most of the year the flow is dependent upon local rainfall like the other falls in the area. Located in Jackson county other nearby mountain communities include Cashiers and HIghlands. The trailhead is located across the road from Lake Glen. The hike is rated “strenuous” and the long climb back up from the bottom of the falls is definitely a bit of a challenge. There are very few flat areas along the trail as it mostly descends into the gorge. The many tiers of rock steps can be hard on those with bad knees.
I discovered this little watefall or cascade while exploring Shoal Creek Mountain Road near Glenville, North Carolina. A few hunderd yards from the lower HIgh Falls trailhead, this picturesque little water feature is found where the creek crosses the rustic gravel road a short way from the intersection with NC 107. It’s not much as waterfalls go but I thought it still warranted a photo or two.
Dry Falls is a popular attraction in the Nantahala National Forest near Highlands, North Carolina. The Cullasaja River plunges75 feet over a cliff. A path passed behind and beneath this waterfall allowing visitors a unique view of the falls. In fact the ability to safely pass behind while staying relatively dry is where this natural wonder gets its name. A large parking area is located along US 64 outside of Highlands. There is a $3 fee to visit the falls. A fully accessible viewing area is found next to the parking area. A short trail leads down to and behind Dry Falls.

This entry was posted in General Photography, Hiking Trail, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel, Uncategorized, Waterfalls.

6 Comments

  1. Bill Swartwout June 26, 2022 at 4:05 pm #

    Wow, I do long for some waterfalls to photograph. Living in southern Delaware that is not to happen – our coastal plain is basically flat. But I can enjoy waterfalls, vicariously, in your images. These are superb shots with outstanding composition, color and “flow” of the water over the rocks. If I had to pick a favorite here (tough choice) it might have to be the High Falls/Cullowhee Falls.

    Heh – at least when I go out to photograph our beaches I don’t have to climb up and down rocky trails. Seriously, though, Bob – great stuff.

  2. Montez June 27, 2022 at 10:26 pm #

    You have captured beautifully these waterfalls. Lovely photography.

  3. Glenn McCarthy June 30, 2022 at 10:10 am #

    Such lush surroundings. Never been to North Carolina, and feel like I’m somehow missing a part of me. Planning to head that way in the next couple of years.

    Wonderful photos Bob.

  4. Steve Heap July 1, 2022 at 11:41 am #

    Great images and story Bob! It made me remember that I went to the same area a few years back and tried to visit the various waterfalls. I’m not sure that I saw all of these ones, but did visit Dry Falls where I took more of a detail panorama of the waterfall: https://www.pictorem.com/541257/Dry%20Falls%20Waterfall%20near%20Highlands%20NC.html?iframe=1

    And also Silver Run falls, where that tree trunk was definitely not there! I decided to give that more of a moody and mysterious look: https://www.pictorem.com/541265/Silver%20Run%20falls%20waterfall%20near%20Cashiers%20NC.html?iframe=1

    Steve

  5. Jim Cook July 2, 2022 at 12:45 pm #

    Great photos! That very 1st one is my favorite, but all are worthy of that tag.

  6. Louis Dallara July 3, 2022 at 8:39 am #

    I love waterfalls photographs and your are some of the best I’ve seen.

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