Welcome to one of the most beautiful places - the mountains of western North Carolina!  There are hundreds of waterfalls and miles of hiking trails in this area and you could spend a lifetime trying to see everything.  Like most of the Great Outdoors, photos don't do the real justice, but they do allow you to catch a glimpse of a part of Nature that you might have otherwise missed.  Please enjoy the video! 







                                                    

 

A drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway is slow paced and relaxing.  Almost any overlook or trail will reveal much of the natural and cultural history here.  At 469 miles long, the Parkway is the nation's longest scenic rural parkway.  It welcomes about 20 million visits annually.  Along the route are opportunities for hiking, waterfalls and simply enjoying breathtaking views from easily accessible overlooks and picnic areas.  Access the parkway and also Pisgah National Forest via Hwy 215 in Rosman. http://www.nps.gov/blri/index.htm      

    
    

 


Panthertown Valley is one of the most spectacular areas in the southeast with cascading waterfalls, trout streams, panoramic views, sheer granite cliffs, the headwaters of the Tuckaseegee River and the east fork of Little Tennessee River.  This 6,300 acre backcountry area in Natahala National Forest offers visitors a wide variety of places to explore and has become a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, rock climbers, anglers and more.  Access Panthertown Valley via Cold Mountain Road in Lake Toxaway.  http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/panther1.htm
   

Toxaway Falls plunges 350 feet to the bottom and is more than 300 feet wide.  It is considered one of the most spectacular falls in the Eastern United States.  Located and viewable on US 64 in Lake Toxaway.  http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/toxaway1.htm




 

Gorges State Park
, a 7,500 acre State park, is characterized by plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unique species in the Eastern United States.  With an elevation that rises 2,000 feet in only four miles, combined with annual rainfall in excess of 80 inches that creates a temperate rain forest, helps to support the numerous waterfalls the park is famous for, such as Turtleback Falls, Rainbow Falls and Bear Wallow Falls.
 Access via Hwy 281S in Sapphire.  http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/gorg/main.php

 

A cascading beauty, Whitewater Falls, is highest waterfall east of the Rockies.  The falls plunge an amazing 411 feet!  For an excellent view of Whitewater Falls, follow the paved 1/4-mile walkway to the upper overlook.  More energetic hikers can continue down the half-mile spur trail that drops 600 feet in elevation to the Whitewater River and Foothills Trail.  It's a nice spot to swim and hang out on the big rocks.  Once down the set of stairs, the trail switchbacks down the mountain and is steep in places.  You can get to the base of the falls from here.  Access via Hwy 281S past Gorges State Park. 
 http://www.cs.unca.edu/nfsnc/recreation/Whitewaterfalls.pdf

 
 

Turtleback Falls in Gorges State Park. Photo taken by Rich Stevenson.  Please be sure to visit his website for a wealth of information and photos on hiking, waterfalls, plants, nature and more.   http://www.ncwaterfalls.com

 
 
Please also visit the Transylvania County Tourism Authority for more information at http://www.visitwaterfalls.com  
   
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