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CASHIERS AND SAPPHIRE AREA WATERFALLS

Cashiers Sliding Rock

A natural waterslide, created by the Chattooga River gliding over a 10-

foot high rock face with a few large potholes, Cashiers Sliding Rock is a

popular local spot during the summer because the water is quite cool.

You can slide down the rock, cannonball into one of the potholes or just

wade in the pool below the rock. From the intersection of NC 107 and

US 64 in Cashiers, follow NC 107 south for 1.9 miles to Whiteside Cove

Road. Turn right onto Whiteside Cove Road and follow it 2.8 miles to

the bridge over the Chattooga. Park and follow a short trail to the river.

Rainbow/Turtleback/Drift Falls

Rainbow Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfall settings in the

Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. This 150-foot tall waterfall

is impressive and its best feature is the ability to experience the

falls from the front, bottom, side and top! Located in the Nantahala

National Forest, adjacent to Gorges State Park, Rainbow Falls is just

one of four waterfalls on a two-mile stretch of the river.

To reach Rainbow Falls, it is a 1.5 mile hike from Gorges State Park at

the Grassy Ridge Parking area, about 2 miles after entering the park.

The trail to Rainbow Falls begins at the cluster of information boards

at the end of the parking lot and is blazed with orange circles until

you reach the National Forest. Then the trail is blazed with orange

ribbons.

When you near the river (about 1/2 mile), you will intersect with the

main trail. Fork to the right to continue up river to Rainbow Falls.

Continue up river about 1/3 mile to Turtleback Falls, a 20 foot drop

over a curved rockface into a pool that can have strong currents. At

lower water levels, it’s a popular spot to go sliding and swimming.

Walk another 1/2 mile (keep left at the trail fork—the right fork will

take you to the NC Highway 281 entrance) to Drift Falls, a beautiful

80-foot rock slide. However, the Falls are just past the National Forest

boundary and on private property. At the end of the trail, you can

enjoy a great view of the Falls from a distance. But don’t go past the

“do not enter” signs. There is a hefty fine if you are caught trespassing.

Return and walk back the same trail to reach your car at Gorges.

From Highlands, take US 64 East to Cashiers, NC intersection and

then continue on US 64 East for another 10 miles to NC 281 South

in Sapphire, NC. Turn right and follow NC 281 South for 1 mile to the

Grassy Ridge Access entrance to Gorges State Park. Enter the park and

drive 1.6 miles to the parking area at the bottom of the loop road.

(Just eight miles from Gorges State Park is Upper Whitewater Falls,

the highest waterfall east of the Rockies, and worth the drive!)

Silver Run Falls

A 30-foot Falls spills into a pool of water, making for a nice swimming

hole at the base of the Falls. The area can be crowded on a warm day.

To get to these Falls, head east on US 64 to Cashiers. Turn right on Hwy

107 South. Silver Run Falls is 4.1 miles down on the left. Park in the

pull-off on the left and take the short, easy trail to the base.

Whitewater Falls

This is North Carolina’s highest waterfall and the highest waterfall

east of the Rockies, with the upper portion falling 411 feet! It’s part

of the Whitewater River in the Jocassee Gorge area of North Carolina

just before you reach South Carolina. For an excellent view of

Whitewater Falls, follow the paved 1/4-mile walkway to the upper

overlook. The walkway begins at the end of the parking lot and is

accessible to wheelchairs. A lower overlook with an even better view

is located at the bottom of 154 wooden steps. The only full views of

the falls are from these two overlooks. From Highlands, take US

64 East to Cashiers, and then turn right on NC Highway 107 South for

nine miles. Turn left onto SC Highway 130 South for 3.3 miles to the

Whitewater Falls entrance.