Whitewater Falls, which drops 811 feet, is the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies. The Upper Falls, in the Nantahala National Forest, 60 miles outside of Asheville, drop 411 feet. It is located on the Whitewater River in Jackson County, North Carolina, near the Jocassee Gorge. You can enter South Carolina from a different point to reach the 400-foot Lower Falls.
Although there is considerable disagreement, the US Forest Service claims that Upper Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies. People there claim that Crabtree Falls in Virginia is higher.
Glassmine Falls, accessible from MP 362, is another waterfall brought up in the discussion. It is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nevertheless, Upper Whitewater Falls is our choice for the highest fall in North Carolina and east of the Rockies until we find formal documentation to the contrary.
The location of North Carolina’s Jocassee Gorges is home to this stunning waterfall. The waterfall is relatively accessible to witness despite its immense size. You simply can’t surpass the beautiful colors, from fall leaves to lush foliage, you’ll observe all year long when viewing the waterfall between summer and autumn.
Although there are many waterfalls in North Carolina, you must see this one. You should immediately add this to your list of things to do in North Carolina because it has simple access points and stunning views.
Getting to Whitewater Falls
The concrete 1/4-mile path to the higher viewpoint will take you to a great vantage point for Upper Whitewater Falls. Wheelchairs can enter the path, which starts at the end of the parking area. At the foot of 154 wooden steps lies a lower viewpoint that offers an even better view.
These two overlooks offer the only complete views of the waterfall. But some walk off the path in search of finer vistas. Tragically, a number of these persons were seriously hurt or died when they fell at Whitewater Falls. Keep to the trails, please.
For those who are feeling more intrepid, there is a half-mile offshoot trail that descends 600 feet to the Whitewater River and Foothills Trail. It’s a pleasant place to swim and relax on the large rocks. Once at the bottom of the flight of stairs, the trail slopes steeply down the mountain. On a rainy day, it will be exceedingly slippery.
Follow the trail to the left in the direction of the waterfall after crossing the metal bridge. The Foothills Trail, which is on the right, will lead you beyond the foot of Corbin Creek Falls and into South Carolina as you travel down the river. The path up to the falls is occasionally difficult to follow and quite hazardous.
Wildlife Around Whitewater Falls
Although there isn’t a ton of information online about what specific animals you can see at Whitewater Falls, many of the wildlife found throughout North Carolina call the area home. The once-nearly extinct elk, which can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and reach heights of 10 feet, is currently prospering in this region of North Carolina.
Another animal you’ll likely hear during your trip is a woodpecker. They thrive in the forest with unlimited trees to choose from! More than 475 wild bird species can be found in North Carolina, in part because of the state’s varied environments, which span from coastal marshes to high mountain summits.
Contrary to other species and habitats, the amount of bird species in the state is continually fluctuating since, depending on the season, many species migrate from the state to other parts of the world. You may also want to pack some bear spray, as black bears are known to be near Whitewater Falls.
Other mammals here include white-tailed deer, red foxes, red wolves, rabbits, skunks, and more! There are 11 different kinds of lizards in Whitewater Falls, however, none of them are toxic or venomous. In general, lizards have four limbs, raised heads on small necks, rounded torsos, and long tails. There are three kinds of legless glass lizards that are frequently mistaken for snakes.
There are 38 different species of snake in North Carolina. Only six of these 38 species are venomous, and of these six, only the Copperhead is widespread across the state. It is the sole poisonous snake found in many places, including the majority of the bigger urban areas. Although there are small populations of the Timber Rattlesnake in the Piedmont region, they are mostly found in the Mountain and Coastal Plain regions.
There is no reason not to go right now when there is a 411-foot waterfall in your statewide backyard! Make an entire weekend out of it by visiting the nearby Gorges State Park, which contains an incredible North Carolina rainforest.
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Where is Whitewater Falls located?
It is located on the Whitewater River in Jackson County, North Carolina, near the Jocassee Gorge. You can enter South Carolina from a different point to reach the 400-foot Lower Falls.
What is an animal you might see in the area?
The once-nearly extinct elk, which can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and reach heights of 10 feet, is currently prospering in this region of North Carolina.
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