Soco Falls

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, USA

About Soco Falls

Hiking Distance: almost roadside; scramble
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2012-10-20
Date last visited: 2012-10-20

Waterfall Latitude: 35.49241
Waterfall Longitude: -83.17009

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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 its 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.

Soco_Falls_025_20121020 - At the pullout for the falls
Soco_Falls_001_20121020 - Starting the walk to the platform
Soco_Falls_002_20121020 - The narrow trail to the platform
Soco_Falls_024_20121020 - Approaching the platform
Soco_Falls_013_20121020 - Guide lines marking the start of the steep descent to the view you see at the top of this page
Soco_Falls_021_20121020 - Right at the front of Soco Falls
Great_Smoky_Mountains_031_20121020 - View from a lookout tower proclaiming to be the most photographed view in the Smokies


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.

Right to left sweep of the falls as seen from the lookout platform

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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Tagged with: great smoky mountains, national park, cherokee, indian reservation, north carolina, waterfall

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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Soco Falls in western North Carolina October 31, 2014 12:09 am by Ron Andrews - 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 of a creek come together at the bottom of the gorge. There is a viewing platform near the highway. The view from the bottom of the… ...Read More

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