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Trail Guides

Chasing The 10 Biggest Waterfalls of DuPont State Forest, North Carolina

DuPont state forest Brevard Asheville North Carolina waterfall hiking trails


Springtime in Western North Carolina is one of the most foolproof places any photographer and adventurer can pick to chase waterfalls in the Southeast. Located in beautiful Transylvania County, Dupont State Recreational Forests’ 10,400 acres contains one of the most accessible and densest clusters of waterfalls in the region. Scattered throughout its 90 miles of hiking trails, visitors will be amazed by the splendor of High Falls, Triple Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Hooker Falls, Cannon Creek Falls, Wintergreen Falls, Grassy Creek Falls, and Upper Grassy Creek Falls. More notably, this park has been made world famous by its appearance in several Hollywood films that include “The Hunger Games” and “Last of the Mohicans.”

Dupont State Recreational Forest Visitors Center Location | Google Maps

Dupont State Recreational Forest Map

DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina

Map of Dupont State Recreational Forest.  

Getting There

After years of driving past this wonderful place, I finally added a stop at Dupont State Recreational Forest while on an extended trip to visit nearby Headwaters State Forest, Mountain Bridge Wilderness, & Jones Gap State Park. While Dupont State Recreational Forest typically only advertises its four major waterfalls on the Little River, there are actually over a dozen documented waterfalls within its boundaries. Requiring only a little bit of rain to bring them alive, all of the waterfalls featured in this article can easily be reached by day hikes along the parks extensive trail network. Conveniently situated only 20 minutes outside of Downtown Brevard and just under 1 hour from Asheville, visitors can start their journey here by driving over to the parks Visitors Center in the Buck Forest Parking Area. 

DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina high falls triple falls hooker falls

High Falls Trailhead in the Bucks Forest Access Area. From here you can hike to the parks four largest waterfalls.  

High Falls, Triple Falls, & Hooker Falls

High Falls Trail Loop to Triple Falls Trail & Hooker Falls Trail | 5.75 Mile Loop

Buck Forest Access Area Location | Google Maps

These are the three most visited waterfalls in Dupont State Recreational Forest as the trailhead is located directly across from the Visitors Center in the Buck Forest Access Area. Make sure to grab a map at the front desk and speak to a ranger if this is your first time visiting. Moreover, this trailhead can also be used to access some of the other waterfalls deep in the parks interior. This 5.75 mile loop consists of hiking along the High Falls Trail, which merges into the Triple Falls Trail and then hiking north to the Hooker Falls Access Area to reach the Hooker Falls Trail. It is all pretty seamless and easy to navigate, but a map may come in handy. From the trailhead, it is roughly 0.75 mile to the first major overlook of High Falls on the High Falls Trail. There is a large clearing in the woods here where you can see the full scope of this 125 foot waterfall. From the picnic shelter above this point, one can even see the covered bridge built for cars to cross over the Little River just above the waterfall. One of the best ways to experience High Falls and to get a splash of mist across your face is to take the extra 0.30 mile descent to the bottom of the falls 


DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina high falls

The main overlook of the 125-ft High Falls. Try to spot the people down at the bottom of the falls!

DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina high falls
A small side trail leads up to a picnic pavilion above the High Falls overlook with a view all the way to the covered bridge upstream.
DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina high falls
Keep hiking past the main overlook on the High Falls Trail and you'll reach a spur trail leading down to the base of the falls.


Continuing just past the lower falls access trail will take you on a serene walk along the banks of the Little River where you’ll catch a glimpse of the top of Triple Falls as this trail merges into the Triple Falls Trail. At this point you’ll enter another large clearing with direct views of Triple Falls and its three very distinct drops. Until recently, visitors were able to descend a staircase down to a landing right below the second drop of Triple Falls. This is the one of the areas where scenes of “The Hunger Games” were filmed. After falling into disrepair the park closed off the staircase in order to make some much needed updates. For the time being, this is the best and only vantage point from which to see this massive 120 ft waterfall in its entirety. According to local legend, a photograph showcasing Triple Falls was used in the negotiations to convince state legislators that DuPont State Forest was worth purchasing and preserving.


DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina triple falls
This is the best view you're going to get of Triple Falls full 125-ft run. The forest service closed a staircase leading to an overlook just below the second drop where the "Hunger Games" was filmed.
DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina triple falls
There are a handful of smaller cascades to view as you work your way upstream to the Lower Falls of Triple Falls.
DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina triple falls
The Lower Falls of Triple Falls is a genuine beauty all in its own right.


Walking down the hill, just past the overlook, you’ll find another quick and easy 0.15 mile spur trail leading to the base of the lower falls. You’ll have to scramble over a few ledges and walk directly over the river bank to reach it so tread carefully. To reach Hooker Falls from this point, we will be continuing our trek north along the Triple Falls Trail for another mile. The trail passes under Staton Road and emerges at a steel trestle bridge spanning the Little River where we enter the Hooker Falls Access Area. To find the Hooker Falls Trailhead simply walk across the parking lot and look for the trailhead just on the other side of the restrooms. At only 0.4 miles long, the Hooker Falls Trail follows an old roadbed to the site of a mill operated by Edmund Hooker in the late 1800’s. At the time this 20 foot waterfall was known locally as Mill Shoal Falls, but was later renamed for the Hooker family. Hooker Falls claim to fame is its appearance in the film “The Last of the Mohicans”, where the main characters are seen canoeing over top of the falls. During warmer months, hikers can be seen traveling to this spot with towels and flip flops as this is one of the areas most popular swimming holes. 

DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina hooker falls
If you continue along the Triple Falls Trail you'll eventually end up here; the Hooker Falls Access Area.
DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina hooker falls
The trailhead for the short 0.4 mile Hooker Falls Trail on the other end of the parking lot.
DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina hooker falls 
The 20-ft Hooker Falls was originally named Mill Shoal Falls. One of the more famous scenes in "Last of the Mohicans" was filmed at Hooker Falls.


Bridal Veil Falls 

Buck Forest Road to Conservation Road to Bridal Veil Falls Road | 4.7 Miles Roundtrip


Upper Falls of Bridal Veils 125-ft drop.

The roundtrip hike to Bridal Veil Falls is quite lengthy, which usually discourages the casual visitors from attempting it. Nevertheless, this solitary hike is one of the prettier ones in the park as it passes through some of the rehabilitated portions of DuPont State Forest. There are three different ways from which you could reach Bridal Veil Falls, all roughly the same distance, but starting from the Buck Forest Access Point is the most popular. From the High Falls Trailhead, the hike begins following signs for the Buck Forest Road Trail.  At about 0.5 miles in, the road crosses directly overtop of High Falls as you enter the covered bridge and hang a right onto Conservation Road.


Bridal Veil Falls is located smack in the middle of the park making it one of the longest hikes of the day if you plan on visiting it. Thankfully, this waterfall can be reached from either the Lake Imaging, Buck Forest, or Fawn Lake Access Area.

Alternatively, one could take a detour on their way back from Hooker Falls and cut a b-line for the Covered Bridge Trail. From here it is another 1.75 miles till we reach the Bridal Veil Falls Trail. The short 0.60 mile trail drops you off at the base of the main sliding cascade of Bridal Veil Falls. Totaling over 120 feet in height, this waterfall also has a smaller 20 foot drop above which was also featured in film, “The Last of the Mohicans.” After finishing up at Bridal Veil Falls, simply retrace your steps back to the Buck Forest Access Area where you began. 


Bridal Veil Falls is really just one long water slide.


Grassy Creek Falls

Lake Imaging Access Area | 3.75 Miles Roundtrip

Buck Forest Access Area | 2.25 Miles Roundtrip


Not a waterfall most people visit, but you have to go just to say that you did. This is the best view of Grassy Creek Falls 60-ft long slide.

The view near the bottom of Grassy Creek Falls. 

While all of the major waterfalls in DuPont State Recreational Forest reside on the voluminous Little River, its second largest stream named Grassy Creek, also carries several notable falls. Grassy Creek Falls is located in the center of the park a short distance from High Falls. Three Access Areas provide access to Grassy Creek Falls:  Lake Imaging Access Point, Hooker Falls Access Point, and the Buck Forest Access Point. Starting With that in mind we decided to include a stop at Grassy Creek Falls on our return trip from Bridal Veil Falls as it was only a quick 30 minute detour. At the intersection where Conservation Road meets Buck Forest Road take a righthand turn heading east for 0.60 miles. At the point where Buck Forest Road meets Lake Imaging Road take a left hand turn and quickly keep an eye out for a small opening in the woods on the left that marks the trailhead for Grassy Creek Falls Trail. The 0.1 mile dirt path descends the cliffs beside Grassy Creek to the point where the bedrock suddenly drops into a 60 foot long slide. Similar to Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest, this slide ends by crashing into a pile of boulders in the bottom of a steep valley. The trail technically ends somewhere near the middle of the cascade as access to the bottom of the falls is technically not encouraged.


The pull off at Grassy Dam Trailhead just past the Guion Farm Access Area.

Upper Grassy Falls & Wintergreen Falls

Guion Farm Access Area

2 Miles Roundtrip

Grassy Dam Trailhead Coordinates | 35.20604,-82.58026


In recent years the forest service decided to connect the Grassy Dam\Flat Rock Trailhead to Wintergreen Falls in order to make this a 2 mile hike instead of 10 miles.

Upper Grassy Falls & Wintergreen Falls are located in the far eastern part of DuPont State Recreational Forest. Their obscure and out of the way location makes them seldomly visited except by day hikers and dedicated waterfall chasers. Alas, several years back the park decided to connect the Grassy Dam Trail in the Guion Farm Access Area to the Wintergreen Falls Trail making this pair easily accessible via a 1 mile trail. Most of this trail is on a path of freshly laid pine needle mulch and was fairly easy to navigate on the way down. The only bit of trouble I had was descerning the correct trail on the way back up as there are several splits in the trail that were not noticeable on the way in. I highly recommend using a GPS on this hike as the trail is unblazed.


DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina upper grassy falls

A few side trails lead out to the middle slide of Upper Grassy Falls which is fed by multiple streams, some of which have their own tiny waterfalls.

DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina grassy upper grassy falls
Upper Grassy Falls is made up of three sections with a 20-foot cascade, followed by a 40-ft slide, and finally tumbling 15-ft into a very photogenic cove.

To reach the new Upper Grassy Falls and Wintergreen Falls Trailhead, drive over to the Guion Farm Access Area on Sky Valley Road. When you reach the access area parking lot, drive past it continuing on Sky Valley Road for about another 0.75 miles. As you begin driving up a large hill with a set of switchbacks, keep an eye out for a gravel pullout with a metal gate on your left hand side. There is enough space for two cars here and you should see the words “Grassy” on the steel beam holding up the gate. Passing the gate, you’ll be walking directly across a wide clearing where the trail suddenly disappears at a dirt mound at the edge of the woods. Just keep walking straight and you’ll see the continuation of the trail. Once in the forest, this new trail makes a steady 400 foot descent through the steep and densely wooded valley of Grassy Creek. You’ll notice that a significant part of the ridge has undergone a controlled burn, leaving the area scorched. En-route there are two semi-sketchy scrambles down the exposed granite cliff that are very slippery. 


DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina wintergreen falls

Getting to the end of the Wintergreen Falls Trail make a right at the split and you'll end up at the lower falls overlook.

At the 0.4 mile mark, the sound of Upper Grassy Falls should become deafeningly loud, which will clue you in on tits proximity. Keep an eye out for a large split in the trail with a side path on the left heading to a clearing in the brush. This leads to an exposed overlook smack in the middle of this three tiered waterfall. Use caution as a slight slip could cause you to tumble down the remainder of this 40 ft waterfall and certain death. Above where we’re standing is the upper falls which is roughly 15 feet high. The lower falls look very similar at another 15 feet high. Both sections are connected by a large slide similar to Bridal Veil Falls which is approximately 30 feet in length. Leaving the overlook it is a quick jaunt over to the side path leading to the lower falls. A bit of scrambling is required to get up to the beach area at the falls basin. The water levels are so high on this visit that the sandy beach is several feet underwater.


DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina wintergreen falls
The main show at Wintergreen Falls is its 20-ft first drop. To see it, scramble up the rocks and you'll end up at the swimming hole between both ends of the falls.

Leaving Upper Grassy Falls, continue heading south for the last 0.30 mile stretch of this backcountry trail. One final rocky descent marks the approach to the well established Wintergreen Falls Trail and the first piece of flat, even ground on the entire journey. At the end of this short walk there is a split with the right path heading to the lower falls and the left path going to the upper falls. Wintergreen Falls consists of a 20 foot drop with an equally photogenic 10 foot slide and a pretty sizable swimming hole in between the two. As of my visit a downed log was taking up a sizable portion of the lower falls, but even so it is a great vantage point from which to see Wintergreen Falls in its entirety. 


The Wilkie Trailhead on Rich Mountain Rd is actually the eastern terminus of the Cannon Creek Trail. Park at the pull-off here to make it a short 0.25 mile trek.

Cannon Creek Falls

Cannon Creek Trail | 0.50 Miles

Cannon Creek Falls Coordinates | 35.17275,-82.66430

Wilkie Trailhead on Rich Mountain Rd | 35.17084, -82.66279

Cannon Creek Falls is one of the smaller and most photogenic waterfalls in DuPont State Recreational Forest. The waterfall lies on Cannon Creek and is easily accessible via the 1.3 mile Cannon Creek Trail. Located in the absolute farthest western section of the forest, this is a hike that you will definitely have all to yourself as it is not on most peoples radars. The quickest way to reach this trail is to exit the park heading south towards Greenville Highway. From this road you will travel west to Rich Mountain Rd. Take Rich Mountain Rd north for 3 miles until you reach a small gravel pullout with a sign marking the Wilkie Trailhead. Despite this actually being the  eastern terminus of the Cannon Creek Trail, the sign says “Wilkie” because the grouping of the Cannon Creek Trail, Micajah, & Wilkie Trails are commonly hiked together from the Corn Mill Shoals parking area to create a 6 mile day hike.


DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina cannon creek falls
The scene at Cannon Creek Falls is very moody thanks to the dense stands of gnarled rhododendrons. This gorgeous 12-ft waterfall didn't start to become a household name until it was discovered around 2008 by local waterfall chasers.

From the trailhead it is a quick 0.25 mile stroll through the woods until we reach the sounds of Cannon Creek crashing through the forest. This is a waterfall that requires a fair amount of recent rain to see in its full glory so plan accordingly. Just before the trail makes a sharp turn to cross a footbridge over Cannon Creek, there will be a well used side path leading from the main trail to the creek on the righthand side. About twenty feet from the trail, Cannon Creek Falls is well hidden by thick brush. Totaling roughly 12 feet in height, this small waterfall has a run with three separate drops that really add to its beauty and character. Adding to its charm is the secluded cove it sits in surrounded by weathered cliffs and towering rhododendrons.


Originally sitting on private property, the 700 acres surrounding these two roadside waterfalls on Cascade Lake Rd were willed to DuPont State Forest. 

BONUS: Merry Falls & Christmas Falls

Merry Falls Coordinates | 35.20054, -82.64360

Christmas Falls Coordinates | 35.20175, -82.64356

These two waterfalls officially became a part of DuPont State Recreational Forest back in 2018 when the landowners donated over 700 acres of land to the park. Since then the forest service has regraded the road and aded two gravel pullouts near the falls to improve their accessibility. Requiring zero hiking whatsoever to see, Merry Falls can be conveniently viewed from the road, with Christmas Falls requiring a short bushwhack to see fully. From the Buck Forest Access Area, drive south on Staton Road and bear right onto Cascade Lake Road. Quickly turning to gravel, drive another 2 miles north on Cascade Lake Road until you see Merry Falls on your lefthand side. 

DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina merry falls

No hiking required to view one of the most stellar waterfalls in DuPont State Forest.  

While both of these waterfalls reside on the year round stream of East Fork Laurel Creek, coming after a decent rain will really improve the appearance of these falls. On this particular visit Merry Falls was overflowing, turning a generally pleasant cascade into a Class III rapid. From the road, a small path leads down to a hillside overlook of the falls and the lush valley below. Under dryer conditions it is possible to scramble down to the base of Merry Falls to get a full frontal view of it. There is so much water pounding through this creek that it obscures the two separate tiers of this 30 foot waterfall, making it look like one giant chute. 


DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina merry falls
It takes A LOT of rainfall to see Merry Falls 30-ft drop this wild and voluminous. Under normal conditions you can scramble down to the base of the falls for a frontal view.

Christmas Falls spills over 20 yards downstream from here, but requires a little more effort to see. Simply walk down the gravel road until an opening in the brush appears on your left, with a trail leading towards the creek. While visitors have made an effort to clear the area in order to get a better view of this 60 foot tall double slide, it is still partially obscured. Even so, through the bushes you can see just how magnificent this waterfall is. There are a few trails further downstream which you might be able to use to get down into the ravine and then double back up just below the falls, but with this much flow it would be difficult. Maybe sometime in the future the forest service might extend the trail system out this way and make both of the little known gems a household name.


DuPont State Forest Brevard North Carolina Christmas falls
Until some of the brush gets cleared from this roadside overlook or a reasonable trail to the bottom of the falls gets established this is the best view of Christmas Falls 60-ft long double slide.

Up next, we will be traveling due west to one of Brevard’s lesser known waterfall destination. Headwaters State Forest officially opened to the public on September 8, 2018 and is adjacent to over 100,000 acres of other conserved lands in both North and South Carolina. The forest is home to numerous waterfalls, rare mountain bog and rocky cliff communities and provides habitat for federally endangered plant species and well as other plant and animal species of concern. Stay tuned for this upcoming article as we visit the three best known waterfalls here; Reese Place Falls, East Fork Falls, and Graveley Falls. As always, see y’all on the trails!


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