Dry Falls

Categories: Play, Hiking & Backpacking, Kid-Friendly, Picnic Areas, Waterfalls, Outdoor Fun, Easy Access/Roadside Picnics, Senior Friendly Waterfalls


  •  Dry Falls, Highlands, NC has easy U.S. Highway 64 roadside access 
  •  Brand new parking area and trail ('12)
  •  Pit toilets men/women 
  •  Picnic Table (1)
  •  Info Kiosk with area maps of Nantahala National Forest
  •  Elevated viewing platform great for seniors, the disabled, smaller children, etc. Wide enough for a wheelchair 
  •  Short trail to get down to falls along with 10 flights of stairs (trail was renovted in 2012, and is great) 
  •  Walk behind waterfall 
  •  75 ft Falls


The Local Scoop

Dry Falls in Highlands, NC is one of the more exciting waterfalls to visit in our area of western North Carolina. At Dry Falls near Highlands, NC and Franklin, NC, you have the opportunity to walk behind the waterfall! Simply take the short trail down to the falls and lower viewing area for this highly recommended hike.
You will need to travel down a series of steps to reach the bottom, but there is nothing too strenuous about the hike. Be sure to take a rain jacket or have a waterproof bag to put anything you don't want to get wet in like your camera. The mist can be fairly thick, depending upon the amount of water rushing overhead. You might get a little mist on you, but don't let that deter you from walking behing the falls, it truly is an exciting feeling!
If you're here on a sunny day, a rainbow could pop up below the falls, so keep an eye out. We recommend Dry Falls near Highlands, NC to the entire family for two reasons.  First, it allows those who can't maneuver trails very well an alternative viewing option from above.  Secondly, you can let the more agile of the family hike down the paved path below for a very cool experience behind the falls. The newly designed parking area has a very accessible picnic table along with pit toilets for your convenience.
The name "Dry Falls" comes from the ability to walk behind the falls without getting wet. We have given two difficulty ratings for this POI because you can access the paved trail to the bottom or you can simply view the falls from the provided platform that is level with the parking area. Have fun!

The Local Directions

From the intersection of U.S. Hwy-64 East and U.S. Hwy- 23/441 North in Franklin, NC take Hwy-64 East towards Highlands, NC for approx. 13.6 miles. Look for signage and a brand new parking/viewing area on your right. If coming from Highlands, take U.S. Hwy-64 West from red light @ intersection of U.S. Hwy-64/N.C. Hwy-28 in Highlands for 3.1 miles, and Dry Falls parking area will be on your left.

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Difficulty Levels

  • Hike1-5 (Expansion platform/hiking behind falls)What's this?
35.068091, -83.239067
Hike Distance
0.2 mile paved path 

Easy via U.S. Hwy-64, paved parking
- Moderate but short hike down paved path/stairs 
- Expansion overlook (wheelchair accessible)
Nearest City
Macon County
Distance From
Highlands, 3.1 miles
Franklin, 13.6 miles