Friday, October 5, 2012

Western North Carolina Waterfalls

We had a great ten day vacation to the Smoky Mountains and while it's good to be home, I'm missing the mountains already.
One thing I wanted to do on this trip was visit Cataloochee on the North Carolina side, so we stayed in Waynesville one night. But before we went to Cataloochee we wanted to find some waterfalls in the area.

Western North Carolina is home to hundreds of waterfalls and I could spend a lifetime trying to see them all, but since we only had a few hours before we wanted to go to Cataloochee we needed to find some that didn't require a lot of hiking to get to them.

Soco Falls
Our first stop was a beautiful double waterfall located just off of US Highway 19 between Maggie Valley and Cherokee on the Qualla Boundary.

Soco Falls
This waterfall is located only several hundred feet off the road but unless you know where the pull-off is you would drive right past it.

Some cascades at Soco Falls.

This waterfall in Graveyard Fields can be viewed from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

View at the highest elevation on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Devils Courthouse

According to the sign at the overlook:
"The bare rock profile named Devil's Courthouse is sinister in appearance and legend. It's "devilish" look has contributed to the many folk tales surrounding this mountain. Within the mountain is a cave where, legend claims, the devil holds court. In Cherokee lore, this cave is the private dancing chamber and dwelling place of the slant-eyed giant, Judaculla.
Despite its name and reputation, Devil's Courthouse is home to rare and delicate high-altitude plants. If you walk the one-half-mile route to the summit, please stay on the trail. Rare plants, like the Rock Gnome Lichen and the Spreading Avens, live on Devil's Courthouse. Some of these alpine species may be remnants from the last glacial period. The panoramic view from the summit includes four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee."

Looking Glass Rock
The name "Looking Glass" is derived from it's appearance when rainwater freezes on it's surface and reflects the sun like a mirror.

The following waterfalls are located in Transylvania County known as "Land of Waterfalls" for a good reason. There are 250 waterfalls located here amidst the mountains. These were all within a few miles of each other and very easy to get to.
Looking Glass Falls
 At 60 feet, Looking Glass Falls is one of the most spectacular falls in the area.  Located right next to the road on Highway 276 in the Pisgah National Forest makes it very accessible for everyone.

Moore Cove Falls
Just north of Looking Glass Falls are the Moore Cove Falls. This was a short hike of less than a mile and had I known how little water there was, I probably would have skipped it. The falls flow over an overhanging bluff and you can walk behind the falls. These would be viewed best after a good rain.

I loved the stone bridge at the Moore Cove trailhead though.

Sliding Rock Falls

Not far from the other two falls is Sliding Rock so named because.........
visitors can slide all the way down the waterfall and plunge into the pool below.

Eleven thousand gallons of water flow down over this rock every minute. There is a one dollar per person fee to get in here.

Mingo Falls
I'll include this waterfall here because it is located close to Cherokee but this photo is one from a previous year.
Years ago we found a side trail up to the top of these falls and found another set of falls further back in the woods and I've always wanted to go back and find those again. That will have to go on my to-do list for a future trip. 


  1. Lovely pictures. and so many memories I honeymooned therein Cade cove.....i like the othre side of the smokies but wow lots of great palces

  2. What lovely photos. Didn't realize there was so many falls there. The Sliding Rock is very cool.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  3. Love the pictures, Pearl. Makes me want to pack up and go back down there. Too bad we don't live close enough to spend our week-ends there.

  4. Fabulous photos - and I love your new Autumnal look. Jx

  5. Great pictures Pearl...appears like you had a wonderful vacation. More places we need to visit! So glad you could spend that time in the Smokies and enjoy all its beauty. God has had his paint brush out in the last few weeks! Thanks for sharing. Leona