Chasing Waterfalls in the High Country

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A lot of people think that the mountains are always cooler than anywhere else. While partially true, it can get pretty hot during the summer months in the high country. Swimming pools are nice, but nothing beats spending the day cooling off by a waterfall or even swimming near one! Below are some of the top waterfalls you need to see while visiting the high country!

elkriver

Elk River

Location:

Elk River Rd, Elk Park, NC 28622

Difficulty Level:

Easy – Moderate

This has to be my favorite spot! Elk River falls is a beautiful waterfall that starts as a river, cascades down 60ft below into a huge swimming hole. To get to the bottom of the falls, you will park in the roundabout, and start on the little trail. It is flat for the most part, until you get to the end where there are wooden stairs. The water stays cold year round, but it feels amazing on a warm summer day. You can find people jumping into the swimming hole from the little rock at the base, swimming around, sunbathing on the rocks and listening to the waterfall. There are various rocks to perch on as well as a little sandy beach to have a picnic, but it may take some scrambling. Overall, this is my favorite place to go as it is beautiful and you can swim.

glennburneyfalls

Glenn Burney Falls

Location:

243 Laurel Ln, Blowing Rock, NC 28605

Difficulty Level:

Easy – Moderate

Length for Above the Falls:

2.4 miles round trip

This is the perfect spot to go if you are wanting to see a waterfall after shopping and eating in downtown Blowing Rock. Starting at the parking lot of Cannon Gardens, you will go towards the marked trailhead. Starting out on a level path, you will eventually start descending on switch backs in the valley. There are two viewpoints, either from above or below at the base. To see the view from above, you will go down 1.2 miles, turn at a picnic table, and there will be an observation deck where you can see views above the falls. To see the falls from base level, you will return to the main trail, take a right, and at the next crossroads, you will take a right to descend down.

linvillefalls

Linville Falls

Difficulty Level:

Easy – Strenuous

As featured in another blog, Linville Falls is nestled within Linville Gorge. This is the largest waterfall on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This waterfall is beautiful year round, but especially during the Fall months! There are multiple different viewpoints and trails. It can get a little confusing, but you can find all the information on descriptions, mileage and locations here on the U.S Forest Service website. There is also information on the Blue Ridge Parkway website as well!

crabtreefalls

Crabtree Falls

Location:

39000 Blue Ridge Parkway, Marion, NC 28752

Difficulty Level:

Strenuous

You cannot pass up this beautiful cascading waterfall! On this 2.5 Mile Crabtree Falls Loop Trail, this is one of North Carolina’s best waterfall hikes and most picturesque, especially after a significant amount of rain! You will not be able to enter ‘Crabtree Falls’ in your GPS, but it is at Milepost 339.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The closest address is listed above.

craborchardfalls

Crab Orchard Falls

Location:

146 Skiles Way, Banner Elk, NC 28604

Difficulty Level:

This secluded waterfall is located on the property of the Valle Crucis Conference Center. To park your car, you will park in the gravel lot marked, ‘waterfall parking.’ Once you get parked, you will follow a gravel road that runs behind the Inn to Johnson Hall, go behind the building and keep following the gravel road. There will be a left switch back and bench, take the trail that breaks off to the right and follows along the road to the base of the falls!

Regardless of the waterfalls you choose to visit while staying in the high country, you cannot go wrong and will have an amazing view! Whether you decide to swim during the summer or just watch the water flow against the fall foliage, you need to add visiting a waterfall on your ‘to do’ list. Naturally, waterfalls help cool people off and make everyone feel at peace, which is what everyone needs when visiting the mountains! Unlike the song, do go chase ALL the waterfalls, you will not regret it!

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