Waterfalls Near Asheville, NC | Best Hikes & Trails to Visit

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I’ve been in the Asheville area now for 3 months – with plans to be here at least another 4 and I LOVE how many waterfall hikes are nearby. I love water. Like love water – and as I audition Asheville as a place I might want to move, it’s been really nice to see that even though the ocean or a great lake isn’t nearby, the rivers have plenty of water! Check out these waterfalls and hiking near Asheville NC.

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My recommendations

Depending on how long you’re staying in the area will depend on how many of these you can knock off your list! If you have the day and want to see multiple waterfalls, I’d just go ahead and jump straight to the trifecta where you can hike a loop and see 3 different waterfalls: Triple Falls, Hooker Falls and High Falls.

My second recommendation is that if you aren’t going to be in this area for a while you may just want to jump right to going over into the smoky mountains, because in Asheville you’re just about an hour from the southern entrance.

Now onto the rest of the waterfalls – I’ve divided it by time from downtown Asheville and have ordered them by distance from the center of Asheville: Under 30 minutes, 30 minutes-59 minutes away, and over an hour away,

Under 30 minutes away

Biltmore Bass Pond – 22 minutes – 6 miles south of Asheville

  • Are you already visiting Biltmore? Well, make sure you take a trip towards Bass Pond and see the waterfall. The grounds are beautiful, and the walk through the garden to the pond is an absolute delight.

Catawba Falls – 28 minutes – 27.2 miles east of Asheville

  • 2.3 Miles out and back and is listed as a moderate hike
  • Is set to reopen in Spring 2023 – But check their website to make sure before you head out.
  • Catawba Falls is a beautiful waterfall located near Old Fort, North Carolina. The waterfall cascades down a series of rocky tiers and drops 100 feet into a pool below.

Grady Waterfall – 29 minutes – 25.5 Miles – northeast of Asheville

  • Easy Trail, 2.8 out of 5 on Alltrails with 46 reviewers
  • .8-mile out-and-back trail near Barnardsville, North Carolina
  • Not a well-kept trail and is hard to follow according to reviewers. Several still said it was a lovely short hike.
hiking near asheville nc waterfalls

30 minutes to 59 minutes away

Glassmine Falls – 46 minutes – 25 miles North East of Asheville

  • 3.8 mile out and back trail that is moderate.
  • You can drive the popular Blue Ridge Mountains Parkway to milepost 361.2 and see the ribbon of water.
  • Glassmine Falls is a picturesque waterfall located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina. Be sure to check to see if the Blue Ridge parkway is open before you get too far!
  • It is one of the region’s roadside waterfalls that is easily accessible to visitors and provides a great opportunity for a quick stop to admire the natural beauty of the area. The waterfall cascades down a 800-foot drop and is particularly impressive after a rainfall when the flow of water is at its strongest. It’s a great spot for photography and nature lovers.

John Rock Trail Loop – 55 minutes – 37 miles

  • 4.9 Mile Moderate Trail Loop – Though it’s not a traditional loop it’s more of a lasso shape. Most reviewers say it’s intense!
  • The John Rock Trail is a popular hiking trail located in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountain range and features a climb to the top of John Rock, which offers panoramic views of the area. The trail is moderate in difficulty and is suitable for hikers of all levels, making it a great option for a day hike or weekend adventure.

Daniel Ridge Falls Loop Trail – 53 minutes – 40 miles

  • The Douglas Ridge Falls Trail Loop is a scenic hiking trail located in Western North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest. It is rated hard and is a 7.8 out-and-back trail. Be sure to check the Blue Ridge Parkway road closures before heading in this direction.
  • The trail features a stunning waterfall, Douglas Falls, which cascades down a 70-foot drop into a crystal-clear pool below. The hike offers breathtaking views

Hooker Falls – 49 minutes – 37 miles south of Asheville

  • I would say this is one of the best waterfalls I’ve visited.
  • It’s located in the Dupont State Forest and its 14 foot wide waterfall. The trail down is well-maintained and quite accessible. You can do this as a stand-alone trip if you don’t want to do the full 4.5-mile loop to see all three on your feet.
hiking near asheville nc waterfalls

Triple Falls, Hooker Falls, High Falls – 55 minutes – 37 miles from Asheville

  • This is like the ultimate loop! In 4.5 miles you get these three beauties. I’d a lot extra time for the round trip to eat lunch and put my toes in the water at least once.
  • Dupont State Recreational Forest is home to the famous hunger games waterfall: Triple falls.
  • High Falls covered bridge was kind of disappointing, you can’t see the falls really at all from the top. It was worth the trek to sit on the rocks below and listen to the water.

Looking glass falls – 49 minutes. 37 miles from Asheville

  • Looking Glass Falls is a popular waterfall located in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. It’s an easy hike at .3 miles out-and-back. One reviewer on AllTrails even went to say “it’s not even a trail” because of how short it is. Other reviews say it gets really busy in summer and suggested going in the morning.
  • The waterfall is easily accessible from a designated parking area and features a beautiful cascade that drops 60 feet into a clear pool below. That makes it quite a popular swimming hole. Visitors can also enjoy picnicking, and exploring the surrounding area.

Lake Louise Park – 14 minutes – 9 miles from Asheville

  • I put this on here in case you just need a quick jaunt that is family-friendly! There are a couple of parking lot locations around the park and a slew of picnic tables if you want a place to stop for lunch!
  • The Lake is really more of a pond. It’s a pretty short walk at .6 miles all the way around and then there is a cute water nature area that includes a waterfall.

Crabtree Falls – 56 Minutes -49 miles – North East of Asheville

  • 2.6 Mile Loop which is rated as moderate on all trails.
  • This is the tallest along the Blue Ridge Highway – be sure to check for road closures before you go
  • A day trip along the Blue Ridge Highway with a hike in the middle is always a good idea, especially when a gorgeous waterfall is also part of the trip!
hiking near asheville nc waterfalls

Over An Hour Away

Rainbow Falls & Turtleback Hike – 1h 16m – 54 miles southwest of Asheville (15 minutes from Upper Whitewater Falls)

  • 3.9 Mile Moderate Out-And-Back Hike listed as Moderate on All Trails
  • This is inside of the Gorges State Park and it is gorgeous! (See what I did there?) But honestly, it’s a great place for a long hike.
  • This is a little bit of a longer hike but has great acclaim for its beauty all year around! It’s a popular spot so be sure that get there early.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 1 hour 17 minutes – 58 miles west of Asheville

  • Just outside from the south entrance to the Park is the Mingo Falls which is a short .3 hike to the falls.
  • Inside the park are over 100 waterfalls – The biggest is Cascade Falls.

Upper Whitewater Falls – 1h 18m – 60 miles southwest of Asheville (15 minutes from Rainbow Falls & Turtleback Hike)

  • North Carolina’s tallest waterfalls – you do have to pay a fee to enter
  • The 1.2-mile out-and-back trail that is listed as Easy on Alltrails – You know me, I love all easy walks with a scenic hike.
  • It’s very busy on holidays and mid-day travelers recommend going in the morning
hiking near asheville nc waterfalls

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