Whitewater Falls owes its existence to the Blue Ridge Escarpment, a sharp drop in elevation between the mountains and the Piedmont.
With a 411-foot plunge, Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. South Carolina’s Lower Whitewater Falls falls another 400 feet.
Because of the escarpment’s difficult access and rugged terrain, much of the area receives few visitors and has remained wild and undeveloped over the years.
In the cool, moist shade of the steep slopes and rock cliffs, wildflowers and salamanders can be found. This wild land is also a perfect haven for a rich array of ferns, mosses and fungi. Enjoy the beauty of blooms and berries throughout the seasons.
Whitewater Falls experiences extremely high visitor volume during the middle of the day and on holidays. It is recommended that visitors plan their visit for the morning or evening hours.
Passes can be purchases online at recreation.gov
At a Glance
|Operational Hours:||Dawn to Dusk|
|Fees:||$3/vehicle; $15 annual pass (usable at Dry Falls, Whiteside Mountain, and Whitewater Falls) Online passes can be purchases a recreation.gov|
|Permit Info:||Self service fee stations, or purchase before you go online at recreation.gov|
|Open Season:||Year Round|
|Closest Towns:||Highlands and Cashiers|
|Operated By:||Nantahala NF, Nantahala Ranger District, 90 Sloan Road, Franklin, NC 28734, (828)-524-6441|
General InformationDirections: From Cashiers, take NC 107S for 10 miles to NC-SC line. Drive 1 miles, take first road to left. Follow signs.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Alerts & Warnings
- Pisgah RD: Partial closure of FSR 475B Headwaters Road
- Be Bear Aware
- Catawba Falls Trail (TR 225) Closed
- Camping and other restrictions now in effect at Max Patch
- Nantahala RD: Multiple areas under construction
- Appalachian RD: NCDOT construction near Harmon Den may affect Forest access
- Grandfather RD: Old House Gap Rd (FS192) temporarily closed
- Recreate responsibly
- Joyce Kilmer Trail Lower Loop Closed due to rain damage
- UPDATED: Emergency closures on the Nantahala National Forest
- Target Shooting prohibited on Croatan National Forest