The 10 Most Stunning Waterfalls Near Asheville, NC

Written by Volia Nikaci
Updated: May 18, 2022
Image Credit Scott Alan Ritchie/Shutterstock.com
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It’s hard not to be awestruck by the sweeping, mountainous landscape surrounding Asheville, North Carolina. A forest of trees and grassy fields stretches far in the distance, while waterfalls make their way through gorges and river basins. The mountains and rivers surrounding Asheville make a great place to find waterfalls. Interested in hitting the road and discovering waterfalls around Asheville? Then check out our list of the ten most stunning waterfalls near Asheville for some tips on where to go!

1. Rainbow Falls

waterfalls Asheville
Rainbow Falls is just one of several cascades and waterfalls lining the river’s two-mile course.

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Location:Asheville, NC
Nearby Attractions:Pisgah National Forest
Animals to See:Eastern Spotted Skunk, American Beaver

One of the most spectacular waterfalls near Asheville, NC is Rainbow Falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This 150-foot waterfall is magnificent, especially when the Horsepasture River fills after a heavy rainfall. The best part of Rainbow Falls is that tourists can view it from the front, bottom, side, and top!

2. Bridal Veil Falls

waterfalls Asheville
Bridal Veil Falls in DuPont State Recreational Forest is a beautiful waterfall near Asheville, NC that has even been featured in a movie.

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Location:Brevard, North Carolina
Nearby Attractions:DuPont State Forest
Animals to See:Coyotes, Songbirds

Bridal Veil Falls is a stunning waterfall located in DuPont State Forest. Take in the beauty of the waterfall’s 120-foot tall cascade from an observation platform or flat rocks at its base. There are picnic areas and photo opportunities at the base of the waterfall as well. It is interesting to note that this area was also a Hunger Games film location!

3. Catawba Falls

waterfalls Asheville
Among the most stunning waterfalls in the Pisgah National Forest is Catawba Falls at Old Fort, near Asheville.

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Location:Old Fort, NC
Nearby Attractions:Pisgah National Forest
Animals to See:Peregrine Falcon, Black Bears

Catawba Falls, located in the Pisgah National Forest just east of Asheville, North Carolina, is a beautiful place to explore at any time of year. It has a succession of waterfalls that cascade over mossy rocks. The 100-ft. tall waterfall can be reached by a 1.5-mile hike (3 miles roundtrip) that follows along the Catawba River. It’s a fun, light hike before you head off to one of the restaurants around Asheville.

4. Crabtree Falls

waterfalls Asheville
The best time to see Crabtree Falls is right after a downpour when the falls are at their peak.

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Location:boundary of McDowell County and Yancey County
Nearby Attractions:Blue Ridge Parkway
Animals to See:Red Wolf, White-tailed Deer

Crabtree Falls is a spectacular 70-foot waterfall located in Western North Carolina’s legendary Black Mountains. You can hike a modest loop off of the Blue Ridge Parkway to Crabtree Falls’ towering cascades. This route passes through a lovely wooded area with rhododendrons and mountain laurel, before looping around Upper Crabtree Falls and going alongside a rocky creek.

5. Schoolhouse Falls

waterfalls Asheville
Schoolhouse Falls is the most well-known of the several waterfalls in Panthertown Valley, which is located in the Nantahala National Forest.

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Location:Panthertown Valley
Nearby Attractions:Nantahala National Forest
Animals to See:Mountain Lion, Porcupine

With a drop of approximately 20 feet, Schoolhouse Falls isn’t the tallest waterfall, but it’s breathtaking! There are many waterfalls in Panthertown Valley in the Nantahala National Forest, but this is the most popular. Panthertown Valley is described as the “Yosemite of the East,” featuring breathtaking rock formations, canyons, and waterfalls. This is a waterfall near Asheville, NC that you won’t want to miss if you’re visiting!

6. Linville Falls

waterfalls Asheville
Linville Falls is the most well-known waterfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Location:Burke County
Nearby Attractions:Blue Ridge Parkway
Animals to See:Elk, Mole

Linville Falls is possibly North Carolina’s most photographed waterfall. The falls are located in Burke County and plunge 90 feet into the 12-mile-long Linville Gorge, with rocks towering above the river. The Visitors Center has two paths leading to five overlooks. At the Visitors Center, there are restrooms, a picnic area, and an information center – ideal for those who want to spend all day viewing this waterfall.

7. Graveyard Falls

waterfalls Asheville
Graveyard Fields is a popular hiking trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway that leads to waterfalls.

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Location:Haywood County, North Carolina
Nearby Attractions:Graveyard Fields
Animals to See:Chipmunks, Gray Squirrels

Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, south of Asheville, there are waterfalls and wildflowers to be seen all along the Graveyard Fields. Throughout the parkway, wildflowers, blueberries, and blackberries grow – making it a spectacular hike to enjoy. Take the three-mile hike to the upper and lower Graveyard Fields falls, passing through some beautiful scenery. This is a gorgeous waterfall near Asheville, NC if you’re interested in a popular swimming hole as the lower falls serve as one! 

8. Skinny Dip Falls

waterfalls Asheville
Don’t get fooled by the name: Skinny Dip Falls isn’t a place to skinny dip.

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Location:Transylvania County, North Carolina
Nearby Attractions:Blue Ridge Parkway
Animals to See:Opossums, Coyotes

When the weather is warm, Skinny Dip Falls is a great swimming hole spot for both locals and visitors. Skinny Dip Falls consists of three tiers and is approximately 30-40 feet high, with both a swimming hole and jumping rock. Interestingly enough, the Graveyard Fields’ Upper and Lower Falls share the same water running through Skinny Dip Falls. As this is a popular spot, you’ll see a ton of people here, especially on weekends – so be prepared for that.

9. Whitewater Falls

waterfalls Asheville
Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies.

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Location:Cashiers, NC
Nearby Attractions:Gorges State Park
Animals to See:Green Salamanders, Wild Boars

With an impressive 811 feet, Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains! The Upper Falls, located 60 miles from downtown Asheville in the Nantahala National Forest, drops 411 feet. There’s an excellent viewpoint of Upper Whitewater Falls at the upper overlook, which is a paved 1/4-mile walkway. However, be very careful as you try to get better views, as the rocks can be quite slippery. 

10. Dry Falls 

waterfalls Asheville
Visitors can stroll behind Dry Falls while it remains largely dry, making it one of the few waterfalls like this.

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Location:Highlands, North Carolina
Nearby Attractions:Nantahala National Forest
Animals to See:River Otter, Bobcats

Near Highlands, there’s a waterfall called Dry Falls where you can take a stroll safely behind a waterfall. The 75-foot waterfall plunges over a cliff in the Nantahala National Forest so that you can walk behind it while remaining dry – which explains the name. However, when the rain is bad, you won’t be completely dry because of how much volume there is in the spray of the fall.

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About the Author

Volia Nikaci is a copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in SEO content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College.