Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls (Kalakaleskies)

Categories: Waterfalls, Senior Friendly Waterfalls, Adventure Waterfalls


  •  View of falls over Lake Sequoyah dam 
  •  View of the series of falls below dam called "Kalakaleskies" via short but very steep trail down side of hill from pull-off 
  •  Nice photo opportunity of the dam and water flowing over 
  •  Highland's town limit line is here 
  •  Roadside Access
  •  Nearby other waterfalls along the Cullasaja River gorge (Bridal Veil Falls, Dry Falls, Bust Your Butt Falls and Cullasaja Falls)

The Local Scoop

Lake Sequoyah is Highland's largest body of water and was formed in 1927. This is where Highland's drinking water comes from. The dam was placed across the Cullasaja River headwaters. If you enjoy canoeing, then this a very relaxing and tranquil lake to enjoy. Due to the fact of it being a water source for the community, motorized boats are not permitted. If you wish to see the multiple cascades below the dam called "Kalakaleskies" you will need to scramble down a steep and dangerous river bank.  Here, on large boulders in the river you will have great views of the multiple falls that make up the Kalakaleskies. I have given two difficulty ratings for this POI due to the two options of viewing the lake/river here.  We ONLY recommend this to more experienced hikers or to those in great physical shape.  If you fall in here, depending upon the water level, you could be in serious trouble.  Be careful.  We do not recommend taking kids below the dam.  However, the water flowing over the dam makes for a nice scene as you gaze across the Lake Sequoyah.

The Local Directions

From the intersection of U.S. Hwy 64 East and U.S. 23/441 North in Franklin take Hwy 64 East towards Highlands, NC for approx. 14.5 miles. The parking area will be on your Left. If coming from Highlands, take U.S. 64 West from red light @ intersection of U.S. 64/N.C. 28 in Highlands for 1.9 miles to a pull-off parking area on your Left.

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Difficulty Levels

  • Waterfalls1 (Dam Falls) 11 (Kalakaleskies, see local scoop)What's this?
35.0670, -83.2249
Hike Distance
0.1 mile (scramble)
Easy via US Hwy-64 pull-off
Difficult via Scramble Trail down to Kalakaleskies 
Nearest City
Macon County
Distance From
Highlands, 1.9 miles
Franklin, 15 miles