Weekend Trips

10+ waterfalls near Brevard, NC you can see in one weekend

As a very busy grad student, my traveling time and funds are severely lacking. I’ve become a weekend warrior these days trying to find new places to go that are within driving distance. We figured a weekend in the mountains would be perfect! This was during the winter so we avoided crowds, snakes, fees, and we also saved money camping (I do not recommend winter camping unless you have appropriate gear). If you don’t want to camp, there are plenty of housing options at cheaper rates since it is off season. For example, there were some tiny cabins on Air bnb in Balsam Grove for about $50 a night!

The following is in order of how we saw each waterfall. I’ll provide my exact itinerary at the end so you can plan accordingly based on how much time you have and where you are coming from.

Whitewater Falls

This was not on our original list, but as we drove from Myrtle Beach, SC, we saw a sign for an overlook and quickly pulled over. It was well worth it and such a quick stop on our way to NC. You can either pull off at the overlook and walk on a 0.6 out and back paved trail to the overlook or you can hike to the bottom or the top. We only saw the overlook since it was already 11 am and we wanted to make it to our next waterfall stop.

Whitewater Falls
It started snowing as we made our way to the overlook!

Rainbow Falls

My favorite waterfall we saw on the trip. This is an absolute must see! Rainbow falls is about 3 miles out and back and is rated as moderate. The way back is mostly uphill, but not bad at all. There were plenty elderly people and children on the trail. However, plan on a little more than 3 miles because there are two more waterfalls you have to see on this trail that a lot of people miss!

Rainbow Falls

Turtleback Falls

Only a few more steps passed Rainbow Falls! You can’t miss this one. I saw so many people turn around once they made it to Rainbow Falls. There’s two more waterfalls within 0.5 miles!

Turtleneck Falls

Drift Falls

So this one is the third waterfall on the Rainbow Falls/Turtleback Falls trail. This one is on private property but you can see it from the end of the trail. Very little people go passed Rainbow Falls to Turtleback Falls… we were the only ones we saw on the trail back at Drift Falls and this was a busy Saturday. Don’t miss this! Hiking to all 3 of these is about 4 miles out and back.

Drift Falls

Here is the All Trails link. Remember, the last waterfall (Drift Falls) is not included on All Trails because it’s on private property but it’s there! Keep going!

Check out this trail on AllTrails.
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/rainbow-falls-and-turtleback-falls-trail

Triple Falls

This is a beautiful waterfall located in DuPont State Forest. This is a very easy hike that is about a 2.2 mile out and back trail (this includes the hike to the second waterfall, High Falls). There is a loop trail you can take, but that is about 4 miles. For the sake of time, we did the shorter out and back trail to see Triple Falls and High Falls on the same trail. Pretty easy trail, some uphill areas.

Triple Falls

High Falls

This is another waterfall located in DuPont State Forest and is on the same trail as Triple Falls. It is right passed Triple Falls so there is no excuse to miss this one! You can hike to the bottom very easily, just watch out for ice.

NOTE: DuPont is very very popular. Get there early! There are multiple parking lots for overflow if that tells you anything.

High Falls

Here is the All Trails link:

Check out this trail on AllTrails.
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/triple-falls-and-high-falls-river-trail

Hooker Falls

I’m including this because the trailhead for Hooker Falls is right next to High Falls/Triple Falls. We didn’t actually make it to this one, but it’s only a 0.7 mile out and back trail so we for sure should have started the day earlier and made it to this one.

Looking Glass Falls

This is one of the most popular Falls in Brevard located in Pisgah. This is not a hike at all, mostly just an overlook. That’s probably why it is so popular… not to mention it is BEAUTIFUL! You cannot miss this one because it’s so spectacular and is just a quick stop on the side of the road. I recomend getting here early or going in the winter. We went in the middle of the day on a Saturday so there were tons of cars, but since it was winter, people were moving in and out pretty quickly and we were still able to get up close and get pictures. Make sure you stop at The Hub on the way out to grab a beer and check out The Velvet Cup for bangin’ coffee and delicious mini donuts. You’re hiking all weekend! You deserve it!

Looking Glass Falls
Check out the guys in the background going for a swim…. absolutely insane!

Moore Cove

Totally picturesque, straight out of a fairy tale waterfall. This is only about a 3 minute drive past Looking Glass. This trail is almost totally flat (super muddy, be prepared) and only 1.2 miles out and back. This is also a SUPER popular trail so be prepared for tons of cars and people.

Moore Cove

Here is the All Trails link:

Check out this trail on AllTrails.
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/moore-cove-falls-trail

French Broad Falls and Bird Rock Falls

This area has a few different waterfalls accessible in Balsam Grove. We got directions off All Trails for Bird Rock Falls, but you will see 3 different waterfalls on this trail. The GPS will take you to a spot where you will park on the side of the road. You walk down to the first few falls that are next to this beautiful red house called French Broad Falls. Then if you are facing the red house, the trail to the other falls will be on your right. The other falls are less than 0.5 miles away (some unnamed falls and Bird Rock Falls)! Make sure you go all the way to the last one called Bird Rock Falls. This one has a beautiful rock formation above the falls and you get to hike through a rhododendron forest!

Left side of French Broad Falls
Right side of French Broad Falls
French Broad Falls
Bird Rock Falls

Here is the All Trails link:

Check out this trail on AllTrails.
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/bird-rock-falls

Toxaway Falls

This was a super quick side stop. We parked at a restaurant called The Falls Cafe and Grill and walked down to the trail with a sign to the falls. This was mostly downhill so the way back up was all uphill. We were the only ones there! The trail was a little slippery and steep, but totally worth it. I am not sure of the exact length but it was super short.

Toxaway Falls

Our Weekend Itinerary

Here is how we saw all of these waterfalls in only 2 days!

Day 1 (Saturday):

Left Myrtle beach, SC (4 hour drive) and got to Whitewater Falls around 11 am.

Spent about 30-45 minutes at Whitewater Falls and then drove 30 minutes to Rainbow Falls, Turtleback Falls, and Drift Falls.

Spent about 3 hours taking our sweet time at all three waterfalls. We took a ton of pictures and made it all the way to the last waterfall.

Since it got dark around 5:30, we left for our campsite at The Adventure Village in Brevard. This was recomended to me by a friend and is located right in the middle of all of the waterfalls we went to. We camped but there are also cute little cabins if you would rather stay in those!

Our campsite at The Adventure Village

Note: We could have done more this day but we had a long drive and ran out of daylight.

Day 2 (Sunday):

We left in the morning around 9 am to go to DuPont State Forest first because this area gets very crowded. We had about a 30 minute drive from our campsite. Spent about a 1.5 hours at Triple Falls and High Falls. This is when we should have gone to Hooker Falls.

Drove form DuPont State Forest to Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest. This was about a 25 minute drive. We only spent about 15 minutes here.

After Looking Glass Falls, we drove 3 minutes past the overlook to the Moore Cove trailhead. We spent about 45 minutes at Moore Cove.

We then drove about 30 minutes to Balsam Grove to see French Broad Falls and Bird Rock Falls. We were here for about 1.5 hours.

With still a little bit of daylight left, we wanted to see one more waterfall. A local told us we could go and park at The Falls Cafe and Grill and walk down to a trail to get down to Toxaway Falls. This took about 45 minutes.

We were going to stay one more night, but it was so cold and we were ready for our comfy warm bed! We drove back to Myrtle Beach, SC after a very full day!

Don’t forget to LNT! (Leave no trace)

If you see trash, pick it up, even if it’s not yours. Leave everywhere you go better than you found it.

Thanks so much to “efetty704” for planning our trip basically! Check him out on Instagram, his photos are amazing.

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