Soco Falls

Great Smoky Mountains National Park / Cherokee Indian Reservation, North Carolina, USA

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 1.5
Soco Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Soco Falls was another waterfall we visited during our brief time in the vicinity of the Great Smoky Mountains near Cherokee.

This waterfall was actually a pair of converging small waterfalls (I'm guessing it's about 40ft or so). I've seen claims that it's 120ft but I doubt you get to see all of it if that's indeed the case.

It appeared that there was a newly built viewing platform that gave us a direct view of the taller (and prettier) waterfall. This platform was only a few minutes walk on a narrow, descending trail that hugged the embankment supporting the Hwy 19.

However, we wanted to get more direct (hence better) views of BOTH waterfalls in one go, so we noticed a scrambling path that went around the viewing platform with some stringy guide lines that provided rather minimal support for the steep descent below the viewing area.

This descent was definitely not for everyone as the steep slope was muddy, slippery, and appeared to be unstable. A spill here could be really bad (i.e. broken bones or worse) so we'll leave it up to you to gauge whether you find it's worth getting the view you see at the top of this page. Otherwise, when in doubt, leave it out!

Similarly, going up the steep slope required using all four limbs. That should give you an idea of how precarious it can be.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Soco Falls from the viewing platformSoco Falls from the viewing platform
Just on the far western end of the town of Maggie Valley, I saw this sign proclaiming that an observation tower yielded 'the most photographed view in the Smokies.'  For 50 cents, I went ahead and did it and got this photo.Just on the far western end of the town of Maggie Valley, I saw this sign proclaiming that an observation tower yielded 'the most photographed view in the Smokies.'
Further west of Soco Falls was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we happened to see a herd of elk grazing about by the Oconaluftee Visitor CenterFurther west of Soco Falls was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we happened to see a herd of elk grazing about by the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
At the pullout for the fallsAt the pullout for the falls

Starting the walk to the platformStarting the walk to the platform

The narrow trail to the platformThe narrow trail to the platform

Approaching the platformApproaching the platform

Guide lines marking the start of the steep descent to the view you see at the top of this pageGuide lines marking the start of the steep descent to the view you see at the top of this page

Right at the front of Soco FallsRight at the front of the falls

View from a lookout tower proclaiming to be the most photographed view in the SmokiesView from a lookout tower proclaiming to be the most photographed view in the Smokies


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Right to left sweep starting with a downstream view then panning across the double waterfall before ending at the steep scramble I took to get here


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The Mingo Falls page has directions from West Asheville to Cherokee, but we'll reproduce it here since it's fairly straightforward to find.

Go west on the I-40 from the large interchange (of I-20, I-240, and I-40) in West Asheville for about 21 miles then take the US74 west, which connects with the US19 in about a mile. Then take the US19 (Great Smoky Mountains Expressway) for about 22.5 miles (you'll be passing through the town of Maggie Valley). The pullout (room for maybe a half-dozen cars or so) is at a sharp turn on the left side of the road about 1.2 miles west of the turnoff for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Budget about an hour to go from West Asheville to the falls.

Coming in the other direction from the town of Cherokee at the US19/441 intersection, drive east for just under 11 miles (maybe 20 minutes or so). The pullout for Soco Falls is on the right.

As for some geographical context, Asheville was 35 miles (under an hour drive) north of Brevard, 63 miles (about 90 minutes drive) north of Greenville, South Carolina, and 130 miles (over 2 hours drive) west of Charlotte, and 247 miles (4 hours drive) west of Raleigh.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Soco Falls in western North Carolina 
I visited Asheville, NC last week. I only had one day for waterfall hunting. I enjoyed Soco Falls. I've never seen a double falls like this where two branches …

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