By Julie Matthews
One wonderful perk of mountain life is the abundance of waterfalls. Setting out on a hike, whether short or long, with the mission of viewing a waterfall can be very gratifying. Hearing the loud sound of water as you approach the cascading falls and then catching that first glimpse of the rushing water against the rugged rocks, while feeling the cool, refreshing air against your skin—it’s quite mystical. While in the High Country, if you are looking to visit waterfalls that are fairly easy to access, consider the following:
This 80-foot waterfall is near Blowing Rock and can be viewed from the roadside. A pull-off area is next to the falls so no hiking is required.
Right off Highway 19E, these falls can also be seen by the roadside. The falls are viewable from the parking lot, and there’s a bridge nearby where you can get a closer look.
Elk River Falls
These falls are impressive with water plunging 85 feet. Located in Elk Park, the trail to the falls is about 0.25 miles.
The falls are located in the Linville Gorge, a pristine national wilderness area. The first overlook of the falls are accessible by an easy 0.8 mile trail from the Visitor Center parking lot. (Note: Continuing on the trail to view the lower falls is a much more strenuous hike.)
This popular trail is off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain. While it is less than a mile round-trip, it is steep but rewards visitors with panoramic views from rocky overlooks.