16 Family-Friendly Waterfalls Near Asheville That Are Out Of This World

Are you looking for the best waterfalls near Asheville? You are in the right place! There are so many stunning waterfalls around Asheville, so you can rest assured knowing you can find one that is just what you’re looking for.

This beautiful N.C. town is known for being in the Blue Ridge Mountains and for the Biltmore Estate. It also has a great art scene, hiking trails, many campgrounds, tons of craft beer, and of course, waterfalls.

Although Asheville has so many cool features and things to see, do, and explore, you are sure to find yourself wanting to explore the great outdoors in the area as well. How could you not? The mountains are calling and they have waterfalls for your to explore!

You can find falls that are roadside, accessible, and near the city. As well as falls that you have to hike to, that you can swim in, and are kid-friendly. No matter what you are looking for exactly, you will be able to find it with these waterfalls in Asheville!

dry falls, one of the best waterfalls near asheville, a walking path beneath the waterfall, surrounded by trees

16 Waterfalls Near Asheville That Are Out Of This World

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls near Asheville. This waterfall is roughly an hour and ten minutes from Asheville. (About 55 miles from downtown Asheville.) The falls tower at 150 feet tall in Pisgah National Forest which is in the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you were looking for waterfalls in the N.C. mountains, this one may be perfect for you! 

In order to reach Rainbow Falls, you have to hike 1.5 miles from the Gorges State Park. Once you enter Gorges State Park, you will reach the Grassy Ridge Parking Area about two miles in. This is where you should park and start your hike from. 

The trail is blazed with orange circles, is ranked moderate, and is dog-friendly! For those looking for a place to picnic near a waterfall, Rainbow Falls is great for this when the water is low as many rocks near the bottom of the waterfall are exposed, making for a great place to have a picnic. 

This is one of the coolest waterfall hikes near Asheville and it leads you to a seriously spectacular North Carolina waterfall!

waterfall over large rock in the NC woods, pool of water at the bottom

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls is near Highlands and is about an hour and fifteen minutes from Asheville. If you are looking for Asheville waterfalls that you don’t have to hike to, check this one out!

You can drive right up to this water, or if you don’t want to get out of the car, you can just drive by it. For years, this waterfall was famous because it was the only waterfall that you could drive behind in North Carolina. Today, you can no longer do that, but you can walk behind it! This makes for a unique place to take photos, and a highly needed locale in the summer months to cool off from the hot N.C. sun.

This waterfall is in the Nantahala National Forest and stands around 60 feet high. If you want to see this waterfall at its best you will want to visit after it has been raining. If you need a wheelchair or stroller-accessible waterfall near Asheville, this one will work for you!

This waterfall is just a mile away from the beautiful Dry Falls. Keep reading to see why Dry Falls is one of the best waterfalls near Asheville! 

a path behind a waterfall near a rock cliff, surrounded by trees

School House Falls

The Schoolhouse Falls trail is one of the best Asheville waterfall hikes! It is just roughly one hour and twenty minutes from Asheville by car. The best way to get to the falls is by leaving from the Cold Mountain Gap trailhead. You will hike along the Panthertown Valley Trail, marked with pink blazes.

You will hike over wooden bridges, through rhododendron thickets, and back and forth on switchbacks. Eventually, at about 1.1 miles into the trail, you will cross the creek and come to an intersection. Here, you will start following the Little Green Trail.

Once you reach the falls, you will see a large area of shallow water that reaches further and further out to the falls where the water is deeper. If you were looking for waterfalls near Asheville that you can swim in, check this one out! The water is mostly shallow, but you can definitely wade into the water here or just sit on a rock and dip your toes into the cool water. This is one of the prettiest waterfalls in North Carolina!

waterfall behind pool of water, surrounded by trees

Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls is just under an hour’s drive from Asheville. The Crab Tree Falls hiking trail may offer you the very best waterfall hike near Asheville! The hike will have you walking along a scenic 2.5-mile loop trail. This trail is ranked moderate to strenuous so it definitely isn’t for everyone.

You should plan for, at the very least, an hour and a half for hiking and spending time at the waterfall. Most realistically, you will want to take your time on the trail and at the waterfall as both are scenic and photo-worthy. You may want to block off two to two and half hours of your day spent at this Asheville attraction!

The water cascade down a sixty-foot rock cliff, surrounded by trees. If you are visiting in the summer, you will love the cool mist coming from the falls after your hike! You can hike back the way you came, or you can finish the loop trail which follows along Crabtree Creek for a stint. You only have to hike 0.6 miles to the waterfall, so if you want to limit your hiking time, you can go back the same way you came. If you want to see more of the area, hike the other way on the loop for a total of 2.5 miles of hiking. 

This is one of the very best waterfalls near Asheville and is worth a visit during your trip to North Carolina!

large waterfall with a lot of tree covered around it. crabtree falls, one of the best waterfalls near asheville

Turtle Back Falls

Have you heard about Turtleback Falls? This waterfall is in the Pisgah National Forest. It is actually only about a quarter of a mile from Rainbow Falls! It was once a popular natural waterslide, but nowadays, using it as a waterslide isn’t recommended because many people have gotten injured.



The hike to Turtleback Falls is on a 3.5 miles roundtrip trail starting in Gorge State Park. Like with Rainbow Falls, you will want to park at the Grassy Ridge Parking area which is about two miles from the state park entrance.

You will hike downhill on this trail, cross the creek, and see Rainbow Falls on your way to Turtleback Falls. This waterfall is a stunning place to be in the fall. The cascade is surrounded by foliage that turns beautiful fall colors in October. You can sit close to the waterfalls surrounded by trees that are full of vibrant orange and red colors in the cool mountain air. It’s something that you must experience for yourself!

Linville Falls

When it comes to waterfalls near Asheville NC, it doesn’t get much better than Linville Falls! Without a doubt, this is one of the most popular waterfalls in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is easy to get to via the Blue Ridge Parkway, has three tiers, and the trail to reach the falls is ranked as easy.



The waterfall is located near milepost 316.4, about one hour from Asheville. The Erwins View Trail is a 1.6-mile round trip hike that will take you to the falls. The trail leaves from the Visitors Center. Here at the visitors center, you access the picnic area and restrooms. There is another parking area near the village of Linville Falls. This parking area is the best place to park if you are hiking to the falls in the winter.

Linville Falls drops a dramatic 90 feet into the gorge below. When taking the Erwins View Trail, you will pass four overlooks that each reveals a different perspective of the falls. If you don’t want to hike too far, you can catch a glimpse of the falls at the first overlook which is just half a mile from the visitors center!

This trail ends at Erwins View Overlook where you can get a panoramic view of the gorge and the falls. The Linville Gorge Trail is another option for hiking to Linville Falls. It is more strenuous and takes you down into the gorge closer to the waterfall. 

large and dramatic waterfall that drops into a gorge below, circularly hole in the earth that is surrounded by rock cliffs and trees.

Skinny Dip Falls

Skinny Dip Falls is one of the best waterfalls near Asheville. The waterfall is about an hour and twenty minutes from Asheville, north of Brevard. If you have been looking for waterfalls near Asheville that you can swim in, Skinny Dip Falls is the answer! 

If you are visiting Asheville or the surrounding areas during the summer, you will love a visit to Skinny Dip Falls. The cold clear water is a welcome dight when you are hiking in the summer. Of course, this is one of the falls near Asheville that are great to visit not just in the summer, but any time of year!

This waterfall is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 417 Park at the Looking Glass Falls overlook, then, the trail is across the parkway from the parking area. There are some rocks and a few places where you have to do some climbing, but it isn’t too difficult. 

Although this NC waterfall has a name that might suggest that clothes are optional, this is not the case. Please, come to the falls with your parts covered. There’s a great place at the waterfall where called Jump Off Rock if you are feeling brave enough to jump into the deep part of the water which is about six feet deep. 

This waterfall is absolutely dreamy. It’s easy to feel like you have been transported to another world as you sit among the trees on the large rocks by the water. You are sure to fall in love with Skinny Dip Falls as it is one of the best waterfalls and swimming holes near Asheville!

dreamy waterfall near asheville surrounded by foliage and large rocks

Hooker Falls

This cute little waterfall drops down just twelve feet into Cascade Lake. The waterfall is wide and the lake in front of the falls makes for a great swimming hole near Asheville. If you are visiting during the summer, you will want to put Hooker Falls at the top of your list of things to do in North Carolina. This is the only waterfall in DuPont State Forest where you can go swimming, so it is definitely worth a visit!



If you were looking for easy waterfall hikes near Asheville, Hooker Falls is great in that regard as well! A short .25 mile trail from the parking area will take you to the falls. First, you will reach an observation deck, then the trail will continue down to the swimming hole in front of the falls. This is one of the best kid-friendly waterfall hikes near Asheville!

Be sure to bring your floats, a picnic, sunscreen, and water shoes as you can easily spend all day lounging around and enjoying the area. If you are traveling with someone using a stroller or wheelchair there is a paved trail that leads to a second observation deck available for you to use. 

fall trees around the waterfall that drops down into cascade lake which is a popular swimming hole

Triple Falls

Located in DuPont State Recreational Forest, Tripple Falls is one of the coolest waterfalls near Asheville. Plus, it’s only about a fifty-five-minute drive from Asheville. If you have ever wanted the unique experience of standing in the middle of a waterfall, you can do just that at Triple Falls! 



To reach the falls, you have a couple of options. Option 1, park at the Hooker Falls parking area and it is only a one-mile round trip to Triple Falls and back. Option 2, park at the High Falls parking area and it is a 2.2 mile round trip to Triple Falls and back.

Keep in mind that due to the currents, there is no swimming or wading allowed. Dogs are allowed but you will want to be sure to keep them on a leash and out of the water as well. In general, this waterfall is very popular and you will want to visit it during the week to avoid crowds. If you want to visit during the weekend, you will want to try to reach the falls as early in the morning as possible to avoid crowds.

You can visit this waterfall any time of year. In the winter months, the ice and snow make for a winter wonderland experience. Most people will probably say, however, that Triple Falls is the best to experience during October or early November when fall colors are at their peak.

Graveyard Fields

Visiting Graveyard Fields while in North Carolina is a must-do. This is one of the best waterfalls near Asheville because it is kid-friendly, is easily accessible via a short hike, and is seriously stunning!



Graveyard Fields is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway and is one of the most popular hiking trails near Asheville. IT’s located at milepost 418.8. The area got its name because of trees stumps in the area that gave off graveyard vibes. One of the things that make this such a kid-friendly waterfall is that it has restrooms, a rare occurrence for hiking spots along the parkway. 

The lower falls are a short third of a mile walk from the parking lot, but if you are feeling ambitious, you can hike the 3.5-mile loop that takes you to the upper falls. Although the hike isn’t too difficult, there are stairs and uphill sections, so be prepared for these things as you plan for your hike. (The hike to lower falls was a piece of cake with two toddlers.)

Catawba Falls

This waterfall east of Asheville can be reached through a beautiful 2.7 miles moderate round trip hike. Located in the Pisgah National Forest, Catawba Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls near Asheville. Really, it’s one of the most popular waterfalls in North Carolina altogether. 



You will enjoy the beautiful hike through the shady woods, passing moss-covered rocks, and beautiful scenery on your way to the falls. Back in the early 1900s, the river was home to a small concrete dam where the force of the river was harnessed for hydroelectricity. The remnants of that dam and plant can be seen today. 

You can start your hike at the trail which is near Old Fort. You will reach the river at just .2 miles into the hike. You will cross a metal bridge and then continue hiking along the river while climbing a little bit of elevation. 

After about one mile on the trail, it becomes rocky and you will need to scramble over some boulders and creek branches. Once you reach Catawba Falls you can sit on the large boulders beneath the waterfall and enjoy the sound of the roaring water and the lovely mountain breeze!

tall cascading waterfall tumbling down steep rock cliff. Catawba Falls, one of the best waterfalls near asheville

High Falls

High Falls at sunrise is one of the most romantic Asheville waterfalls that there is. If you are visiting as a couple or just looking for a dreamy waterfall to visits, consider visiting High Falls.

 

This waterfall drops a dramatic 120 feet down on a granite cliff in DuPont State Recreational Forest. There is a pool of water below the falls and large rocks where you can sit and enjoy the views and sounds beneath the falls.

You can hike or bike the loop trail ranked as moderate from the High Falls Visitor Center to the falls. This trail is 1.2 miles round trip. Another option is to take the High Falls Loop which is two miles and will allow you to see Triple Falls at the same time. 

If you are looking for waterfalls near Asheville that are great for picnics, you will want to consider visiting High Falls. This is a really gorgeous area and as such is quite popular. You will want to try to visit during the week if possible. If you must visit on the weekend, make sure to visit in the morning if you want to avoid crowds. 

large waterfall tumbling down granite rock cliff, surrounded by trees with pool of water at the bottom of the falls.

Looking Glass Falls

When it comes to waterfalls near Asheville that are easily accessed, Looking Glass Falls is one option. You can view the falls from the roadside! Thanks to its easy accessibility, this waterfall is very popular amongst travelers who are traveling on U.S. 276 through the Pisgah National Forest. 



Steps lead down a bit for you to get a close-up view of the falls. This is a great place to take travel photos or just get a better view of the falls. It’s lovely no matter what time you visit, but it has to be said that visiting in the winter is super cool! You can see ice sickles and beautiful layers of snow around the water which makes for a unique and beautiful experience.

If you don’t want to travel very far from Asheville, you will want to take a look at Looking Glass Falls as it is one of the closest waterfalls near Asheville. Just a forty-five-minute drive from downtown will bring you to the falls. The pool beneath the falls is one of the most popular swimming holes near Asheville, so keep that in mind if you are visiting during the summer. 

one of the most dreamy waterfalls near asheville, looking glass falls

Moore Cove Falls

When looking for waterfalls in Asheville, NC, you probably consider proximity, beauty, and uniqueness. If that is the case with you, you will want to check out Moore Cove Falls. This waterfall is located near Looking Glass Falls and is a bit of a hidden gem in North Carolina. This is another waterfall that you can walk behind!  There is a small parking area on US 276 near a stone bridge, just one mile north of Looking Glass Falls. 

There aren’t any signs guiding your way so you will need to keep a lookout for the information board near the parking area. The hike is 1.5 miles roundtrip and takes you through the wood, across a wooden footbridge, and eventually to the unique and gorgeous Moore Cove Falls. 

To see the waterfall when it is at its best, you want to visit after a big rain because it is generally a low volume waterfall. If you are visiting during the winter, you will want to visit Moore Cove Falls because large ice sickles can be seen hanging from above and large ice cone forms on the ground beneath the falls. 

This is one of the easy waterfall hikes near Asheville, so if you are traveling with kids you may want to consider this waterfall as it is not strenuous like others in the area. After you come to the falls, the trail continues up a steep ridge for about .25 miles and there is a second, shorter waterfall that you can see. Unless you are an experienced and physically fit hiker, I wouldn’t try to reach the second waterfall. 

Moore Cover Falls is around forty-five minutes from Asheville, North Carolina. Visiting this waterfall as well as Looking Glass Falls makes for a great day trip from the city. 

unique waterfall that you can walk behind. small cover waterfall surrounded by trees and rock cliffs

Hickory Nut Falls

Hickory Nut Falls is one of the best waterfalls near Asheville. It is located in Chimney Rock State Park so you will need to pay an entrance fee to the park. It is just a less than forty-minute drive from downtown and is one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. It is 404 feet from base to top.

You must take a moderate hiking trail that is 1.4 miles round trip to reach the falls. You will want to plan on spending around an hour hiking and seeing the waterfall. The trail is not stroller-friendly, but hiking with children is possible. During your hike, you can see Rhododendrons, wild Hydrangea, wildflowers, moss-covered rocks, and of course the beautiful mountain tree canopy. You can find picnic tables, benched, and rest areas along the trail which is one of the reasons that this is a great hike for family travelers. 

If you have seen the movie Last Of The Mohicans, you may recognize this waterfall as a fight scene, waterfalls scene, and bathing scene were all filmed at Hickory Nut Falls. If you are a film buff, bring your camera and you can take your picture in this film location. 

wooden boardwalk leading to tall waterfall in mountain forest

Dry Falls

Dry Falls is one of the most breathtaking waterfalls near Asheville. The waterfall is roughly an hour and a half from downtown Asheville by car, just a couple of miles outside of Highlands. The water tumbles down 75 feet and is in a unique semi-circular cove where you can walk alongside and beneath the waterfall.

If you visit when it has been raining a lot, you may get wet when walking beneath the falls. But, normally you stay dry even when walking behind the falls, hence the name, Dry Falls. The observation deck for the falls is accessible and sits across from the roadside parking area along US 64. 

You do not have to hike far at all to see this waterfall, making it great for family travelers and those who are looking for a waterfall that doesn’t require a lot of hiking. In the summer, the mist from the falls is highly welcomed. And in the winter, you can see beautiful ice sickles hanging from the rock cliffs above the waterfall.

stunning cascade over cliffs edge with walking trail under the falls. one of the best waterfalls near asheville, fry falls

Visiting some of these mind-blowing waterfalls near Asheville should be on everyone’s North Carolina bucket list! If you are traveling on a budget to Asheville, planning your trip can be quite overwhelming, but by adding some waterfalls to your itinerary, you can stick to your N.C. travel budget!

So, tell us. Which of these waterfalls near Asheville will you visit first?

Follow along on Pinterest!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.