Catawba Falls

Area Status: Closed


ALERT: Ever since the US Forest Service acquired Catawba Falls, plans have been in motion to get visitors safely from the trailhead to the upper falls. The 9-12 month closure of the Catawba Falls Trail, from May 2, 2022 through spring 2023, is necessary for the next phase of improvements focused on visitor safety and accessibility. We appreciate your understanding as this popular waterfall is closed this season. Visitors to Old Fort will have new trails to enjoy near Curtis Creek this summer! Explore other great destinations in McDowell County by visiting



Follow this trail along the scenic headwaters of the Catawba River for a 4 mile round trip hike to the beautiful 100ft cascading waterfall. Historic buildings are scattered along the trail, remnants of the 1920's hydropower dam that provided power for the town of Old Fort. This hike does require several stream crossings. Be sure to wear solid boots to prevent from slipping and getting wet!

The trailhead can be accessed from Catawba River Road in Old Fort. For more information contact the Grandfather Ranger District at (828) 652-2144.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 3/30/2023 - This trail has received funding for continued improvments and is scheduled to reopen in Spring 2024. Learn more about the projects here.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information