Whitewater Falls has a drop of 411 feet, the highest major waterfall east of the Rockies. Of the trails starting at Whitewater Falls, two are the most popular. These are the paved trail to the top and the rocky trail to the bottom of the falls. The paved trail is wheelchair accessible and its terminus at the overlook provides one of the best views of the falls.
Next to the overlook is the trail to the Whitewater River Bridge. There is one additional view of the falls just below the overlook. While the trail is just over .5 mile, it is steep with more than 250 steps. At the bottom is a new bridge put in place by helicopter in 1993. Across the bridge is the eastern section of the Foothills Trail.
The third trail starting from the Whitewater parking area is the western extension of the Foothills Trail. From the overlook, continue up along Whitewater River and cross SR 281 south of the vehicular bridge. Again stay on the trail and observe cautionary signs. The hike may also be started here since there is some parking on the shoulder of SR 281. The trail goes up to an elevation of 3,200 feet and then follows a ridge line to the state border. The trail is blazed in white from the Whitewater Falls Overlook. On the South Carolina side, the white blazes are continued with a white bar above the main blaze. The South Carolina ends is at the Sloan Bridge campground on SR 107.
Directions: From Cashiers, NC, Travel south on SR 107 9.3 miles to SR 413 (SC) and a sign for Whitewater Falls. Turn left and continue 2.3 miles to the intersection with SR 130 (SC). Make another left and drive north on SR 130 (SC), which becomes SR 281 (NC) at the state line. Just beyond the state line is a sign for Whitewater Falls. (If you are coming from Toxaway (easterly direction), start at US 64 and SR 281 and drive south 8.6 miles to the Whitewater Falls parking area.
Elevation: 3,200 feet
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Distance: 3.3 miles
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Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina
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