Rolling down our windows as we drove through Transylvania County towards the Blue Ridge Parkway, all we could hear was the sound of rushing water. Deciding on a whim to spend our afternoon at the waterfalls of Brevard was one thing, however deciding exactly which waterfalls to visit, we soon realized, was another.
With more than 250 waterfalls in Transylvania County, “Land of the Waterfalls” is a pretty accurate description for the area. I don’t know of any other place on earth which can lay claim to so many falls – and each is just as unique and spectacular as the next. In fact, Pisgah National Forest has so many waterfalls that many of them are not even on the map!
With only an afternoon, we obviously weren’t able to experience everything the area had to offer. Between hiking, biking, paddling, swimming, fishing, climbing and sightseeing, we really needed a full week to truly experience Transylvania County. With two state parks and two national parks, the opportunities for outdoor adventure are endless. You can mountain bike in the morning, rock climb mid-day, kayak in the afternoon, and take a zip-line ride at sunset. The destination justify’s a full holiday in itself.
Thanks to the many convenient pull offs in Pisgah National Park, we did however manage to cram some of natures best into one afternoon. We started with Looking Glass Falls.
Looking Glass Falls
Both its beauty and accessibility make Looking Glass Falls one of the most photographed waterfalls in America (next to Niagara of course!) We were told no visit to Transylvania County is complete without a stopover here. Plenty of parking on the right side of the road leading up to the falls made it easy to view them from the road, however we took the steps down, and stood in the river looking up at the waterfall.
“The water tumbles with such force from this 60-foot tall cascade that it generates a cooling mist at river level.” – VisitWaterfalls.com
Directions: At the intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, enter Pisgah National Forest. Go 5.6 miles on US-276. The falls (and parking) are on your right. If you’re instead coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway, head south on US-276 for 9.2 miles and the falls will be on your left.
Moore Cove Falls
A mile north of Looking Glass Falls,we stopped at a small parking area by a stone bridge on U.S. 276. We crossed a wooden pedestrian bridge and found ourselves on a beautiful hiking trail which took us relatively deep into the forest (.7 mile trail or 1.4 miles roundtrip). With no signs on the highway we weren’t sure what we were going to find, however Moore Cove turned out to be absolutely spectacular – a hidden gem!
With a lower volume of water than Looking Glass Falls, we hit Moore Creek just after it had rained. We not only got a waterfall, and one in which we could walk behind, but also the spectacular colors of the rainbow to go along with it.
Further along U.S. 276 we came to Sliding Rock. Not normally a fan of ice cold water, I couldn’t help but jump into my bikini when the opportunity to slide down a 60 foot sloping boulder presented itself!
A natural water-slide fueled by 11,000 gallons of water cascading across the rock every minute, sliding rock is an exhilarating thrill which attracts hundreds of locals and tourists each year.
Cost to enter the recreation area of Sliding Rock is $1 per person. The facilities onsite are great, with proper changing rooms, bathrooms and parking provided.
Other popular falls which we didn’t get to include Triple Falls (film location of the ‘Hunger Games’), Hooker Falls, Whitewater Falls, French Broad Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.