Dry Falls

Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina, USA

About Dry Falls

Hiking Distance: 1/4-mile round trip
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2012-10-16
Date last visited: 2012-10-16

Waterfall Latitude: 35.06814
Waterfall Longitude: -83.23913

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Dry Falls (like the nearby Bridal Veil Falls) was another roadside waterfall near the town of Highlands, North Carolina.

However, instead of driving behind the waterfall, this one lets you go behind it the old fashioned way – by walking!

Dry_Falls_006_20121016 - Dry Falls
Dry Falls

A short and well-developed walking path from the limited parking lot led down some stairs towards the backside of the Dry Falls.

The wide path continued a little beyond the falls on the other side of its creek before reaching a dead-end.

So given the infrastructure invested in this waterfall (apparently it recently re-opened just a month prior to our arrival in October 2012), it wasn’t surprising to see this place full of people.

This 65ft waterfall exhibited pretty forceful flow during our visit so getting behind something like this certainly caused us to get a little wet from its mist.

Dry_Falls_024_20121016 - Looking up at the profile of Dry Falls from its other side after having walked behind it
Looking up at the profile of Dry Falls from its other side after having walked behind it

That said, it also allowed us to appreciate its power at close range.

We came here in the middle of an Autumn afternoon so we were treated to gorgeous Autumn colors around the waterfall.

However, when viewed from its front, the sun was right against us.

So that might be a consideration if you’re concerned about coming here to take photographs.

Dry_Falls_033_20121016 - Context of some of the walkways around Dry Falls as seen from its parking area
Context of some of the walkways around Dry Falls as seen from its parking area

To give you an idea of how easy this excursion was, we spent about a half-hour here encompassing the walking and all the picture-taking.

Maybe it felt like it took just as long waiting for a parking space!


Dry Falls resides in the Nantahala National Forest near Highlands in Macon County, North Carolina. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Dry_Falls_002_20121016 - Looking out towards part of a walkway that appeared to go away from Dry Falls
Dry_Falls_005_20121016 - Going down steps as we approached the backside of Dry Falls
Dry_Falls_007_20121016 - Getting closer to the Dry Falls and its gushing flow
Dry_Falls_020_20121016 - Looking out from the backside of Dry Falls and the context of the walkway leading down from the parking lot to get here
Dry_Falls_031_20121016 - Last look back at the Dry Falls before we concluded our visit

Highlands was the nearest town to Dry Falls so we’ll describe the driving directions from there.

So from the Hwy 64/106 junction (where Main St turns into Franklin Rd) in the town of Highlands, we continued northwest (towards the town of Franklin) on Hwy 64 for about 3.2 miles.

The signed parking lot was on the left.

Dry_Falls_001_20121016 - Looking back down at the parking lot for Dry Falls, which easily fills up fast
Looking back down at the parking lot for Dry Falls, which easily fills up fast

This waterfall was only 0.8 miles west of Bridal Veil Falls.

We do have to warn you that it can get quite busy here so there’s a chance the car park can get full.

During our visit, we had to wait a few minutes before someone finally pulled out so we could park.

I don’t think there’s any other options for parking outside of this lot.

Finally, for some context, Highlands was about 38 miles (roughly an hour drive) west of Brevard on Hwy 64. Brevard was 35 miles (under an hour drive) south of Asheville, 47 miles (90 minutes drive) northwest of Greenville, South Carolina, and 126 miles (2.5 hours drive) west of Charlotte.

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Right to left sweep following the stream before ending at the falls

L-shaped sweep starting downstream before panning up to the profile of the top of the falls

Left to right sweep from directly behind the falls showing the trail on both sides

L-shaped sweep from the far side of the trail that went behind the falls itself

Fixated on the falls from the lookout at the car park

Tagged with: nantahala, national forest, macon county, highlands, north carolina, waterfall, brevard, asheville, autumn

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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