We have talked of the many beautiful outdoor sights and sounds surrounding you since moving into your new home in Fuquay Varina at length. The amazing scenery just here in the South Lakes community and locally is one of the most alluring parts of making such a move. However, as also discussed previously, across the state, there are many incredible, and even breathtaking sights to be seen at not too far of a distance from your new residence. We have discussed to some extent the beaches, mountains, and even what we called NC’s “natural wonders.” Well, they may not be a “wonder,” but there is no doubt once you follow this “loop” that you will look in amazement at the incredible Waterfalls of North Carolina.
Now, when we mention a “loop” to follow, that is in reference to one of the most memorable scenic drives laid out anywhere in the country, much less here in NC. It is known by many outdoor enthusiasts as the Western NC Waterfall Loop, and it starts and is accessible from Bryson City, NC. The actual drive itself combined is roughly four and a half hours and brings you to 11 different waterfalls. In many cases along the “loop”, you can see the amazing Waterfalls of North Carolina right from the road. However, a few do require a short hike for their viewing.
The Waterfalls of North Carolina: Starting Out “Smoky”
As we note above, the Waterfalls of North Carolina “loop” starts in Bryson City. In actuality, many who have made this journey opt to stay in Bryson City around the actual driving, as it is in pretty close proximity to all these incredible Waterfalls of North Carolina. Likewise, we mentioned that some of the waterfalls may require a short hike for viewing, and the first three below are ones that do. However, each of our first three waterfalls are located inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park and all are pretty close to the main trail at the park
Stop number one on the “loop” finds us at the Deep Creek Waterfalls near to Bryson City. As we said, tehse are in the National Park, and you can park in the Deep Creek Trailhead parking area. From tehre, its a piece of cake finding Juney Whank, as tehre is a well marked trail that takes you about a quarter mile to theses Waterfalls of North Carolina. These 90-foot high falls run under a scenic footbridge and is believed to been named by Cherokees, as their phrase “juney whank” means ” the place where the bear passes.”
Continuing on the Deep Creek Trailhead from Juney Whank, you will find the next of our Waterfalls of North Carolina. Approxomately 1,000 feet from our stop number one, are the falls known as Tom Branch. These gentle 60-foot tall falls run into Deep Creek. This spot even has some bencjes and seating to graba. seat and soak in the beauty. You may even see a few locals floating by on their inner-tubes.
This is the third of our three “Deep Creek entries” on the Waterfalls of North Carolina loop. Indian Creek is about one mile from the main trail head. Even though these falls are just 25-feet high, the huge volumes of water pouring into the pool below makes for an incredible sight. Here there is also a shorth spur-trail that leads you to the base of the falls.
On the Road Again to Reach the Waterfalls of North Carolina
Well, you didn’t think we’d see all 11 Waterfalls of Nort Carolina in one park, did you? They don’t call it the “loop” for nothing, as we will actually be taking a circular path taking us first down US Route 19/74 from Bryson City. As you will see, the route will eventually hook and loop back around until we come back up US Route 107 and back to Bryson City. Regardless, we will now do a little traveling, taking us South before moving West towards the Highlands Area.
Upper Nantahala Cascades
Leaving Bryson City, and heading towards the Highlands, we make the stop along US 19/74 to see what many feel is the most beautiul portion of this river. This series of cascades starts 1,000 feet above the gorge and are accessible by taking the aforementined road to the Southern end of Nantahala Gorge. This spot is famous for kayaking and rafting, however much of this stop of the Waterfalls of North Carolina can be enjoyed right from your car.
Big Laurel Falls
We continue South in our travels along the Waterfalls of North Carolina loop, jumping over from US 19/74 to US 64 West toward the Franklin, NC area. This next stop is accesoble by a 1.1 mile round trip trail. The trail adds to the amazing scenery if thats possoble, and this visit to teh incredible Big Laurel Falls brings us to the halfway point of the “loop.”
Cutting over on 64 leaving Big Laurel, we make our next stop just before hitting under 10 miles before we reach the “Highlands” area. This awesome stop among the Waterfalls of North Carolina is a 250-foot high cascading beauty that is visible right from the road. Those wanting an even closer peek can take a short .2 mile trail that brings you even closer.
Whether “Highlands” or “High Falls,” the Waterfalls of North Carolina Continue to Impress
Travelling Southbound on US 64/28, we move towards the previously mentioned Highlands area. Here we will cruise through and see three more of the most spectacular Waterfalls of North Carolina, as the loop continues towards its final few legs.
The ironically named Dry Falls is next among the Waterfalls of North Carolina loop and the first of our four located in the also aptly-named Highlands. There is a little something to the naming of thsese gorgeous 75-foot high falls though. That is, you can walk underneath the falls, and with teh angle in which the water cascades down, you do not get a drop on you and you remain dry.
Bridal Veil Falls
Just as we had experienced with the initial trio of stops on our loop, the Highlands area, Waterfalls of North Carolina are very close by one another. Described at onlyinyourstate.com as “just a stone’s throw away from Dry Falls,” this is a staggering 120-foot waterfall. This may be the most photographed and iconic of all NC waterfalls, however, seeing in person is even more breathtaking than you could imagine. These falls also have an area that you can get underneath but still remain dry.
Silver Run Falls
So, next up is Silver Run Falls. While this next visit on our Watrerfalls of North carolina loop is only 30-feet tall, it may have the most unique look of any on the trip. A true specctacle to behold is these falls emptying over the rocks and into its pool below. This stop is another quick and convenient one too, with a designated pull of and very short walk to a viewing area.
The Waterfalls of North Carolina Take us to the “Reservation” for Our Final Stops on the “Loop”
The last “leg” of the loop is upon us. We pull away from Silver Run falls and head northbound on NC 107 on our way toward the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once we hit the “Parkway,” we run northeast over to the Cherokee Indian Reservation for our final two Waterfalls of North Carolina on this excursion.
The first of our two “Cherokee” stops to wrap up our Waterfalls of North Carolina excursion findss us at Mingo Falls. This is in the community of Big Cove and at 120-feet high, this is one of teh tallest waterfalls in Southern Appalachia. These falls derive their name from the Cherokee language, as it stands for “big bear.”
The final stop on the journey is a staggering waterfall located only 1.5 miles west of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is alkso ne of the most memorable Waterfalls of North Carolina, not because it is the final stop on the loop. But, its memeorable for being a rare, double waterfall. It sets about 11 miles east of the Cherokee reservation and has a designated pull-off with easy access to a great viewing platform.
Whether Taking the Loop or Taking Your Time, The Waterfalls of North Carolina are an Amazing Trip
So, not everyone can make the journey all at once to see all Waterfalls of North Carolina on teh Western NC loop. Thats understandable. But now that you and your family have relocated to the South Lakes new home community, you are not incredibly far away from these ights and stops.A bit of planning and you can eventually get to see the onesyou’d like, or all of them at your own pace overtime. As for us, we prefer the loop and to take it all in as fast as possible. But either way, the awesome views and braethtaking looks will be waiting when you are ready.
For more information on the South Lakes new home community in Fuquay-Varina, visit southlakesliving.com.