Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Highlands–Falls and Food

Tuesday July 12, 2022                                    Most Recent Posts:
Riverbend RV Resort                          Rocky’s and Panthertown
Lake Toxaway, NC                 Road Closed So I Move on to Dill and Dupont


Today turned out to be a much busier day than I had planned in Highlands North Carolina.  First stop was Glen Falls which though it is only 28 miles away took nearly an hour to get to because of the mountain roads

It’s a pretty well locally known place and has poor signage and no maps though I did have some directions from my waterfall book.  Those directions said the trail was in the woods and all downhill.  Ugg.  That means all up hill on the way back.  So with no signs in the parking lot, I took the trail going down through the woods.  It was beautiful but when it crossed a creek and started up, I knew I was on the wrong trail.  I came back later in my stay to hike that trail and….well that’s a story for another day.

I retraced my steps and took the only other trail.  I won’t do trail scenes.  I stopped at 2 view points along the way which  they have it pretty well blocked off so you cannot get a straight on picture without climbing the fence.  The second viewpoint is the picture above.


Glen Falls is lovely.



I made it to the bottom which is a single cascade with a pool you could walk or swim in.


At this point you can get right up close to the falls.  Rhododendron everywhere.  My pictures do not do it justice. 


IMG_1513Coming back I somehow took a wrong turn and hiked a half hour going who knows where before turning back.  This was possibly due to my paying attention to what was at my feet like these Indian Pipe and this great fungi.


On  my way back I did find the 3rd overlook not visible or marked from the trail.  My information had mentioned it but I thought I’d missed it.  It was at or near the top of the falls.

I will admit to sneaking off the platform to get these pictures from the top.  I’m small enough to slip through the gap there on the far left by what looks a bit like a ladder.  Don’t tell anyone.


Great views from the top and the rock top was dry on the sides and water just lightly flowing over at this point.

You can hardly see the water from in the picture and as you can see, but still the rocks are slick.  I was no where near the edge.


I’d started out early for the long drive but with my false start and wrong turn, it was now 11:30am and I had several other things I wanted to see before going into Highlands itself.

One was the only covered bridge anywhere around.



And then of course, more falls. 

There is a motorcyclist’s dream of a road going between Highlands and Franklin and then beyond.  It is NC Rt 64 known as Mountain Waters Scenic Byway. On the stretch near Highlands are 4 falls I read that were close to the road.  So while I’m here, I’m going to play tourist not hiker for the early afternoon.  Or so I think.

Bridal Veil falls was famous for generations as the only falls you could drive behind.  But now they have blocked it off and you can walk behind it,  It’s 60 feet tall and doesn’t have a large volume of water unless it’s right after a rain.

It was hard to get a picture of the water from behind except where it hit the ground.  Though I did get some against the blue sky.  Since I’d already been to the wonderful School House Falls and walked behind it, this was much less exciting here by the road.


Still, standing behind a waterfall can’t help but be fun.

Real excitement was up next when I came to Dry Falls.  What a misnomer.  This is one of the fullest waterfalls I’ve seen in NC.  It’s called Dry Falls because as it falls over a protruding cliff, you can stand behind it and stay dry.

There is a very large parking lot that leads to a LOT of stairs going down. The picture below was taken from the stairs as you turn the corner and get your first look at this beauty.  It’s tremendous!


Of course it was afternoon now and the place was packed.  Had I known what I was in store for I might well have gotten up in the dark and come here first in order to be in such a beautiful place with no one else around – hopefully.
Look closely below and  you’ll see the people behind the falls.  They are tiny.  This falls is BIG!


The volume of water was amazing and LOUD.

The water slammed into the rocks and then fell into the Cullasaja River which immediately became placid as you can see.  Amazing!  The river flows through the Nantahala National Forest

Quite a difference from standing behind Bridal Veil.

The walkway goes under the falls and this is the view from the other side.  I’m sorry that the falls are no longer in their natural state and have such man made structures around but with the number of people who would stop to see them as they are right along the road, any natural trails would be eroded and negatively impact the river.  It’s a choice we apparently have to make.

From every direction these are fantastic falls. |

For those who love videos of falls I have three of this favorite of mine.

The first shows the falls and the river, 
The second will take you behind the falls
and the third is from the far side.

All together they are not a minute long.

I could have stayed all day.  It took nearly that long to cull through the pictures and the videos to put this post together.

Next on my list and on down the road was Quarry Falls also known as Bust Your Butt Falls.  Parking for it is along the road and getting to it is a bit of a scramble.

It is billed as a water slide but no one was sliding while I was here..  But they were enjoying the beautiful day on the rocks and some were in the pool.

Look closely and see if you would be willing to bust your butt sliding down here.

Not I thank you.   Here’s a video so you can see clearly whether you agree.

My last falls of the day was Cullasaja Falls billed as the biggest and most beautiful.  It was definitely the most sketchy.  I read that you can see the falls from the roadside of the very narrow curvy road the runs through Cullasaja Gorge.

IMG_1637Maybe the falls is visible from the road in the winter but no way in the summer.  There are only 2 or 3 parking spots along this narrow road and they can only be accessed coming FROM Franklin going to Highlands.  So I drove past the falls, found a place to turn around, came back and parked.

I got out and no falls were visible.  Not even a sound of this 250 foot waterfall.
I’d read that there was a small trail that leads down on the other side of the roadside barrier. 

The car parked in front of me with 3 people were starting down.  I followed them.

In less than 20 feet on a trail that looks like the picture below, the woman sat down on a rock and said no thanks.  Those are her legs behind me.  She was within sight of the road.  This “trail” is made of boulders and is straight down.

We hadn’t gone very far when they veared off to my right.  I stayed on what I hoped was the path and suddenly I saw the father slip, fall and roll over a couple of times down the hill.  I don’t know how he didn’t break something but he got up and they decided to come back to where I was.  I stood still.  Again they went ahead.

                                             Do you see a trail here?

AT this point I’m still standing and they tell me there is no way further down from where they are.  They are coming back.  You can see them coming back up in the picture below.  I think that’s a good idea especially when I see the scrapes and blood on the older man’s arms and leg. But then they see this rope and amazingly they try to walk, using this rope, through the boulder field again to the other side.

So, one after the other they walk across these wet slick rocks slipping and using the rope to steady themselves.  This rope looks none too sturdy to me.


But they make it across and disappear into the undergrowth.  I climb back out and tell the woman waiting that they are going on down.   I wonder what will happen to them.   I find out later in the day.


This falls is apparently the biggest and most beautiful on the river.  Later I look it up and it really is magnificent but not worth the very real possibility of an accident.

At this point I’m starving so I go into Highlands, park on the main street and walk over to 465 Woodfire Bistro recommended by my friends Laurel and Eric in their fantastic blog.

They had a shown a picture of their dinner which was a Mountain Fungi pizza.  As you know, I am a mushroom LOVER so there was no problem with what I was going to have.

Since I no longer have David’s wonderful cooking to set my hours of eating, I normally eat a light breakfast about 11 am or snacks if I’m hiking and my main meal between 3 and 5:00.  I’ve learned few other people do this so I often have a restaurant largely to myself.


Today’s dinner companion was The Plague Letters by V.L. Valentine one of the selections sent to me by The Traveling Reader Book Club which I’ve talked about in previous posts.


Wild mushrooms, arugula, leeks, garlic, mozzarella and blue cheese. Yum!




After dinner I walked around town on my way to dessert.  It’s a lovely little town but I wasn’t in the mood after such a long day to walk and see it.  That will be for a return visit hopefully.


I had parked in the perfect place on the main street, just across from a little alcove of shops which had a Kilwin’s Ice Cream shop on the corner.


There are shops all along the sides, a restaurant in the rear and tables in the plaza.  Very nicely designed for a beautiful July day outside in the North Carolina mountains.


Kilwin’s very sweetly will give you a “half scoop” of two flavors and charge you $6.39 for one scoop in a dish or non waffle cone.


Here’s the view from my seat as I ate my 1/2 scoops of coconut and Traverse City Cherry.  And here’s where I ran into the Trio I had seen earlier in the day.  The father and son had made it all the way down and all the way back up.  They said it was a beautiful falls.  But I’m still not sorry I didn’t follow them.  I’ll bet he is stiff and sore in the morning.  But ice cream will help.


To finish off this post here’s the horrible selfie I took of me and my ice cream which doesn’t look nearly as delicious in this picture as it tasted.  
I am just so terrible at selfies.


And I had 1/2 a pizza to take home.  But no ice cream.


  1. Boy, you really are busy! I’m making my own homemade ice cream nowadays. Best recipe I’ve ever followed! I’ll get it to you.

  2. 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
    1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
    1 Tablespoon vanilla

    And that’s it!

    Stir together, and (preferred) pour into portion size containers (3 or 4 oz) and freeze.
    My twist on the above is instead of using the vanilla, I put a splash of French Vanilla Coffee Creamer in a blender and then add whatever flavoring(s) i want: chocolate syrup, Strawberries, blueberries, peach, candy bars, etc.…… You can even do a Rocky Road. Just use your imagination. Blend, then pour and stir this into the cream & milk and freeze.

    1. Hmm. Coconut?? I try not to have ice cream in the house. Too much artery clogging fat too often. I have no willpower over sweets.

    2. Hadn’t thought about coconut. Gotta try it.
      I make 6 or 7 small containers, per batch, and then share them with friends. If I didn’t do that, I’d be eating it all myself. And that ain’t good!!
      My weakness is salty stuff like Fritos and chips, etc.

  3. Wow, you just don't give up! All the falls have their own charm (especially Dry Falls), but you must exhaust yourself on a daily basis. Also, I didn't realize there were covered bridges outside of New England. Barbara

    1. Thanks for your comment Barbara. There are many days I do nothing other than walk a few miles. I just don't post about those. Ohio and Indiana have lots of covered bridges. Not many in the south.

  4. Beautiful waterfalls, interesting hiking, cute little towns, and decent weather. What more could one ask for?! Looks wonderful, Sherry. You are doing great.

    1. Thanks Sue. Your comments are so encouraging.

  5. Another great post about waterfalls! Incredibly loud videos, especially the Bridal Veil. Glad you didn't try to hike down to the bottom to see the other one. Great ending with pizza and ice cream!

    1. Definitely trying to see as many of the 250 waterfalls as I can but Cullasaja Falls will have to wait until there is a safer trail.

  6. Wow! Two of your favorite things: waterfalls and covered bridges! The falls are all lovely. So did you get wet going behind them? No way would I slide down over those rocks and I try to avoid wet slippery rocks at all costs. The trail over the rocks and downhill looked treacherous. Holding onto a rope that doesn't look substantial- no thanks. Reminds me of when I was at Angel's Landing in Utah and the trail got steep and was all loose shale. I started up and got a few feet up holding onto a chain. Then I froze. A guy had to get me down. The town looks nice and the pizza place is very attractive. Yea to ice cream and pizza! xxxooo

    1. Yes, I was amazed to find the covered bridge. We did Angel's Landing and I was shocked that they allowed so many people going both ways on such a climb - so narrow.

  7. Since you didn't tell anyone how you sneaked down from the platform to view the falls, I have the bail money you'll need... :cD

    1. As I always do, I'll give you a call Paul if I get in a jam.

  8. Oh, I'm so glad you went to Highlands and the bistro! And I'm glad you enjoyed the wild mushroom pizza. We thought it was terrific, too. I wish we had a place like that in Eastpoint, LOL. But then I would eat too much pizza.

    You really worked hard for those waterfalls and deserved your pizza and ice cream. Glad you passed on that crazy trail, though. It's not worth getting hurt, you have too many future trails to hike. Although Dry Falls is basically a roadside attraction, we thought it was one of the most beautiful falls in NC and well worth visiting. Your photos turned out great!

    1. Just following in your footsteps. Especially for restaurants at which I am no good.

  9. Dry Falls! Wow! Beautiful! The others are unique too. And the sketchy one...very thankful that you didn't risk that after having seen the father fall. So glad he was not badly injured. I imagine you're right that he was sore the next day! Such good looking food and the ice cream sounds delicious. We'll deserved!

    1. He sure looked terrible when I saw him later. Blood on him and his clothes. Still think it's amazing he didn't hurt himself more.

  10. Nice pics and story Sherry. Glad the man was OK, sure he felt it the next few days though. We are still taking week-long trips in our Sprinter and have a big sleeping bag for a blanket and have to run the heat on most nights. Winter is coming early this year up here. Camping has shown us a few very strange mean people this Summer. Crazy behavior from campers who should have stayed home. Otherwise, all is well.

    1. Thanks Tom, good to hear from you again. Amazing to have to run the heat in August even in Alaska. Sorry to hear about mean crazy people camping. Are you blogging about it?

    2. I have quit blogging and gone back to a written journal. Too many bad people to have my life online. It was fun for 18 years but most people read to enjoy and a few use it to take advantage of or harass older 3 home, and traveling people. We are still healthy and content in life. It is 51 degrees and low overcast at our home today.

  11. Love the steps of water cascading over the falls. Glad you are persistent. Love the shot from the top, brave woman. Dry Falls would be worth another visit. Sadly, we do have alter nature to preserve it way too frequently. I don't slide down waterfalls, anymore. Or trails for that matter. I LOVE your priorities, pizza and ice cream after well earned hikes and sights.

  12. I do love waterfalls from every angle. Hope we'll be able to have pizza and
    ice cream together some day.

  13. Dry Falls looks amazing!!! All that natural power is mesmerizing. Glad humans have stepped up and reduced the opportunity for damage. I'm surprised that other "trail" isn't closed as it's clearly not safe. I'm always so impressed that you take off into the wilds with unclear trail maps. Wish I weren't allergic to mushrooms, I so miss them on pizza!

    1. The trail isn't really a trail as I discovered. It's a dangerous sort of thing folks have sort of made. Allergic to mushrooms oh my. I am SO sorry. I love them on anything and everything.

  14. Another great edition of waterfalls. Glad you're enjoying your travels.


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