Updated: May 16, 2022
It’s no secret that the Smoky Mountains are home to some incredible waterfalls near Asheville. It’s one of the many things that makes the area so special to visit! I’ve done a long weekend in Asheville twice now and get to see some of the most incredible waterfalls while there.
There are over 100 to visit located all throughout the mountains. In the two times, I have been to the Smoky Mountains outside Asheville, I’ve had the chance to do many of them. All of the waterfalls near Asheville are beautiful, but I’ve found these hikes offer not only some of the best views but also the best falls!
Before I get started with the details… I’ve got to give you a few notes about the area:
1. This area is really spread out. I mean it will take you 30-45 minutes to go 11 miles because of the winding roads. When planning your trip, keep this in mind. Both times I’ve been I have done it differently.
2. I suggest starting in Asheville and making a long weekend if you want to see them all.
3. This post is written in order of distance from Asheville, NC. All hikes though are beautiful and located in the Smokies. Some are easy stops, some are longer hikes.
4. When you stay somewhere, I suggest the Waynesville area. Waynesville is the largest town in the area and just a 45 minute drive back to Asheville Regional Airport. It’s a bigger town and has some great spots to stay.
5. These waterfalls near Asheville are all unique and gorgeous! Please practice caution when visiting as many people have been seriously injured or have died by doing things recklessly. I wore my Salomon hiking boots in winter for excellent traction and comfornt. In the summer I wore Chacos for traction in the water while swimming as well as for hiking.
6. We stayed at the Red Leaf River Inn and absolutely loved it! The spot was cozy, beautiful, and you could hear the river running so peacefully as you ate a delicious breakfast in the morning. Plus the owners were really sweet and it was easy to get to compared to the AirBnB my family stayed at this summer which literally made my car overheat because I wasn’t used to mountain driving.
Waterfall Hikes Near Asheville
1. Looking Glass Falls
15 minute stop .2 miles
This is an easy first stop and hardly counts as a hike! You can simply stop here along the road and walk out of the car to the waterfall. There is a staircase leading down to the falls. In the summer, people swim and walk around the base of the waterfall. Note that this waterfall is huge and you will get sprayed by the water if you choose to walk down the stairs!
Looking Glass Falls, US-276, Brevard, NC 28712
2. Sliding Rock
1 – 2 hour stop .4 miles
Sliding Rock is a really fun stop! It’s pretty neat to see in winter, but during the summer, you can actually slide down the giant rock into the water. The whole area will be full of people doing the same and it is truly a blast! You can hike quickly from your car and there are longer trails here as well. Life guards are on duty throughout the summer. Be careful here as you will can easily lose valuables in the current.
Sliding Rock, Highway 276, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
3. Moore Cove Falls
1 hour, 1.2 miles round trip
This one is a true (short) hike. The entire trail takes about 45 minutes and I was really impressed with this waterfall. While we were there, almost no one else This waterfall is unique because there is a large area behind the waterfall where you can stand the 50 foot waterfall and take it in. Be careful because the mud is super slippery. I fell while behind the waterfall in the mud!
Moore Cove Falls Trail, US-276, Brevard, NC 28712
4. Skinny Dip Falls
45 minutes .9 miles round trip
Skinny Dip Falls is an easy hiking trail right on Blue Ridge Parkway. The entrance isn’t easy to see, but you’ve just got to get to the Looking Glass Rock Overlook and the trail head is right across the road. This waterfall was beautiful to see, even in winter everything was lush green and we felt like we were in the jungle. It was shocking because the rest of the trails we went on in winter were more bare. I would love to see this spot in summer!
Skinny Dip Falls, Blue Ridge Pkwy, Canton, NC 28716
5. Graveyard Fields Trail Loop (Two Waterfalls)
2 hours, 2.9 mile loop
This trail was the longest one on this list. The waterfalls are beautiful and it is completely different from other trails because you are along a river bed through half the trail. Carefully check maps at the top before beginning this trail. It is easily washed out because of rain and we met several people along the way who got lost. The waterfalls are beautiful and the hike is a lot of fun.
Graveyard Fields Loop Trail, Blue Ridge Pkwy, Canton, NC 28716
6. Soco Falls
30 minutes, .3 miles
Soco Falls is another beautiful waterfall that is completely unique. This is a double waterfall and incredibly beautiful to look at! The trail is very short, but also very steep. If you choose to walk down to the falls, wear water shoes and have extreme caution. We watched as a family attempted to get down and we had to help the small kids as they needed to make their way back up. It is a trail to keep your footing on and get good grips.
Soco Falls, US-19, Maggie Valley, NC 28751
7. Deep Creek Loop Trail
4 hours, 4.9 miles
Deep Creek is an area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park that is free to enter and has some really great trails. There is one loop that you can take in just a few hours and it will allow you to see three different waterfalls. The full loop is 4.9 miles so it will take some time to hike. However, you can see all three waterfalls in less time by hiking to each waterfall and back instead of the loop. Here is a map to all the trails at Deep Creek Trails.
If you are staying for more than a day in the Smokies, then you can spend a few days here. Hiking and in the summer going tubing. Tubing is really cheap and you can rent a tube right near the area. It’s easy and convenient!
Deep Creek Trail Trailhead, POB 509, W Deep Creek Rd, Bryson City, NC 28713
If you’re heading to the Smokies, these were my favorite waterfalls near Asheville. If you want more hikes in the Smoky Moutains try this. Hope you enjoy them too!